Toys of any kind are popular collectibles, and among the most popular are automobiles.
Toy makers realized that children liked to play with copies of adult items, and toy cars were made almost as soon as full-sized cars. The iron or lithographed tin toy cars of the very early 1900s sell today for thousands of dollars. Some are exact replicas; some are "fantasy" cars that do not copy real cars. The most desirable have passengers, usually made of iron. Rubber tires and moving parts, like a steering wheel that turns or a trunk lid or car door that opens, add to the value. The original box could double the value.
Collectors do not often find toys made earlier than 50 years ago, but many of those made since 1950 also have value if they are in good condition.
Q: My son gave me a plain, solid, wooden side chair that he claims is an antique. The Pennsylvania dealer who sold it to him said he bought it in Florida. There's a label on the bottom that reads, "No. 332-1, Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co., Chicago, Il l., USA."
A: Heywood Brothers & Co. merged with the Wakefield Co. in 1897. The merged company's name became Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co. In 1921, the company's name changed again, to Heywood-Wakefield Co. Your chair was made between 1897 and about 1921 -- probably after 1906. Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co., based in Gardner, Mass., operated a factory in Chicago where rattan furniture was made.
Q: My old toaster was used by my parents for as long as I can remember. The toaster is square. On each side of the toaster is a door-shaped holder for a slice of bread. A plaque on it reads "Estate Electric Toaster." Who made it and when?
A: Your toaster was introduced in 1922 by the Estate Stove Co. of Hamilton, Ohio. It is said to be the first four-slice electric toaster. It was manufactured for a few years. The Estate brand name dates back to 1842. The name was purchased in 1955 by Whirlpool Corp., which continues to make Estate-brand appliances.
End of day items
Q: I collect Bakelite bracelets -- the simple, bangle kind. Can you tell me what "end-of-day" Bakelite is?
A: The term "end-of-day" is used to describe Bakelite bracelets or other items made using four or more distinct colors. The various colors of plastic were presumably left over near the end of a production day. They were then swirled together and cast into rods, sheets or bracelet tubes to cut down on waste. "End-of-day" is also used to refer to art glass made with leftover batches of colored glass.
Q: My mother bought a 10-inch mauve-and-blue vase at a rummage sale. On the bottom are the words, "Stangl, Terra Rose, Made in Trenton, USA, 3675." Can you tell me its value and age?
A: Fulper Pottery of Trenton, N.J., hired Johann Martin Stangl as a ceramic engineer about 1910. By 1926, Stangl was president of the pottery, and in 1929 he became its owner. Eventually, the company's name was changed to Stangl Pottery. Terra Rose, a Stangl pattern, was introduced in 1941. The number 3675 refers to its shape. Your vase is worth $65.