Dear Collector: The attached photos are of an electric cigarette lighter that was in my grandfather’s smoking stand alongside his favorite chair for as long as I remember. I have replaced the frayed cord. Can you tell me how old it might be and an estimated value?
I’m glad that you changed out the cord. Sometimes when the old insulation becomes friable, a smoker can become fryable. Dating from the 1920s or ’30s, this device appears to have been made by Eagle Electric Manufacturing of New York. Though price guide value is between $30 and $45, similar examples on the Internet are quoted for under $20.
Dear Collector: I have three series 1899 one-dollar silver certificates. Are they valuable?
Depending on condition (how many times have I said that), your large size notes could be worth $25 to $50 each. By the way, 1899 was the year the vacuum cleaner was patented and Bayer trademarked aspirin.
Dear Collector: The enclosed pictures are of a doll with three faces that my grandmother gave m when I was 8 years old. The doll, whom I named Honey, is now 57. Her head turns to reveal each of her faces. Thanks for any information you can provide.
Known as a “Sleepy, Weepy, Smiley,” your old pal was a product of the Three-In-One Doll Corp. You mentioned in your letter that friends found her scary. Well, imagine how disturbing they would find her if she had six faces or even more? That’s right, dolls were made with as many as 12 visages; of course, you had to change heads to get the full effect. Mugs to one side, the dollar value of your dolly is in excess of $150.
Dear Collector: I’ve had this World’s Columbian Exposition ticket for years. Does it have any value?
The 1893 World’s Fair dedicated each day of operation to a specific topic, city or country. Marked “Expressly for Manhattan Day,” an unused October 21, 1893, ticket would be worth about $40, while yours, used, has a value of $10.
Dear Collector: In the first part of the 1960s I inherited seven plates that have “F&R” in a circle marked on the back. I’m curious as to their age, can you help?
Apparently you have the remnants of a set made by Ford & Riley of Burslem, Staffordshire, England. While I can’t date them exactly, they were made sometime between 1890 and 1950.
Dear Collector: What is my “Ozma and the Little Wizard” book worth?
Part of the “Wizard of Oz” series, yours was a Jell-O premium in 1933. It has a listed value of $40 to $100, depending on condition.
Dear Collector: Will you tell me if this Phantom button has value?
Your tin lithographed button is missing the tab which held it onto clothing or cap (which was the popular pin place when I was a boy). Undamaged, this circa 1950s keepsake is listed at $25. As it is, value would not exceed $10.
Dear Collector: I have an old Victrola phonograph but no needles to play records; where would I buy some?
It’s my policy to involve myself in neither buying nor selling. Hint: The best place, or so I’ve heard, to find needles is in a haystack!