Flags, eagles, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam and other patriotic symbols are very popular with collectors. You can find them in advertisements, as textile designs, on dinnerware or made into figurines for the fireplace mantel. Folk artists often made large wooden carvings to be displayed publicly. But the price depends on the fame and skill of the artist, the age and size of the piece, and how it was used before it was sold to a collector. A large carved hanging wall eagle by John Bellamy (1836-1914) or an eagle made to display on a table made by the Wilhelm Schimmel (1817-1890) sells for thousands of dollars. An ordinary eagle by an unknown carver can be a bargain. This 35-inch-high painted wooden eagle sold for $47, at a Copake auction in upstate New York.
Q: My aunt left me a lamp. The base is a figurine of an 18th-century woman sitting at a piano gazing affectionately at a man with a lute. It sits on an oval brass base. Two curved arms extend from the back and they are decorated with a metal vine and tiny porcelain flowers. In the 1940s, my aunt was window shopping in Chicago when she spotted this lamp. Later, the bell boy in her hotel delivered it to her room. It was a gift! I’m interested in learning its maker and history. .
A: Your lamp is a typical example of porcelain made in Dresden, Germany. Dresden porcelain is known for its naturalistic flowers and gilt trim, reticulation (cutout areas) and lace decorations. Figurines of 18th-century ladies and gentlemen, romantic couples, animal groups, cherubs and mythological subjects were popular. The most famous Dresden figurines are called “crinoline groups,” which show court-life scenes like people dancing and playing instruments. More than 200 porcelain-decorating studios operated in Dresden in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They decorated white porcelain made in Germany, Austria and France. Most porcelain blanks were not marked with the manufacturer’s mark. Your lamp probably was made in the 1930s and would sell for about $100. Replace the cord. Old cords are often cracked and are fire hazards.
Q: I have a brown clay-type teapot that was my grandmother’s. It’s embossed with a girl at the well. Can you tell me something about it?
A: “The Rebekah at the Well” teapot was first made by Edwin and William Bennett of Baltimore in 1851. The design was copied from a pot made by an English maker, Samuel Alcock & Company, in the 1840s. Bennett made Rebekah at the Well teapots until the factory closed in 1936. The relief design was so popular it was copied by other makers in the United States and England. It can be found on teapots, sugar bowls, pitchers and other items. Its value: $50 and up.