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Published August 12, 2011, 12:00 AM

Kovels Antiques: Age determines ‘antique’ versus a ‘collectible’

Antiques and collectibles are named for their age. Antiques must be more than 100 years old to be legally called “antiques.” Collectibles can be anything made less than 100 years ago. The quality of the design or the material does not matter.

By: By Terry Kovel, INFORUM

Antiques and collectibles are named for their age. Antiques must be more than 100 years old to be legally called “antiques.” Collectibles can be anything made less than 100 years ago. The quality of the design or the material does not matter.

At today’s shows, you can expect to find porcelain, silver, toys, furniture and pictures. But you’ll also see large wooden gear molds, filing cabinets and factory work tables, pallets and lockers. They are all used to decorate homes these days, whether the home is traditional, modern or created from unexpected space in a loft or an old school.

At a recent antique show, we saw some old hand-carved wooden screws that were once part of a cider press. The largest, about 7 feet tall, was mounted on a base and being sold as piece of sculpture.” The asking price topped $7,000. A wooden filing cabinet with the brass label “Shannon Filing Cabinet, manufactured by Schlicht and Field, Rochest, N.Y., Patented March 30, 86,” sold for $375.

Q: I have four teapots in light blue, dark green, gold and maroon with the word “Lipton’s” stamped on the bottom of each one. I’m told they’re from the 1930s and were given out as premiums. Are there any other colors? Should I be on the lookout for matching creamers and sugar bowls? What are they worth?

A: Lipton teapots were made by Hall China Co. of East Liverpool, Ohio, and were given out as premiums beginning in 1935. The teapots were made in light blue, dark green, mustard, maroon, black and light yellow on the company’s “French” shape. Your gold teapot is probably the same as mustard, so you are missing black and light yellow. Matching sugar and creamer bowls were not made. If your teapots have a strainer inside the spout, they are early versions. Later versions didn’t have the strainer. Hall China Co. was founded in 1903. The company made dinnerware, kitchenware, institutional ware and other wares. It merged with Homer Laughlin China Co. in 2010. Value of each of your teapots: about $25.

Q: I inherited a number of Pfeffer Porcelain figurines from Germany. Most are dogs, but I also have a full-size parrot and dancing figures. Tell me something about the maker.

A: Fritz Pfeffer established the Fritz Pfeffer Porcelain Factory in Gotha, Thuringia, Germany, in 1892. The company made decorative porcelain. Animal figurines were introduced in 1900. After Fritz died in 1922, his son Max took over the business. The firm went bankrupt in 1934 but was revived by Max’s wife and continued to operate until 1942. The porcelain figures sell for $75 to $250.

Q: My father started collecting Prince Valiant comics from the very beginning, starting with the first comic book and continuing with the Sunday comic strips. The very complete series has been bound in leather books for all these years. I continue to collect the strip every week from where my dad left off. He even has an original letter from Hal Foster saying my dad has a more complete collection than he does. I’m just wondering if the whole collection is worth anything.

A: Prince Valiant is a weekly comic strip created by Hal Foster and first published on Feb. 13, 1937. Foster retired in 1971, and the strip has been illustrated by several other artists since then. Original comic art sells for several thousand dollars, but the newspaper strips produced from the art are worth a fraction of that. All the Prince Valiant strips have been reprinted in books, some in newspaper size, and this has driven down the price of “tear sheets.” A complete run of strips from 1937 on would have brought $2,000 20 years ago but is worth $300-$500 today. The letter from Hal Foster is worth $100 at most.

Q: I have inherited a beautiful Japanese woodblock print titled “Moon at the Niji Castl” by Miki Suizan, dated 1924. I discovered he was primarily a painter and had only produced 14 woodblock prints. I’m interested in learning more about this print and Miki Suizan.

A: Two sets of woodblock prints were designed by Miki Suizan (1887-1957), six prints of beautiful women and eight landscapes. The sets were titled “Selected Views of Kyoto” and were published in 1924-’25 by Sato Shotaro in Kyoto, Japan. Each set had a first edition of 200 or fewer. Miki Suizan designed the prints, but they were carved into the wood blocks by someone else and printed by a third person. Suizan prints were exhibited at the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art in 1930.

For more information about antiques and collectibles and free price information, visit Kovel’s website,

Kovel answers as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any Kovel forum. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovel, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.