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Antiques by Terry and Kim Kovel

Being “green” is not a new idea. Our ancestors recycled and reused precious pieces of fabrics, broken dishes and glass, iron, tin and more. Textiles often were woven on a loom at home until the mid-1850s. For most families there was no nearby store with a replacement, and no way to order something to be delivered until Victorian times. The Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog (1894-present) was not the first, but it was the most famous catalog, and others followed. Although the catalog offered quilts and pictures, someone, probably a talented housewife, stitched a decorative panel of the silk bands that came on cigars. The bands were pieced together then fringe was added. Sample pieces of woolen cloth, sometimes with the paper label still attached, cotton fabric from flour sacks, and pieces of old dresses were recycled into larger pieced and patchwork quilts. Because the cigar bands are very small, they were not often reused. But today’s collectors of advertising, cigar-related items and quilts would want this unusual piece. It was made in the mid- to late 19th century. And although it only was a 23-inch square mounted in a 32-inch metal frame, it sold at a March Brunk auction in Asheville, N.C., for $1,200.

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Q: I have a 5½-inch Hummel pitcher in the shape of a monk who happens to have crossed eyes. I believe this is a mistake. I was told that the factory had a recall on them and that only five remained. My family has all five. Can you tell me if these really are a rare find, and how much they are worth?

A: Germany’s Goebel Porcelain Factory introduced the popular Friar Tuck series in the early 1950s. Friar Tuck was the roly-poly monk who kept Robin Hood and his Merry Men on the straight and narrow. About 125 everyday table items were made, including sugars and creamers, salt and pepper shakers, condiment sets, toothpick holders, mugs and pitchers. Your pitcher is one of the No. 141 line of four pitchers that were made in graduated sizes from 2½ inches to 8 inches. Older models of the No. 141 pitchers were made, intentionally, with crossed eyes. While they are rarer than pitchers with regular eyes, the rarity is minimal for collectors and they sell for only a few dollars more. Your pitchers are worth about $25 to $30 each. Friar Tuck pieces should not be confused with Hummel figurines, also made by Goebel, because they are not based on drawings by Sister M.I. Hummel even though they have a similar endearing look. Goebel discontinued the Friar Tuck line in 1988.

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Tip: Do not clean a mounted animal that has fur. It could become bald.