Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published November 11, 2011, 12:00 AM

Kovels Antiques: Many football toys made over the years

During football season, fans shop for T-shirts, banners, nodding heads, glasses and other souvenirs of the game. Through the years, many football toys also have been made.

By: By Terry Kovel, INFORUM

During football season, fans shop for T-shirts, banners, nodding heads, glasses and other souvenirs of the game. Through the years, many football toys also have been made.

A 1930s iron mechanical place-kicker toy actually could kick a tiny football. This toy has been attributed to the Hubley Manufacturing Co. of Lancaster, Pa., but we found the toy’s 1934 U.S. patent (No. 1,954,838). It was granted to Charles Woolsey and Henry Bowman of Minneapolis, who assigned it to the Hinsdale Manufacturing Co. of Chicago.

The invention was a game, not just the place-kicking figure. There was a fiberboard backboard that represented a football field. It had football-shaped holes that were targets for the football kicked by the iron mechanical man. The kicker could be moved into different positions. The idea was to get the toy man to kick his miniature ball through one of the backboard’s holes for a goal.

Few of the backboards have survived, so collectors often think the football player merely kicked the celluloid or tin ball into the air. Some information about the game is still unknown. Did Hinsdale manufacture it? Or did it sell its rights to Hubley? And is its value changed by knowing it’s part of a game, not a stand-alone toy?

Q: I have a desk with a mark on the back that reads “Sheboygan Novelty Co. Combination Ladies Desk, No 17.” I’d like to know something about this company and the age of the desk.

A: Sheboygan Novelty Co. was founded in 1890 in Sheboygan, Wis., and remained in business until the 1930s. The company made furniture, including bookcases, buffets, cellarettes, china cabinets, dining sets, ladies’ desks and cabinets for music, player-piano rolls and phonographs. Your combination bookcase-desk probably was made in about 1900.

Q: I have a pair of vaseline glass candleholders that are 9 inches tall. They are each on a six-sided double stand. They have an off-white cross with a figure of Jesus in gold. Also in gold are the letters “I.N.R.I.” They have been in my family a long time. Someone told me they are more than 100 years old, but I know they were a wedding gift to my parents in 1916. I would appreciate any comment you may have about them.

A: Pressed-glass crucifix candleholders were a popular religious item in the early 1900s and were made by several different companies in various sizes and colors, including clear glass, milk glass, amber, blue, green, marigold, opal, purple and vaseline glass. Cambridge Glass Co. offered crucifix candlesticks in its 1903 catalog. McKee Glass Co. also made crucifix candlesticks in the early 1900s. The letters “I.N.R.I” stand for the Latin words that translate to “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” A shipment of crucifix candlesticks was found in the wreckage of a steam-powered ocean liner that sank off the coast of Nantucket after colliding with another ocean liner in 1909. An ordinary pressed glass crucifix candlestick sells for $10 to $20. If the gold decoration on your pair is original, they would be worth more.


Baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice can be used to remove rust.

Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

- Chrome canister set, Lincoln BeautyWare, flour, sugar, coffee and tea, 1950s, 9 inches, 5 inches and 4½ inches, $20.

- Roosevelt and Garner 1933 presidential inaugural program, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John N. Garner photos on cover, biographies, list of guests, 64 pages, 8½x11 inches, $80.

- Minton cabinet plate, underwater scene of sea creature and plants, pale aqua border with gold accents, octagonal, blue mark, c. 1880, 9 inches, $135.

- Lace nightgown, white cotton, wide lace collar, 3 mother-of-pearl buttons, lace cuffs, 1800s, bust 38, length 59 inches, $145.

- Bugs Bunny doll as Davy Crockett, painted plastic face, cotton body, faux-suede jacket and pants, coonskin cap of real rabbit fur, Warner Bros. copyright, 1950s, 18¾ inches, $170.

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.