The Chinese enameling called cloisonne has been made for centuries. A thin metal wire is bent into shape on a metal vase and soldered into place. Then colored enamels are floated in to fill each space and form the decoration.
The word “cloison” is French for “fence” and is the source of the word cloisonne. But there also was another type of enamel-on-metal object made in China by the 17th century. It is called “Peking enamel” or “Canton enamel.” A metal vase was covered with thick enamel, usually white, then fired. Then an artist painted a scene or pattern with colored enamels, and the vase was fired again. These enameled metal pieces were usually made to resemble European designs and most were exported.
The quality of the work deteriorated during the next few centuries and this type of enamel is rarely made today. Recognizing cloisonne and its thin metal lines is easy, but Peking enamels closely resemble porcelain. A 5-inch-high Peking enamel teapot that held a single cup of water for tea sold in 2012 for $660. It was painted with a Chinese landscape of clouds over a lake but the painting style was European. No doubt it was made for export to Europe or the United States.
Q: My brother left me his “Brunswick Home Comfort Table” that dates from about 1908. It’s a combination billiards table and sofa. The tabletop folds over to form the back of the sofa, which has leather tufted upholstery on the seat and back. A metal label on the table says “Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.” Value?
A: John Moses Brunswick founded the J.M. Brunswick Manufacturing Co. in Cincinnati in 1845. After mergers, the company was renamed Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. in 1884. Today the company, still in business, is named Brunswick Corp. It manufactures a variety of products, including billiards tables and bowling equipment. Your convertible sofa-billiards table was patented in 1910 by Jacob N. McIntire of New York. He assigned the patent to Brunswick, which made your unusual piece of furniture. It’s advertised in a 1911 Brunswick catalog as “a very popular design especially adapted for use in a den.” It sold then for $150 to $175. If yours is in excellent shape, it could sell for close to $10,000.
Q: Is there any value to a Disney World 25th Anniversary cup still in its box?
A: Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Fla., in 1971. A variety of glass and plastic mugs and drinking glasses were sold to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 1996 - too many to make any one of them worth much today. The mugs and glasses, with or without an original box, sell online for $2.50 to $10.