Q & A with Harry Rinker: Candy Dish, FADA Radio, KKK Book

QUESTION: My grandmother bought a candy dish during her honeymoon trip to Washington, D.C. from her home in North Carolina sometime around 1910. She could not have paid more than 50 cents for it. After poking around on eBay and the Internet, I identified the glass type as opalescent blue pressed glass. It is in beautiful condition with French opal frosting at the top fading to a clear, translucent blue glass at the bottom. The top edge of the round bowl is scalloped. There is a single handle. The pattern in the bottom appears to be a swirl of six fern fronds. The pressing lines indicate a four piece mold. Our family has a bad habit of burning down houses, so this is one of the few items that remains from my grandmother. Can you identify the pattern, maker and value?

– JC, New York, NY, via e-mail

ANSWER: I forwarded the photographs that accompanied your e-mail to Debbie and Randy Coe, authors of “Elegant Glass: Early, Depression, and Beyond, 3rd Edition” (Schiffer Publishing, 2007; coesmercantile.com) and among the best glass pattern identifiers I know. Your bonbon or nappy (candy dish works as well) is Jefferson Glass Company’s Pattern #192, known to collectors as Sea Spray, and was made between 1906 and 1907. The piece is found in three colors—blue, green, and white.

harry-rinker1Harry Barstow, Grant Fish, George Mortimer and J. D. Sinclair founded Jefferson Glass, located in Steubenville, Ohio, around 1900. Steubenville is the county seat of Jefferson County, hence the firm’s name.

Jefferson Glass produced fancy tableware, e.g., vases, and plain and decorated novelties, many of which were made in opalescent glass. Jefferson Glass remained in Steubenville until 1906, at which time it moved to Follansbee, W.V. Imperial Glass leased its former Steubenville plant. The Follansbee site produced non-opalescent glass and remained in operation until 1933.

A link existed between Jefferson Glass and Northwood. William Heacock, a leading glass researcher focusing on late 19th- and early 20th-century glassware, revealed Jefferson Glass sold a few of its opalescent molds to Northwood. Heacock’s “Collecting Glass, Volume 3” states: “George Mortimer, a prime force in the establishment of the Jefferson factory, went to work for Northwood in 1905, which may be why Northwood copied some fast-selling Jefferson designs.” With these few exceptions, most of Jefferson Glass’s opalescent molds vanished following the move to Follansbee.

Debby and Randy also noted that some collectors confuse Jefferson Glass’s Sea Spray pattern with the S-Repeat pattern. “We don’t feel that it is close to it. The piece shows the beading below the pattern and this is different than the S-Repeat … the pattern really looks like ocean waves as they are breaking on the beach.”

While many glass patterns included numerous forms, often enough to set a complete table, Sea Spray was only available as a bonbon/nappy. As a result, it has more appeal to opalescent rather than pattern glass collectors.

When I assumed the editorship of “Warman’s Antiques and Their Prices” in the early 1980s, opalescent and pattern glass were hot collecting categories. This is no longer true. Many glass collecting categories fell upon hard times after the dawn of the twenty-first century. Pattern and opalescent glass are on the list.

Your bonbon/nappy is more than 100 years old. If age determined value, its value would be high. Alas, age is now a minor value consideration and often discounted completely. The buyer is the key. If there is no buyer, there is no value.

Your Jefferson Glass Sea Spray bonbon/nappy has a secondary market value of between $30 and $45, down more than fifty percent from what it was worth 10 years ago. Its value derives from its conversation/decorative potential as opposed to its collector interest.

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QUESTION: I own a FADA Model 605W radio. It works. What can you tell me about it?

– C, Reading, PA

ANSWER: FADA, because several of its radios were housed in Modernist design catalin cases, is a magic name among radio collectors. Although your Model 605W has a plastic case, it is not catalin.

Frank Angelo D’Andrea (1888-1965) founded FADA. As a youth, he worked for Frederick Pierce Company, a firm that helped inventors develop working models of their inventions. Frank D’Andrea left Frederick Piece and founded FADA (his initials) to produce crystal detectors for radios. D’Andrea’s company was operating in three different locations on Jerome Street in the Bronx, New York, by 1921.

FADA began manufacturing radios in 1923. FADA had a stormy employer-employee relationship, and 500 of the 600 works went on strike in 1926. Lewis Clement, FADA’s chief engineer, left in 1927 for a better offer, as did Dick Klein, second in command. A group of Boston businessmen purchased the company in 1932, filing for bankruptcy in 1934.

A group headed by Jacob M. Marks bought the company and renamed it Fada Radio and & Electric Company. It remained in operation until 1955.

An advertisement in the August 1946 issue of “Radio News” pictures FADA models 605W, 1000 (the famous bullet case), and 1001. The Model 605W is listed as having five tubes.

Had your FADA Model 605W not worked, it would have little to no value. A dealer who restores radios might pay $5 to $10 for parts salvage. Even in working condition, the value is low, i.e., between $50 and $60. Collector interest in the common radios of the 1920s through the 1950s is fading. The collecting community is graying, i.e., collectors are getting older and not being replaced by younger collectors. If you are thinking of selling your radio, the longer you wait, the less you will receive.

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QUESTION: I have a copy of “The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy, 2nd Edition.” What is its value?

– CB, via e-mail

ANSWER: Bishop Alma Bridwell White authored “The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy,” a 144-page book, in 1925. White was the founder of the Pillar of Fire Church and author of more than 35 books. The Reverend Branford Clarke provided the illustrations. Arthur H. Bell, the Grand Dragon of the New Jersey Ku Klux Klan, wrote the introduction.

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“The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy” was a compilation of articles written by White for “The Good Citizen,” the Klan’s political periodical. The book’s primary focus was a violent diatribe against the Catholic Church. In addition, it promoted anti-Semitism, white supremacy and women’s equality.

“The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy” enjoyed numerous editions and printings. It is still in print. Apparently, it is very popular in India. Unfortunately, your e-mail provides only a minimum of information. Go to abebooks.com or bookfinder.com and research the printing you have. If you are fortunate enough to have a first or very early printing of the second edition in very good or better condition, your book can be worth between $75 and $100.

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QUESTION: You write that most 78 rpm record albums are not worth much. There must be exceptions, and I hope I might have one. Attached to my e-mail is a picture of the RCA Victor record album cover for Robert Merrill’s Brooklyn Baseball Cantata, with music by George Kleinsinger with words by Michael Stratton. The piece was composed in 1937 but not recorded until 1948. There are two 78 rpm records in the album. Play time is approximately 12 minutes. What is its value?

– LE, Reading, PA, via e-mail

ANSWER: Robert Merrill, one of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading 20th-century baritones, was an ardent baseball fan. In fact, he died in his chair listening to a World Series game.

Although best known for the playing of his recording of the national anthem at Yankee Stadium, especially on opening day, Robert Merrill recorded the “Brooklyn Baseball Cantata” about a legendary World Series game between the Brooklyn Dodgers—“dem Bums” —and the New York Yankees. The 12-minute cantata is somewhat disjointed. A disgruntled umpire takes out the frustrations of his own failed baseball career on the players. The game seesaws back and forth. A Cookie Lavagetto-pinch-hit homerun wins the game. Alas, it is all a dream. The cantata ends with a “wait until next year” theme.

“The Brooklyn Baseball Cantata” faded from the scene before the runner reached first base, albeit it often is include on Robert Merrill greatest hits albums. “The Brooklyn Baseball Cantata” was one of several Dodgers’ songs recorded in 1948-1949, including Negro bandleader Buddy Johnson’s “Did You see Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?”

George Kleinsinger (1914-1982) is far better known as the co-author, along with Paul Tripp, of “Tubby the Tuba” and the numerous musical scores that supported the book. Kleinsinger’s “Brooklyn Baseball Cantata” is a mere footnote.

Copies of the RCA “Brooklyn Baseball Cantata” are readily available. The album sells for between $15 and $20 in the general marketplace. Collectors of Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia pay a bit more.

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Rinker Enterprises and Harry L. Rinker are on the Internet. Check out his Web site.

You can listen and participate in “WHATCHA GOT?,” Harry’s antiques-and-collectibles radio call-in show on Sunday mornings between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Eastern Time. It streams live on http://www.gcnlive.com on the Genesis Communications Network.

“SELL, KEEP OR TOSS? HOW TO DOWNSIZE A HOME, SETTLE AN ESTATE, AND APPRAISE PERSONAL PROPERTY” (House of Collectibles, an imprint of the Random House Information Group), Harry’s latest book, is available at your favorite bookstore and via Harry’s Web site: http://www.harryrinker.com

Harry L. Rinker welcomes questions from readers about collectibles, those mass-produced items from the 20th century. Selected letters will be answered on this site. Harry cannot provide personal answers. Photos and other material submitted cannot be returned. Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5093 Vera Cruz Road, Emmaus, PA 18049. You also can e-mail your questions to harrylrinker@aol.com. Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered. Please indicate that these are questions for WorthPoint.

Copyright © Rinker Enterprises, Inc. 2009

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