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Full name adds value to smokin’ wedding gift

Glenn Erardi Correspondent

Dear Collector,

The attached picture is an ashtray received as a wedding gift in 1955. On the back it shows a gold rooster and below that it says “Sascha Brastoff, California, USA.” Does it have any value?

Brastoff, a former ballet dancer and Hollywood costume designer, settled into the Southern California ceramics scene in the early 1950s. While many pieces (dishes, bowls, vases, etc.) were made by staff and usually signed “Sascha B,” it appears your ashtray came from the maestro’s hands, putting its value at about $200.

Dear Collector,

Here are copies of what we used to call “penny postcards.” I would like to know if they are worth more than face value.

Of the three unused cards you enclosed (1951 two-cent, 1958 three-cent, and 1962 four-cent), it’s the ‘58 “Lady Liberty” that at sixty-cents has the most value today.

Dear Collector,

I saw this Disney tray at a yard sale and it reminded me of a similar one I had as a young girl. I paid under $20; was that OK?

Dating to the ‘60s, your TV tray (remember when families ate the evening meal in front of the tube?) has a probable worth of $70 according to a major reference on Disneyana.

Dear Collector,

I was in college when the Moon Landing happened in 1969. My mother just found that day’s newspaper which she had put aside for the future. How much is it worth?

Since so many Americans kept their paper on that day, value is between $10 and $20.

Dear Collector,

I have an interesting coin dated 1795. On the back are a spread eagle and the words “United States of America.” There is no denomination listed on either side. It has been in my family for at least three generations. What can you tell me about the potential value of this coin?

If you look at the edge of this “Flowing Hair” coin (so named because of Liberty’s dramatic coiffure) you should see the following: “Hundred Cents One Dollar or Unit.” If that’s the case, then I am pleased to inform you that this silver dollar, if authenticated and graded, could possibly be worth several thousand dollars. Good fortune to you!

Dear Collector,

Could you tell me the value of this ship’s clock?

Your late 1940s “Yachtsman,” in the shape of a ship’s wheel, never sailed “before the mast.” Made by Telechron, this electric alarm clock is now worth $50, a considerable jump over its original selling price of $5.85.

Dear Collector,

Can you help us identify the maker of these bookends that look like a large church?

In the form of Rheims Cathedral (Fr. Notre-Dame De Reims), this circa 1929 set is attributed to Ronson Art Metal Works. Current value is about $50.

Obsolete custom: In 18th and 19th century England when visiting a newborn it was the tradition to bring coins or pins in a small pottery cradle, decorated in bright colors, holding a swaddled baby created from stone or earthenware.

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