Arrow-right Camera


Tobacco tin packs more than a lunch

Dear Collector,

Enclosed is a photo of a tobacco tin in very good condition. My 92-year-old brother-in-law informed me he had carried his lunch in such a box.

A common practice until the 1920s and perhaps later, recycling tins which once held various products (though tobacco was high on boys’ lists) was almost a necessity in an earlier frugal and practical society. Kimball of Rochester, N.Y., who marketed Pedro Plug, opened shop in the mid-1860s, eventually becoming one of the largest tobacco concerns in the country. Because your tin looks up to snuff, value could be as high as $100.

Dear Collector,

I have a $1,000 United States Bank certificate from 1840. The serial number is 8894. It is very fragile. Please let me know if it is worth anything?

Sad to say, I get several letters a month inquiring about the authenticity of this supposed banknote. This is a reproduction, made before the Hobby Protection Act of 1973 which required all such duplications to be boldly marked with either the word “Copy” or “Replica.” Artificially aged with chemicals, this copy probably dates from the 1960s and was used in a sales promotion by Longines Symphonette Society, a record publisher. Value is as a piece for conversation not cash.

Dear Collector,

We found this small plastic submarine in a junk drawer when we moved into our home in the 1980s. Would you tell us who made it?

In the 1950s, one may have found this “Nautilus” diving sub (baking powder powered) in a box of Kellogg’s Sugar Corn Pops. Yours is worth $10, while a mint example in original mailer has a value of nearly $200.

Dear Collector,

Here’s another grandmother’s plate question: Who made this one stamped with a crown over a shield on which are the letters JKL?

That would be James Kent (Ltd.) of England. Date of manufacture for your floral decorated porcelain is approximately 1901.

Dear Collector,

I have a Sept. 7, 1957, “Saturday Evening Post” magazine in excellent condition. Can you tell me its value?

In print since 1821 (or 1728 according to Curtis, its present publisher), over the years SEP has featured many eminent writers (Edgar Allen Poe, Jack London, Willa Cather) and illustrators (Charles Russell, N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell). Since your issue has a Rockwell cover, “School Girl’s Missing Tooth,” value is $20-$30.

Dear Collector,

I bought this gumball vending machine for $30 at an auction. Did I get a bargain?

This is your standard 1950s Oak Acorn vendor with a listed value of $25-$75, so I guess you did okay.

Dear Collector,

Is this vintage Double-Cola bottle worth anything? It was among a number of old soda bottles left in my father’s garage.

Established in the 1920s as Good Grape Co., this Chattanooga based bottler later adopted Seminole Flavor Co. as its name. Launched in 1933, in 12-ounce bottles, Double-Cola offered two times the product of other colas, hence its name. Your circa 1940s bottle is $10.