Best Seats in the House Often Wing, Easy Chairs


Even in the 18th century, the elderly usually had the most comfortable chair in the house.

The wing chair or easy chair originally was used by those who were old or infirm. It was designed for comfort.

A large space was left in the lower part of the chair back and filled with horsehair, lining and feather cushions. The front of the frame between the legs also was padded. The occupant actually was seated on a fabric sling holding the softest stuffings.

The easy chair usually was kept in the bedroom, not the front parlor.

Some chairs were upholstered with elaborate needlework. Wool, linen and patterned damask were used. Early listings of chairs mention woven fabrics such as harrateen and moreen.

Question: Can you tell me anything about my seven-piece washstand set? There's a wash basin, large and small pitcher, soap dish and cover, brush vase and shaving mug.

The pieces are white with pink and yellow roses and gold trim. There's a picture of a buffalo on the bottom of each piece, plus the words "Buffalo Pottery" and a number.

Answer: You have part of a Buffalo Pottery toilet set made sometime between 1905 and 1918. The number on the bottom is the year it was made.

Buffalo Pottery was founded in 1901 by the Larkin Soap Co. of Buffalo, N.Y. The firm made various dishes that could be given to customers in exchange for Larkin soap certificates.

Original toilet sets were made with nine or 11 pieces. You are missing the chamber pot and cover from the nine-piece set. The 11-piece set included a slop jar and cover.

Your seven-piece set is valued at $650.

Q: I have an old cigarette lighter made of brass and covered with leather. On the bottom of the lighter are the words "Douglass Lighter Co., Pat. Oct. 12, 1926." Can you tell me anything about the company or the lighter?

A: The Douglass Lighter Co. made high-quality lighters in Menlo Park, Calif., during the 1920s. Douglass lighters ranged from common and inexpensive to elegant and expensive.

The cases came in sterling silver, silver plate, gold plate, 14K gold-filled, nickel plate, nickel or chromium-plated brass. Many of them had leather-covered cases.

The Douglass design for a semiautomatic swing arm makes the lighters favorites with collectors. A button on the lighter presses a heavy spring that flips the snuffer arm back, creating a spark.

Your lighter is worth about $50.

Q: When did women first wear charm bracelets? I have one from the 1950s that I've begun wearing again.

A: Gold, silver and less-expensive-metal charm bracelets were introduced in the late 1800s.

Victorian women collected heart-shaped charms from their beaus and wore the charms on a bracelet. By 1900, charms included many shapes, including shamrocks, bells, thimbles, religious symbols, club symbols, scissors, rings and animals.

There was a resurgence of interest during the 1930s. In the 1950s, charm bracelets could be purchased assembled.

In the 1980s, collectors started shopping for vintage bracelets--whether the vintage was 19th or 20th century.

Q: A few weeks ago, I came across a golf club that belonged to my deceased husband. It's a left-handed putter, perhaps 20 or 30 years old and marked "Anser 3--Ping, Karsten Mfg. Corp., Box 8990, Phoenix, AZ 35066."

I took it to a golf shop to have it re-gripped. The man at the shop refused to re-grip it because it is a collectible. He offered me $300 for the club. I asked a golf pro about the putter, and he said it could be worth a lot more. What gives?

A: The Ping Anser putter was introduced in the early 1960s by Karsten Solheim, an engineer with General Electric who designed putters in his garage. When his Ping Anser putter became a hit, Solheim left GE and founded Karsten Manufacturing Corp. in 1967.

Karsten made only putters for a short time and then expanded his line to irons and woods.

The company has become a major manufacturer of golf clubs.

The original Ping Anser putters from the '60s have become collectors' items. The $300 offer sounds more than fair, but ask the golf pro for leads to other prospective buyers.

If you wish other information about antiques, include a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) envelope, and the Kovels will send you a listing of helpful books and publications. Write to the Kovels, the Los Angeles Times, King Features Syndicate, 235 E. 45th St., New York, NY 10017.


Current Prices

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

* Woodstock Music & Art Fair ticket, 1969, covers three days, green with black lettering, red accents, 2x6 inches: $50.

* Holland America Cruises stuffed rag doll, sailor in navy-blue uniform, cherub face, white hat, advertising cap, 1950s, 11 inches: $65.

* Creeple Peeple Thingmaker set, Mattel, 1965, box, 13x15x4 inches: $90.

* Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer, green porcelain, chrome top and container, 1940s: $125.

* Lady's mouton coat, dyed black, striped satin lining, fair labor standards compliance label, 1950, small: $225.

* Ken-L-Ration door push, navy ground, yellow dog, white and yellow lettering, 1950s: $490.

* Tiffany bronze dore Venetian inkstand, squared holder, hinged cover, glass inkwell, ermine border, impressed "Tiffany Studios New York 1200," 2 5/8x3x3 inches: $585.

* Anderson, Solomon wraparound hammer, S. New Berlin, patented 1845, 11 inches: $695.

* George Ohr pottery, bottle-shaped vase, satin glaze, mottled raspberry, purple, cobalt and green, shallow ring, stamped, 10 x 4 inches: $2,500.

* Limbert double-door bookcase, No. 358, overhanging top and backsplash, long corbels, two long vertical panes, paper label, on casters, 59 x 48 x 14 inches: $3,500.

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