Sikorski's Attic 6/8/14: Figurines aren’t cloisonné; watch likely 100 years old

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Dear John: I am attaching a photo of two figurines that I inherited. The last appraisal from 1955 stated they are cloisonné figurines from the Alexander Hamilton Stephens collection.


Alexander Hamilton Stephens was the vice-president of the Confederacy. Family stories say he is related, but I have yet to prove the connection.

I know these figurines were very important to my grandfather, as these were the only items he removed from his home when Hurricane Donna was threatening to destroy it in 1960. I would appreciate it if you could provide any further information. — D., Internet 

Dear D.: Cloisonné is produced by placing a design on a metal ground using fine metal wire, then filling the areas with colorful enamel.

The two female figurines in the photograph you sent are not cloisonné. They are made of bisque porcelain. The two figurines, each depicting a young woman diaphanously dressed with a cherub at the feet, were likely produced in Germany. The time of production is early 20th century.

Current potential dollar value is $50 to $100 each. If there are maker’s marks, it could increase value. 

Dear John: I have sent you two photographs of my wife’s grandfather’s brother’s pocketwatch.

We have tried getting some information about the value on the Internet, but have not been able to find any help. Besides the value, we would like to find out how to set the time. I have never used the watch, so a little help would be greatly appreciated. — M.M., Internet 

Dear M.M.: You have a good-looking man’s hunting case pocketwatch.

Open the front cover by depressing the winding stem. The time is set by pulling out the small lever located on the bezel at 4 o’clock on the dial. Turn the winding stem to the correct time and then push the lever back in, and wind until it stops. 

The watch was made in Switzerland, likely 100 years ago. If the watch case is made of 14- or 18-karat gold, it will be marked on the inside of the back cover. If there is no gold mark, the case is gold plated. Potential dollar value if gold plated is below $500; if gold, more than $500. 

Dear John: I have inherited a melodeon organ from my great aunt who resided in New Haven, Connecticut.

At this point, I am seeking its value. It is a Carhart’s Improved, patented Dec. 28, 1846. It is a small reed organ, which is in excellent condition; the bellows are still working, along with the pump action.

It would be interesting to know if this is a collectible and the approximate dollar value. Thank you for your interest and anticipated reply. — P.R., Internet 

Dear P.R.: Melodeons like the one you have are usually in beautiful woods and quite decorative. They were manufactured in large quantities during the 19th century.

Currently, there is no specific collector interest. If you were to sell your melodeon, it would be a lucky day to get in the $200 range. 

Dear John: We live in Crystal River and have been reading your articles in the Chronicle for several years.

My mother’s aunt was a world traveler. She always bought some kind of souvenir or trinket from the particular city or country she was visiting. On one trip to Switzerland, while visiting a ski resort, she purchased two advertising posters depicting people skiing down a snow-covered slope.

I seem to recall that a while back you mentioned something about collecting movie posters. I wonder if this kind of poster I have is collectible, and if so, what they might be worth. — T.N., Internet 

Dear T.N.: I am glad you have asked about your ski resort posters. Yes, they are collectible and have moved way up the totem pole of collector interest in the poster-collecting category.

Without photos, all I can say is they are at least worth $200-plus each in good condition. Send a couple of good, clear photos and I will finish the story.

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.