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SPREADING THE LOVE FOR PEANUT BUTTER

Peanut-related items are popular collectibles. Most familiar are the many Mr. Peanut boxes, tins, figures, signs and even 4-foot-high iron scales.

Old packaging for peanut butter was inventive and appealing, too. Tin pails with wire handles were used to pack peanut butter in the 1930s. Child movie stars like Jackie Coogan were pictured on the pails.

Other peanut-butter tins from the 1930s pictured nursery-rhyme characters, circus elephants or children playing. Swift and Co. sold 6-inch-high lithographed tin pails with cartoon graphics in the 1950s.

By the 1960s, Big Top peanut butter was sold in reusable pressed glass footed goblets.

Blanket chest

Q: Our 42-inch-long blanket chest has a copper plaque inside the lid that's inscribed "Connersville Cabinet Company, Connersville, Indiana." The chest is cedar with a carved and painted design on the front. I have been unable to find any information about the company.

A: The Connersville Cabinet Co. manufactured cedar chests like yours between about 1915 and 1935.

Small wood stove

ERROR: Q: My husband's grandmother left us a small, cast-iron wood stove. The stove itself is 23 inches long by 20 inches high by 12 inches deep. It sits on three slip-on legs. The iron is decorated all over, with a scroll edge on the top and Gothic arches around the sides. The words "Jewett & Root, Eagle Furnace, Buffalo, N.Y." are embossed on the top. Can you tell us when it was made? Should I wash it and apply stove blacking?

A: You have a Victorian-era box stove, used to warm a bedroom or small parlor. Box stoves were developed in America during the Revolutionary War and were manufactured in great numbers between 1830 and 1910. The stoves were small and portable, and burned wood efficiently. The name of the maker and the decoration on your stove dates it to the mid- to late-1800s. You can clean the cast iron, but chances are it was never covered in stove blacking and should not be treated with it now. Stoves like yours sell for $1,500 or more.

Write to Kovels in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019.

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