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Collectors thirsty for Coca

May 23, 2023

A tin sign picturing an attractive girl sold for $12,390, which is an impressive price for a portrait of a young woman from the 1910s! But if you look closer, you'll see that the woman is holding a glass marked "Coca-Cola," and the Coca-Cola logo is visible on the bottom of the frame.

It's not really a framed painting; it's a self-framed tin lithographed sign. Collectors of Coca-Cola around the world may recognize her as Elaine, the girl on the company's 1916 calendar.

Question: I hope you can identify the maker of my great-grandmother's three-piece set of teapot, sugar and creamer. She brought it from Europe when she moved to this country about 1899. It is handpainted with pink roses and green leaves and has gilt trim.

The pieces are marked "Mentone." Some are also marked "Th u E, Mr." and "Sevres, Bavaria" and others are marked "Thomas" and "Bavaria." I don't know anything about the marks or if this tea set is worth anything. Can you help?

Answer: Thomas and Paul Ens founded Thomas & Ens Porcelain Factory in Marktredwitz, Bavaria, in 1903. They used "Th u E, Mr." (German abbreviation for "Thomas and Ens, Marktredwitz") as a mark until about 1908. Ens left the company in 1907.

Thomas became an independent subsidiary of Rosenthal AG in 1908. The name "Thomas" was used in marks beginning in 1908. The word "Bavaria" without the word "Germany" indicates the mark was used no later than 1939. "Mentone" is the pattern name of a line of dinnerware made by the company, and "Sevres" is the series name. Porcelain production was moved from Marktredwitz to Speichersdorf in 1960. Thomas is still listed as one of Rosenthal's brands. Tea sets like this are inexpensive, worth about $50-$100.

Q: I found an old Addressograph in the Masonic Temple in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that's being converted into a law office. The building was completed in 1949. My inexperienced research puts this machine from approximately the 1930s. Can you give me any information about this piece and tell me where it will be appreciated?

A: Joseph S. Duncan invented the Addressograph machine in 1893. The machines were made in Chicago. Duncan patented his invention in 1896. A 1910 Addressograph catalog claimed an employee could address 3,000 envelopes an hour using the machine.

The company merged with American Multigraph in Cleveland in 1932 and became the Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation. Headquarters moved to Los Angeles in 1978, and the company name became AM International in 1979. It went bankrupt in 1982. There is not much interest in these old office machines. They are very rarely sold.

Q: What can you tell me about a bottle opener shaped like a black Labrador retriever? I think it's cast from white metal. It's 4 inches tall at the head and 5 inches long from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. The base is stamped "Scott Prod. Inc., Newark N.J., Bottle Opener." Does it have any value?

A: Scott Products was founded in 1948. The company has made over 200 different figural metal bottle openers, including dogs, horses, waterfowl and things associated with them. The figures are made of zinc and handpainted in baked enamel. This black Labrador retriever bottle opener sells online for $20 to $30 in good condition.

Q: I've tried unsuccessfully to find a home for a Story & Clark reed organ that's been handed down in my family from my great-grandmother. It was originally purchased during the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. I've tried various historical societies, and they either don't have the space or there isn't a direct tie for them to accept it. It's in excellent shape but does not play. No one in the family is interested in keeping it, so I'm considering selling it. Where should I advertise it and what value should I place on it?

A: Story & Clark Organ Co. was founded in 1884 by Hampton L. Story, a music dealer; Melville Clark, an organ builder; and Story's son, Edward. The business was sold after Clark left in 1900. A Story & Clark reed organ in playing condition sold for $100 recently. There are collectors of reed organs. Try contacting the Reed Organ Society ( to see if they have any suggestions on what to do with the organ.

TIP: Store fragile Christmas tree ornaments in plastic zip-close bags. Be sure there is some air in the bag when you zip it. This air bubble protects like bubble wrap.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer readers' questions sent to the column. Send a letter with one question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two pictures, the object and a closeup of any marks or damage. Be sure your name and return address are included. By sending a question, you give full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels Publications. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at [email protected].

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Cookie jar, Christmas tree, ceramic, white, decorated with tiny gold balls and holly boughs, gold five-point star on top, top lifts to reach inside, marked, Lenox, 12 x 7 inches, $20.

Steuben bowl, amethyst glass, flared, ribbed, folded rim and foot, polished pontil, 4 x 9 ¾ inches, $115.

Clothing, scarf, cashmere and silk, Gucci, repeating logo, gold interlocking G's, blue ground, 72 x 28 inches, $245.

Purse, flap bag, Prada, blue and black leather, two rolled handles, detachable shoulder strap, front flap closure with silver tone keyhole hardware, interior zip and slip pockets, 9 x 10 x 6 inches, $330.

Toy, trolley car, wood, tin, bench seats, old paint, front and back panels painted with "Belt Line 1492," cast-iron spoke wheels, c. 1900, 12 x 28 inches, $750.

Furniture, cupboard, American Country Empire, cherry, poplar, two sections, cove-molded top, two three-pane glass doors, base with two dovetailed drawers over two paneled doors, paneled ends, turned legs, 80 x 50 x 20 inches, $995.

Jewelry, necklace, link, sterling silver, pairs of overlapping leaves, articulated, hook clasp, Gertrude Engel Rougie for Anton Michelsen, marked "Sterling Denmark AM," 16 ¼ inches, $1,040.

Doll, Bild Lilli, plastic, synthetic blond ponytail, black cloth pants, green shirt, black shoes, O. & M. Hausser, Neustadt, Germany, 1955, 12 inches, $1,275.

Wooden box, putty painted, smeared overlapping circles and fans, dovetail construction, locking lift top, New England, c. 1815, 11 x 28 x 17 ½ inches, $1,750.

Trunk, steamer, Goyard, cloth over wood, stretched leather edges and corners, fitted metal mounts, label on side reads "Mayles Goyard, 233 Rue St Honore Paris," 1800s, 40 x 22 x 13 inches, $2,775.

Question Answer Q A Q A Q A TIP Cookie jar, Christmas tree Steuben bowl Clothing, scarf Purse, flap bag Toy, trolley car Furniture, cupboard Jewelry, necklace Doll, Bild Lilli Wooden box Trunk, steamer