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Markings likely tell nutcracker’s origin

Sun., Dec. 28, 2008

Dear Collector: Enclosed are picture of a nutcracker that has been in my family as long as I can remember – I am 86. Can find no markings to help you. Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.

Your iron-jawed beastie may have a “Made in England” mark on his tail/handle, so take another look. He’s similar to others I’ve seen from the same era bearing that mark. We know from your story that he’s vintage, if not antique; in other words, he is old. Value is in the $50 to $75 range.

Dear Collector: I’ve been told that my “Twister” game is one of the first sold by Milton Bradley in 1966. If that’s so, how much would it be worth?

Originally named “Pretzel” and marketed for adults by inventor Reyn Guyer, this “stocking feet game” became a big hit when Johnny Carson played it with Eva Gabor on his late night television program. Going in and out of popularity (this year it’s in), “Twister” has become a perennial at birthday parties: adult and juvenile. Your classic game, if in very good condition, is worth $20 to $30.

Dear Collector: We bought a McCoy flying ducks bowl new in the 1950s. I can’t remember what we paid, though I don’t think it was a lot since we had just married. Do you have any idea what it would be worth today?

Listed in one price guide at $175 to $225, this planter also came in a raspberry and chartreuse color scheme.

Dear Collector: The thing in these photos is obviously associated with the military, but for the love of Mike I can’t figure out what it is. Can you help?

Drab olive green in color, this World War II era armband, called a brassard, would react in the presence of gas. Relatively rare (most were made of paper and have not withstood the ravages of time), this piece of militaria is now worth nearly $200 if authentic.

Dear Collector: Is there any value to this Howdy Doody and Santa Claus decoration?

Dating from the 1950s, your plastic Howdy Doody and buddy door ornament is listed at $145 to $210.

Dear Collector: I saw this doll at our local five-and-dime store just before my eighth birthday. To make a long story short, my grandmother bought it for me, and I’ve kept it all these years. Before I pass it on to my granddaughters, I would like to know if it is at all valuable.

Your longtime friend, whose name I believe is Ginny, was made by Vogue Doll Company in 1949. Currently she’s worth nearly $400.

Dear Collector: Please use your magic to reveal the maker of my tureen. The mark is a shield bearing the letters “BMW.”

No magic here; to unravel your mystery, I have to rearrange the letters to “BWM,” for Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co. of Staffordshire, who in the 1880s manufactured your transfer-decorated earthenware piece.

Prices quoted reflect retail values, and as with many antiques and collectibles these values vary. Readers are encouraged to submit questions (with images if possible) to THE COLLECTOR at: Please don’t ask help in buying or selling your items.

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