“Postmodernist” is one of the newest styles in the United States. Walt Disney World’s Swan Hotel, with a 47-foot swan on each side of the roof, and its Dolphin Hotel with two 56-foot dolphins on the roof, are examples. Michael Graves, the architect of these buildings, also designed kitchenware, furniture, jewelry and hospital furnishings in his unusual style. His teapot with the whistling bird is so well-known that he made a less-expensive copy with a whistling whistle. Graves designed his first furniture in the 1970s, and by 1982 he was winning awards for his designs. His modernist furniture was made in geometric shapes with features added in colors that included blue, orange and brown. One 1980s table was made of maple, painted plastic, painted wood, brass and glass. It is unmarked, like many of his designs. In spite of signs of wear and a few chips, the table sold for $3,840 at a Rago auction in October.
Q: I have a Hilda doll marked “JDK 1914.” The doll has several other marks, one in German, and numbers on the back of her neck. Can you tell me how I might go about selling it?
A: “JDK” stands for J.D. Kestner Co., a well-known German dollmaker that operated in Waltershausen, Germany, from 1805 until 1938. The company started making dolls in 1820. During the 19th century, Kestner made high-quality papier-mache doll heads and bodies, leather doll bodies, molded-hair china-head dolls with china limbs, celluloid dolls, kewpies and Bye-Lo babies. In the early 1880s, Kestner began to make dolls with bisque heads on jointed composition bodies. The Hilda character doll was introduced in 1914. With peach-tinted cheeks, real hair eyelashes, a pug nose and an open mouth with two tiny upper teeth, Hilda dolls are wanted by doll collectors. They have sold for $900 to over $5,000, depending on the doll’s size, details and condition. The numbers on your doll’s neck are mold and size-code numbers, which will help further identify your Hilda. Old dolls in great condition sell quickly at auctions that specialize in dolls, such as Theriault’s of Annapolis, Md.; McMasters Harris-Appletree Auctions of Newark, Ohio; and Frasher’s Doll Auction of Oak Grove, Mo.
Q: I have a Firestone rubber-tire ashtray from the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Does the ashtray have any value?
A: There are plenty of collectors of World’s Fair memorabilia. Ashtrays like yours also are wanted by people who collect things related to cars and advertising. Firestone tire ashtrays like yours sell for about $25 to $30 today.