Monday, August 3

It's Just Stuff

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miner-lampDear Connie Sue,

I was wondering if this coal miner’s light has much value. It uses carbide and is marked on the bottom, “Made in the USA, Auto-Lite, Universal Lamp Co.”

Thank you so very much,

Beverly, Sharps Chapel

Dear Beverly,

Small carbide lamps were first used for bicycles in Europe and the U.S. around 1900. The Universal Company made carbide lamps from 1913 to 1960. Traditional-style spelunkers (cavers) collect and use restored models. Lamps like yours sell online for $15 to $65 each, depending on quality. I found a pristine lamp with its original box offered at $90.

pictureDear Connie Sue,

This three-dimensional shadowbox bowl of wax fruit belonged to my aunt, who inherited it from her aunt. It is in excellent condition. I would like to find a new home for it and wonder what it would sell for.


Marge, Beech Mountain, N.C.

Dear Marge,

Numerous wax arrangements in an oval frame and in the same half-bowl have sold recently. The amount paid is from $200 to $400 at auction. Most are described as 19th century. Because so many arrangements are on the market with the exact same gold frame and exact same gold-and-white bowl, it makes me think it’s from the early 20th century. I may regret this, but I’ll ask my readers to tell me if they have this exact shadowbox of wax fruit and, especially, when it was new.

deskDear Connie Sue,

I acquired this piece (2 feet tall) at auction in Chattanooga about 12 years ago, where it was listed as “Copper-lined tobacco chest made in Chattanooga.” The sticker on the back indicates “Tennessee Red Cedar & Novelty Company, Chattanooga, TN.” I do not recall what I paid for it, but there was more spirited bidding than I anticipated — probably because it was a local piece.

What can you tell me about the manufacturer and the piece itself, including age and value?


Karla, Madisonville

Dear Karla,

Apparently, Tennessee Red Cedar and Novelty Company made small furniture pieces and accessories. In addition to your little humidor, it produced half tables and small cedar boxes. It provided the lumber and craftsmen to produce Cavalier cedar chests in 1923. It’s this association and product for which the company is best known.
Because summers can be moist in Southern homes, humidors were a preferred place to keep matches and tobacco dry. Certainly, a covered box would work, but a designated stand is even better.

I know you didn’t ask, but everyone else will want to know: Similar humidors sell for $100 to $165.


About Author

Connie Sue Davenport

Connie Sue Davenport, ISA AM, offers antique appraisal events, private appraisals and estate sale consulting services to individuals, businesses and organizations. Sign up for “IT’S JUST STUFF,” her FREE quarterly newsletter, at Send your inquiry with photos to the mailing address or email below. Only published appraisals are free. Private appraisals are available for a fee. Call 615-672-1992 for an appointment. No appraisals are given over the phone. Connie Sue Davenport, P.O. Box 343, White House, TN 37188 615-672-1992 • email:

1 Comment

  1. Dear Connie Sue,
    I recently purchased a child’s roll-top desk and chair at auction. There is an original looking sticker on the back of the desk: “Tennessee Red Cedar and Novelty Company” – Chattanooga, Tennessee. The finish looks original. The desk has “cubby holes” and a drawer. Really charming. I wondered about the age and an approximate current value range.
    Thank you,
    Nan Harman
    Abingdon, Virginia

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