Question: I have a brass teakettle with a whistle. The kettle itself is beautifully decorated with colorful birds. It's been in the family a long time, and I know it's more than half a century old. If I wanted to place a value on it, what would it be?--E.D.
Answer: In fine condition, your kettle should be worth at least $50 or more, according to a couple of dealers with whom we talked. That, of course, doesn't mean you still can't use it if it's kept in good condition.
In recent years, there has been enormous interest in the genre of kitchen collectibles, the category your kettle is in. This is partly due to accelerating demand for items that have nostalgic value. Moreover, the kitchen is an ideal area of the home in which to display collectibles and, at the same time, enjoy them in day-to-day practical use.
Kitchen items produced during the first half of this century are increasingly being scooped up at flea markets and antique shops. Many of these items were handmade, which tends to enhance value.
This is another area of interest for collectors on a budget. Items such as apple peelers, rolling pins and pastry cutters, even if they're decades old, can still be purchased for relatively small sums.
Olympic pin hunters worldwide keep looking for additions to their collections. A major information source: the Bill Nelson Newsletter, P.O. Box 41630, Tucson, Ariz. 85717.
Nelson's eight-page "Special 1988 Summer Games Issue" is full of interesting material relating to the Seoul games. For example, it notes that the official licensee for the Games created seven Korean folk-theme pins, which Nelson is selling for $49 a set. And Nelson has a set of six U. S. Olympic Committee pins, which he sells for $26.
R. M. of Diamond Bar responded to a recent column on collecting casino chips. A reader was interested in locating a club specializing in such items.
"I would like to inform you that an organization has been formed that seems to be exactly what the reader wanted," he says. The group is called the Casino Chips & Gaming Token Club, P.O. Box 63, Brick, N.J. 08723.
Additionally, he says, the club publishes a newsletter that contains a members' auction section.