Sikorski's attic 5/4/14: Ivory-handled corkscrew could be a very lucky find

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Dear John: My wife and I attended an auction in northeast Georgia last week. Everything we wanted sold much higher than we could afford. Toward the end of the sale, the auctioneer sold a box lot that had a couple of wine glasses my wife liked, so we bought the box lot for $10.


Wrapped up in some newspapers was this corkscrew. I have enclosed a photograph. It appears to be ivory, but I am not sure. What can you tell us about its value or anything else? Thank you for any help you can provide. — T.D., Internet 

Dear T.D.: Well, that was a lucky buy. Corkscrews are a popular category of collecting. They have been produced for hundreds of years and cover a wide range of types.

The one you have is ivory, and my guess is it is a warthog tusk. The end cap has some nice detail at the edge. I think it is sterling silver that is heavily tarnished. If so, there will be a hallmark or the word sterling along the edge somewhere. If I am correct, potential dollar value is $100 to $200. 

Dear John: I hope these photographs are good enough for you to evaluate for their worth. These figures are from my sister’s estate to me. Can you tell me about them? — A.C., Beverly Hills 

Dear A.C.: I think your two figurines were made in England. The material has the look of marble but is porcelain. It is referred to as bisque, an unglazed fired porcelain that was produced in large quantities during the Victorian era in Europe, England and America.

Bisque figures have been a category of collecting for decades. The two you have would sell in the $75 to $150 each range. 

Dear John: I have finally gotten around to looking through a big box of stuff my mother gave me more than 30 years ago. I have almost thrown it out several times. There are old newspapers from when Elvis died, Nixon quits, etc. There are magazine covers from 1917 to 1925 like “McClure’s,” and “Metropolitan” with beautiful women and pictures of artist paintings. 

There are five 9 1/2 inch by 14 inch block prints in poor condition that have the name Hiroshige on them in pencil. An art professor friend of mine thinks they are authentic, possibly 150 years old. 

There are a few smaller miscellaneous pictures; some look like block prints. I would like to have an expert appraisal and have them restored and properly mounted or sell them — I am not sure what. They are beautiful, but not my kind of thing. Are any of these items worth anything? — J.H., Internet 

Dear J.H.: Japanese woodblock prints are a specific category of collector interest. The name Hiroshige is widely recognized by collectors. Since you are thinking of selling them, it would be best to contact a specialist. Lark Mason is a nationally recognized specialist in Oriental antiques. The website is www.igavelauctions.com. 

The magazine covers are of no specific collector interest, but are often framed and sold as decorative Remember When items.


John Sikorski has been a professional in the antiques business for 30 years. He hosts a call-in radio show, Sikorski’s Attic, on WJUF (90.1 FM) Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. Send questions to Sikorski’s Attic, P.O. Box 2513, Ocala, FL 34478 or asksikorski@aol.com.