These were given to me by my grandmother many years ago. She told me they were very old. They came from an Arbuckle’s coffee can inside the coffee. I have always wondered if these were worth anything, as they mean so much to me.
Your grandmother’s Beaded Shell pattern mugs were made by Dugan-Diamond Glass Company beginning in 1909 to mid-century. Amethyst-purple, iridized, carnival glass mugs in this pattern sell today for less than $25 each.
I enjoy your column and was hoping that you could identify these utensils. I can’t find anything like them online. They are iron and very ornate. The butter knife is inscribed “VICTORIA.”
Unfortunately, Victoria is listed in the “unknown marks” section of flatware identification guides. Stamped out of white metal, popular patterns of sterling silver were produced for sale to people who had an eye for style but were unable or unwilling to pay for fine sterling flatware. The extremely thin layer of sterling silver has worn away from this butter knife, dinner knife and fork. Although they can be resilvered, the cost would far exceed the value — resilvered or not. For all three pieces, they might sell for only $10 in an antique shop or mall.
Attached are pictures of a salesman’s sample sofa. It is 42 inches wide, 17 inches high and 12 inches deep. This was donated to Paws and Claws, a resale store in Newland, N.C., that is a part of the Avery Humane Society. All profits from Paws and Claws go to the shelter.
We have no idea of the age or value of the donation. There are no markings. It has a few scratched places on the wood and a small hole in the sofa seat.
We are interested in the value of the donation and will appreciate any help you can give. We have never received anything like this before.
Mickie, Newland, N.C.
Salesman’s sample furniture, made in the early 1800s to generate orders for made-by-hand pieces, was roughly one-tenth the size of the full-size furniture. The early pieces should show signs of shrinkage like cracks in the wood or gaps in some joints. I don’t think this upholstery is before 1850 but a more modern reupholstery choice. Look for old tack holes or shreds of previous upholstery to identify an earlier covering.
A pristine pre-1850 salesman’s sample sofa with well-preserved original covering can sell for more than $4,000. If careful examination indicates the sofa is before 1850, consider contacting an auction company selling higher-end like items. If interested, the company will make an auction estimate and set a date to offer the piece.
If, however, you spot modern screws, crisply cut wood, sloppy stain, varnish or any evidence of machine construction, this is a child-size sofa. These are frequently bought for a grandchild’s playroom or to display dolls.