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Antiques: Items inspired by Greenaway drawings

Kate Greenaway (1846-1901), an English artist, often is called the creator of picture books. As a young girl, she drew watercolor pictures of children dressed in old-fashioned clothes in a nearby village. She created a pattern, made the dresses and bonnets, and dressed models to pose for her drawings. The romantic style was immediately successful, and soon she was illustrating cards, calendars, books and almanacs, earning both fame and fortune. She soon started writing the poetry for her books. The Kate Greenaway look became so popular it was copied in dress patterns, dishes, napkin rings, glassware and, of course, picture books. Collectors today like the original books and drawings and also collect the look-alikes. The world she created reminds people of the joys of childhood and more innocent times. So it is not surprising that a figural napkin ring sold at a James Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine, in 2015 for $533. It featured two Greenaway-type girls in a tree, and because it was a “double,” it had added value.


Q: I have an Avon apple-shaped candle holder that is about 50 years old. It’s gold-painted glass. The top half of the apple comes off so you can put a small candle inside the bottom half. It’s about 5 inches high and 4 inches wide. Is it worth anything?

A: Avon made this Golden Apple candle holder in 1968 and 1969. Avon started in 1886 as the California Perfume Co. The name Avon was used beginning in 1929. The company has made many figural bottles, jars, figurines, children’s toys, jewelry and other items. The Golden Apple candle holder came with a perfumed candle and originally sold for $6. They sell online today for about $5-$15.


Q: My husband was a pharmacist and had a collection of old pharmacy tools. It includes an old pill roller, mortar and pestle, scale and weights. He died last year and I’d like to sell them. How can I contact someone who would be interested in them?

A: There are collectors who look for pharmacy and drugstore items. There are also people who collect old scales. They would sell at an advertising sale or auction that includes advertising and pharmacy items. Look for a local dealer who goes to big flea markets and advertising shows. There also are auctions just of medical collectibles. You can find them online.

Write to Kovels, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.