The federal government has strict rules about toys with tin parts that could cut a child, one reason so many modern toys have plastic parts. Many toy collectors prefer the old tin toys, especially those that move.
Most of the tin windup toys were made from the 1920s to the '50s.
One popular toy made by the Louis Marx Co. and the Wolverine Co. is a military-band drummer. The lithographed tin is shaped and colored to depict a man with a huge hat and a red jacket. After you wind up the toy, the drummer's arms move as he beats the drum. The toy's noise and realistic drumming action has always made it popular with children.
Question At a small antiques store in my town I found a wooden box-shaped purse decorated with a bejeweled painting of a bird and sun. The word "roadrunner" is written in script in the bottom left corner. In the bottom right corner is a copyright symbol under the initials "ec." Can you tell me about it?
Answer Your purse is one of many colorfully decorated wood or linen handbags designed by Enid Collins of Medina, Texas, during the 1950s and '60s.
Enid and her husband, Frederic, named their company "Collins of Texas." The company's silk-screened and sometimes hand-painted bags were decorated with cording, glass jewels and leather trim and handles. They were sold all over the country at high-end boutiques and department stores.
The bags are not well-known in the collecting world. Their prices are not high, at least not yet.
Q I have just started shopping at house sales and flea markets. I paid $20 for an old plate decorated with a picture in the center of a woman driving a car and a calendar of each month in 1908 around the edge. The name of a department store is under the center picture. Are you familiar with this type of plate? Were many made?
A You purchased a "calendar plate," and you did well. The plate you describe often sells for about $35.
From about 1905 through the 1930s, many retailers gave calendar plates to their customers as Christmas gifts. Almost all the plates were decal-decorated by firms that bought seconds and overruns from china and pottery companies.
Q What is the best way to store my massive LP collection? Should I store it in my attic or basement?
A Store your long-playing record albums, or any other records, standing up. Do not lay them flat.
Store them in a room of moderate temperature and humidity. Most attics are too hot for records, and most basements are too humid.
LPs should be stored in their protective sleeves inside their album covers. For ultimate protection, store each album cover in a plastic slipcover. Music stores sell such slipcovers.
Q I inherited a white glass gas pump globe in the shape of a crown. The word "Solite" is cast around the base of the crown. How old is it? How much is it worth?
A Your gas pump globe, which dates from 1926 to 1932, was originally painted with blue details that have faded. The brand name "Solite" was used by the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana.
A Solite globe with painted details is valued at $650 to $1,000. Yours probably would sell for $300 to $500.
Q My mother's toaster is decorated with a blue willow pattern ceramic. It is marked on the bottom "110 volts, 500 watts, Toastrite, The Pan Electric Mfg. Co., Cleveland, Ohio." It still works. What is it worth?
A Your toaster was made in the 1930s. Collectors of blue willow patterns or toasters would pay at least $150 for it.
Q I just bought a small rustic house in Southern California. Someone told me I should furnish it with "Monterey" furniture. Is that a style, a company or a generic name? What does the furniture look like?
A Monterey furniture is a rustic furniture style produced from 1929 to 1943 by the Mason Manufacturing Co. of Los Angeles.
The furniture, made from Oregon alder wood, was sold in department stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Miami. Mason made Monterey bedroom and dining room sets, end and coffee tables, desks, bars and bar stools, upholstered sofas and chairs, lamps and novelties.
Early pieces were treated to look dark and old. They had heavy, visible iron hinges or straps.
The company later used an orange stain and other "California palette colors" such as deep red, olive green and a dark yellow called "desert dust."
For a copy of the Kovels' 1998 leaflet listing 153 books and pamphlets that are price guides for all kinds of collectibles and antiques, send $2 and a self-addressed, stamped (55 cents) No. 10 envelope to: Price Guides for Antiques and Collectibles, Kovels, P.O. Box 22900, Beachwood, Ohio 44122.
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.
* Ken Maynard story record, red plastic, premium from radio program, 1940s, 8 inches: $25.
* Anvil, "Compliments of John Fink Metal Works, San Francisco & Seattle, Washington," 4 inches: $50.
* Cigar cutter souvenir Pan Am 1901, pocket: $70.
* Stanley beading tool, No. 166, with guides and eight blades: $175.
* Mary Gregory vase, black amethyst, young boy with ball on string, white enamel, 8 1/4 inches: $245.
* Bobbing-head doll, Detroit Tigers, tiger head with white base, 1960s: $295.
* Madame Alexander Madelaine doll, vinyl head, blue sleep eyes, brush lashes, open mouth, brown wig, 11-piece plastic body, 1953, 17 1/2 inches: $650.