Dear Collector: Enclosed are photos of a Lincoln/Johnson political watch fob that belonged to my maternal grandfather. It appears to be in near mint condition; what’s it worth?
I couldn’t agree more about its condition, but since this quarter dollar-size ferrotype (commonly termed a tintype) button was meant to be worn on a gent’s lapel, suspended from a ribbon or string, let’s call it a lapel device. Of the many examples of this 1864 presidential campaign collectible that I’ve seen; this is by far the best and should command at least $1,200 in the right auction.
Dear Collector: What’s the value of this Effanbee doll won by me in a contest when I was four or five; I am now 80 years old?
This doll maker, founded around 1910 by Fleischaker and Baum (the company name is a combination of their initials), made your “Rosemary” in 1926. Depending on which size doll you have, value is between $100 and $150.
Dear Collector: I have a 5-cent Mills slot machine that works good. I have had this for more than 50 years; what’s its value?
I matched this to a 1938 “Brown Front,” whose cabinet was also used by Mills for a slot called “Cherry Bell.” Probable value for an apparatus in fair to good condition is about $1,000.
Dear Collector: I received this Hopalong Cassidy bank when my mother opened a savings account for me in the early 1950s. I’ve never seen another one like it, and was curious to see if it is valuable?
Starting in 1951, these plastic banks were marketed to numerous savings institutes around the country to be used as incentives for young depositors. Not rare by any means; in fact, a look on eBay, the Internet auction site, shows a number of these Hoppy-headed depositories sold for $25-$40.
Dear Collector: I was left this ewer and bowl by an aunt many years ago, but always wondered how old they really are. The only mark I can find is an eight-pointed star with the words “Stone China” surrounding the letters “EB.” Who made these and when?
Your stoneware set came from the Baltimore pottery of Edwin Bennett sometime in the 1880s.
Dear Collector: Would you please give me some information on a 1797 Liberty Head penny?
This large copper one-cent piece, called a “Draped Bust,” was designed by Robert Scot. The total mintage of this coin (produced in four distinct types) exceeded 800,000. Value, in good condition, averages $70-$100.
Dear Collector: Any value to this “Munsters” book that I got at a yard sale?
Your 1965 illustrated book was one of two titles published by Whitman. Featuring a family of freaky but friendly fiends, these novels were based on the very popular CBS television series starring Fred Gwynne and Yvonne Decarlo. Current value on your book is $35.
Dear Collector: My mother saved dozens of old cloth flour bags; would they have any value?
They should be worth some dough!
Recommended reading: “Star Wars Super Collector’s Wish Book,” Geoffrey T. Charlton (Collector Books, 2005, $29.95). “Warman’s Civil War Collectibles Field Guide,” John F. Graf (KP Books, 2005, $12.99). “Remington Knives, Past & Present,” Ron Stewart & Roy Ritchie (Collector Books, 2005, $16.95).