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Q & A with Harry Rinker: Pink Pedal Jeep, Cinderella Stamps, Cast Iron Stove

by Harry Rinker (04/19/10).

QUESTION: I own a Hamilton Jeep pedal car that is pink in color and may have had a surrey top. There are pink and white alternating stripes in the cargo area and on the doors. It has no rust or dents. The pedals and connecting parts are in excellent working order, as are the wheels and tires. The paint is still shiny. I would like to know its value.

– RW, St. Johns, Mich., via e-mail

Harry RinkerANSWER: Hamilton Steel Products of Chicago manufactured a line of pedal Jeeps during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1958, the company issued a Jeep Surrey Gala, also known as the Princess model. A version of the Jeep Surrey Gala appeared in a 1964 Hamilton catalog, but the striping on the doors was gone.

Pedal car collectors want the cars in their collections to appear as though they just came off the assembly line. Like antique and classic car collectors, pedal cars need to be “show quality” to achieve maximum value.

A pedal car collector is not going to pay a great deal for your car. First, it has restoration needs, the cost of which remains to be determined. Second, it is missing the surrey top. If period fabric cannot be found in the exact pattern, the collector will have to reproduce it. The cost may be more than the restored pedal car is worth.

A restored Hamilton Jeep Surrey has a value between $250 and $275. Take any offer above $35 for your example.

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QUESTION: During the 1990s while temporarily working at a government facility in Alamogordo (known as White Sands), New Mexico, I stopped by the United States Post Office. Being a secure facility, only trusted individuals were allowed on the base. After mailing my letter, I noticed a box containing sheets of stamps commemorating the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan on sale for $1 each. When I asked the postal worker why so cheap, he told me they were not official U.S. Postal stamps. He said President Clinton cancelled the stamp issue.

However, some sheets without the postage amount were printed. I had 10 dollars in my pocket so I bought 10 sheets. When I returned the next day, the box was empty. The postal worker claimed only the Postal Service had these sheets for sale. Each sheet contains 42 (7 rows x 6 rows) “Atomic bombs and WWII” stamps beneath which is printed: “History Denied: Since 1893, the U. S. Postal Service has been designing and issuing stamps to commemorate significant events, places and people in American history. After protests from Japanese government officials and intervention by President Clinton, the Postal Service reluctantly rescinded a planned stamp commemorating the swift conclusion of WWII through the use of atomic bombs. This is the only commemorative stamp ever rescinded by the U.S. Postal Service. Ironically, the announcement was made public by the White House on December 7, 1994, exactly 53 years to the day after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. This commemorative poster stamp was created in place of the cancelled stamp to honor the sacrifices made by a generation of Americans / Mid Coast Marketing / 1620 E. Broad Street, #106 / Columbus, Ohio 43203 / © Newhouse/Kaplan / 1995 / 614-253-1946.” Do my sheets have any worth?

– FL, Modesto, Ca., via e-mail

ANSWER: The information provided to you by the postal worker was not entirely correct. On December 3, 1994, Japanese officials did “sharply criticize” plans by the United State Postal Service to issue a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. The stamp was slated to be issued in September 1995. A postal service representative stated: “Our purpose is to provide a comprehensive history of the events of World War II, and we are not making a value judgment on any of those events . . . With regard to the specific stamp in question, we would be remiss in omitting such a watershed and historically critical event as the use of the atomic bomb.” (New York Times, December 4, 1994). Although the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee had approved the stamp issue, President Clinton did cancel it. The stamp contained a picture of the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and the caption “Atomic bombs hasten war’s end, August 1945.” The stamp was replaced by one picturing President Truman announcing the end of the war.

Five private companies issued non-denominational stamps employing a mushroom cloud design as a form of protest against President Clinton’s decision. Previously, the United Nations, Mexico, Nicaragua, Upper Volta and several private issuers printed stamps featuring the mushroom cloud.

You own a Cinderella stamp; an object that resembles a postage stamp but is not intended for use by a government postal administration. Christmas seals and Easter seals are examples of Cinderella stamps. Other types include advertising stamps, amusement stamps, local stamps, propaganda stamps, some railway stamps, telegraph stamps and some revenue stamps. Cinderella stamps are identified by their lack of postage, name of issuing country, and non-standard sheet count.

Cinderella stamp collecting clubs exist in Australia and the United Kingdom. Information about Cinderella stamps occasionally appears in the back of stamp catalogs. While some are rare, atomic bomb Cinderella stamps are common. By 1994, philatelic collectors aware of long-term value bought and hoarded blocks of these stamps. Most dealers break the sheets apart and price the individual stamps between 25¢ to $2. Few sell. Realistically, your sheets are in the $8 to $10 range—not a bad return for a one-dollar investment.

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QUESTION: My wife and I are in the process of cleaning out the home into which her grandmother moved when she was married in 1929. A Cribben & Sexton wood-burning cooking and heating stove is among the objects in the cellar. The stove has seven locations for cooking plus an oven compartment attached to it. What is its value?

– NJ, New Rochelle, Ill., via e-mail

ANSWER: Captain Henry Cribben (1834-1933), a member of the 140th Regiment of New York Volunteers in the Civil War, and Colonel James Andrew Sexton (1844-1899), a descendent of President Andrew Jackson and Civil War veteran who had served in several Civil War Illinois regiments, founded a company in the early 1870s that evolved into the Cribben & Sexton Stove Company of Chicago.

In the 1920s, the company was located at 700 North Sacramento Boulevard. In 1923, the company was listed as a manufacturer of gas ranges, combination coal and gas ranges, coal ranges, wood ranges, coal heaters, wood heaters and warm air furnaces. The company ceased making gas stoves in 1962.

Since no picture accompanied your e-mail, I am assuming that you own a typical wood-burning kitchen stove. How much enamel and chrome, if any, the stove contains is the key to determining value.

Ask A WorthologistI found a Craigslist offering for a 1918 Cribben & Sexton cook stove that worked with wood or gas having a cast iron body and enamel doors trimmed with chrome. The seller noted in the listing that replicas currently sell in the $4,800 to $6,000 range. Using a cheaper-than-new approach to arrive at an asking price is a viable option. However, a new range used would sell for only a quarter to one-third of its initial cost on the secondary market. Hence, the asking price for an older used example should be half this discounted price and not the initial retail price, somewhere in the $1,000 to $1,500 range. Further, any buyer must calculate the reconditioning and hauling costs and deduct these to determine what he would be willing to pay.

No one collects old wood-burning kitchen stoves. Value rests with someone who wants it for reuse. The most obvious buyer is someone who has a cabin in the woods with limited or no utilities. A person restoring a late 19th- or early-20th century home is another possible buyer, but a long-shot.

You have two choices. The first is to leave the stove where it is and include it in the sale of the house. Think carefully before deciding against this option. The second is to remove it from the cellar and take it to a place where you can restore it before selling. Do you want to incur the time and cost?

The stove has no value to you. Hence, any money you receive is found money. $250 should sell it quickly. It will be a tougher sell at $500, but you should be able to do it. If you try for $750, you’re pushing it, but . . . maybe. Asking and obtaining $1,000 would fall in the miracle class.

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QUESTION: I have a colorful, child’s watercolor paint kit made by “Page of London.” The tin, which measures 16 inches by ½ inch by 6 inches has a cover featuring a cartoon picture of hunters walking through a jungle in which a snake, lion, monkeys and two toucans live. The box contains little square cakes of colors. I suspect it dates from the 1970s. Is its value primarily decorative or does it also have collector value?

– CE, Allentown, Pa., via e-mail

ANSWER: If there are collectors of child’s paint kits, I have not met any of them. They must exist, albeit their number has to be incredibly small, 25 or fewer.

I found several other Page paint kits listed for sale on the Internet. Your kit is medium size. One example was twice the size. All had colorful covers. I especially liked a harbor scene which featured a dock scene of a passenger ship and numerous vehicles including a train and a truck.

Prices for these kits were ambitious—$12 for medium size kits and $20 for a large example. The sellers clearly priced the kits for their decorative, rather than collector value. A far more realistic value for your medium kit is between $4 and $6.

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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 Harry’s antiques-and-collectibles radio call-in show “Whatcha Got?” on Sunday mornings between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Eastern Time. It streams live 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 queries 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, 22 Stillwater Circle, Brookfield, CT 06804. You 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. 2010

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