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Published December 16, 2011, 12:00 AM

Kovels Antiques: Picture frames elaborate during Victorian times

Picture frames were very elaborate during Victorian times. The rectangular frame for an oil painting could be 3 or 4 inches deep with several different types of carving on the borders. And the frame often was covered with gold leaf. Small frames were sometimes made of carved pieces of dark wood joined in a crisscross fashion.

By: By Terry Kovel, INFORUM

Picture frames were very elaborate during Victorian times. The rectangular frame for an oil painting could be 3 or 4 inches deep with several different types of carving on the borders. And the frame often was covered with gold leaf. Small frames were sometimes made of carved pieces of dark wood joined in a crisscross fashion.

The simple silver frame favored today for photographs was unknown to Victorians. They preferred odd-shaped silver-plated frames with added figures or objects because they liked lots of ornamentation. Their picture frames often were more important than the pictures in them and added decorative value to a group display. Today, picture frames and mats are made to enhance pictures.

During the past 25 years, museums and serious collectors have tried to keep pictures in their original frames. Artists, after all, often made the frames to go with a special “look” they were trying to achieve. Landscapes were put in frames with wide borders that slanted into the painting, giving added depth.

Signed picture frames by known makers sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars. Do not put a new frame on an old painting, print or drawing before you learn what type of frame it ought to have. And if you have some old frames, you might try to sell them. Their prices might surprise you.


Q: A while ago, I purchased a papier-mache duck decoy made by the General Fibre Co. of St. Louis. The decoy is impressed “General Fibre Co., Ariduk, Reg. U.S. Pat. Off., St. Louis 2, Mo.” There’s a 2¼-inch hole on the top of the duck. Why the hole? And what is the decoy worth?

A: Your molded-fiber (papier-mache) decoy dates from the mid-1940s or early 1950s. One clue to its age is the postal zone, 2, in the address. Postal zones were first used in 1943. Another clue is the material your decoy is made of. Molded fiber was first used for factory-made decoys in 1939, but it really took off after World War II. Then, in the early 1950s, molded fiber was replaced by Styrofoam and plastics. The hole on the top of your decoy originally was covered with a thin layer of fiber. It was designed to be closed with a wooden plug after the decoy was filled with ballast. Ariduk duck decoys sell for $5 to more than $100, depending on condition, color and type of duck.


Q: I have a cookie jar that seems to be an ad for Nabisco Sunshine cookies. Did many companies make their own special cookie jars?

A: Cookie jars have long been popular with collectors, and some collectors specialize in advertising jars. Enough can be found to make it an interesting collecting category. Look for jars by Nestle’s, Aunt Jemima, Blue Bonnet margarine, Milk Bone dog biscuits, Coca-Cola, Quaker Oats, Barnum’s Animal Crackers, M&M’s and Quaker Oats. There also are jars for smaller companies, like Haggard’s Quality Cream Flake Cookies and Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies.


Tip

Be sure to remove the weights and pendulum when moving a clock.


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.

- Pony Express board game, tri-fold board pictures rider on horseback shooting at pursuing Indians, dice, four game pieces, 1,000 $1 bills, Polygon Corp., Chicago, 1940s, $45.

- Hood’s Sarsaparilla 1903 calendar, “Four Friends Posing,” image of girl with donkey, St. Bernard and terrier, matted and framed, 15¾x4½ inches, $245.

- Heintz Art cigarette box, olive-green bronze, sterling-silver floral overlay on lid, cedar lining, 1910, 4¼x3½ inches, $385.

- Raggedy Andy doll, cloth, flat face, black shoe-button eyes, red oval mouth, red triangle nose, red-and-white striped stockings, Georgene Novelties, c. 1940, 18 inches, $480.

- Bell Telephone toy truck, red, white rubber tires with wood hubcaps, derrick, windlass, tools, ladders, Hubley, 1931, 9¼ inches, $595.

- Limoges porcelain chocolate set, blue-purple berries on vines, gold, rust, yellow, orange and red, 9 pieces, $825.

- Patchwork quilt, Bear’s Paw pattern, white blocks alternate with patchwork blocks, red, brown, indigo blue, pink and black, 1860s-70s, 76x80 inches, $935.

- Cartier water pitcher, sterling silver, Lord Saybrook pattern, baluster form, hollow-cast scroll handle, stepped base, 8¾ inches, $1,350.

- Newcomb College pottery candlesticks, pink and white carved butterflies, blue matte glaze, Sadie Irvine, 1926, 9¾ inches, pair, $5,080.


For more information about antiques and collectibles and free price information, visit Kovel’s website, www.kovels.com

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.

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