Dear John: I have enjoyed reading your articles in the Citrus County Chronicle for years. Enclosed are several photographs of a pocketknife that measures 3 1/4 inches long. There is a lot of fancy decoration on both sides. On one side there is a bridge and just above it are the words Mermod and Jaccard. The other side has a large scale building with a tower clock at one end. Above the building is the word St. Louis. At the right, in very small letters, is the word sterling. There are two blades, each individually open automatically by pressing a small button one on each end. I call it my fancy switchblade. What can you tell me about it and its value? — S.M., internet
Dear S.M.: The very decorative fruit knife you have was made in America by the Press Button Knife Company located in New York. The company was founded by George Schrade in 1892. Schrade was responsible for designing a wide variety of switchblade knives and was a leader in the manufacturing of automatic opening pocketknives.
Mermod and Jaccard Jewelers was formed in 1864 and by the late 19th century they called themselves “the grandest jewelry establishment in the world.” They had satellite locations in Paris, Vienna, London, Birmingham and Sheffield, England. The building on your switchblade knife is their company building located in St. Louis. The word “sterling” indicates the two sides with all the fancy decoration are made of sterling silver. Potential dollar value is $100 to $200.
Dear John: I look forward to your Sunday column in the Citrus County Chronicle. I am hoping you can tell me of someone who could make a professional repair on a couple of Pima Indian baskets, which are showing a few loosened and broken stitches. Even though they are probably not that valuable, I hate to see them continue to deteriorate.
Also, I have an oil painting which needs professional repair with a 2-inch tear in the canvas. Can you refer me to someone for that, within a reasonable distance from Citrus County, as well? Thank you. — D.S., internet
Dear D.S.: I suggest you contact the folks at American Indian Basket Cleaning and Repair Service. The website is www.antiqueamericanindianart.com. The phone number is 949-813-7202.
To have the oil painting restored, contact Margaret Watts in Ocala. The phone number is 352-629-4674.
Dear John: I have enclosed some photographs of six chairs that came from my wife’s grandmother, who was of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. I was told they were made of butternut wood. Any information you could provide on these chairs would be appreciated. — J.M., internet
Dear J.M.: The photographs you sent were not very helpful. I think your country chairs are American made. The crest rails are referred to as oxbow shape. The center splat is in the shape of a boot jack or boot pull, used to remove ones’ boots. These chairs are often called boot jack chairs, if the chair backs slant backward. I suspect your chairs are over 100 years old. Potential dollar value is $50 to $100 each.
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 email@example.com.