Top 10 Worthopedia Searches for September, 2010

It’s well past time to take a look at the items that were the most search through the WorthPoint Worthopedia during the month of September 2010.

Schuetzen Rifle

Schuetzen Rifle: The Schuetzen was an intricate, Germanic one-shot target rifle that generally covers a period from the early 1800s until around the end of Second World War. Many were brought back to the States by soldiers coming home from WWII. These rifles were used at Schuetzenfests, which turned into popular festivals where people would gather for the shooting contests that would test participants’ marksmanship. The making of these rifles tended to follow German immigrants as they migrated to other continents and their customs and crafts would follow them. Thus, you can find Schuetzen variations, for example, that were made in North America. All of these rifles are sought after and collectible and have value. More recently, more sophisticated accoutrements were added to the rifle separately, and those components can be disassembled and valued separately from the rifle. WorthPoint has many of these rifles on our site, as well as books that were written about the rifles. The rifles I looked at ranged from $600 to $7,000. Many were sold by Cowen’s Auctions, which is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wes Cowen, the owner, has written many articles on antiques and militaria and perhaps we can get him to do write an article on these rifles.

Century by Salem 23-Karat Gold China

Century by Salem 23-Karat Gold China: I was intrigued by this item, as I admittedly do not have a very deep knowledge of china and porcelain. But when I started researching Salem Century, I was staggered by the amount made. There is a very good Web site that has an overview on this American maker. Apparently, it started in the late 1800s and quickly built the plant to a capacity of 15 million items. It was well known for some leading designs, but also mass produced china. Century was a line and that featured 23-karat gilt on some of the lines. According to Replacements.com, the plant was ultimately destroyed by fire in modern times. This is a very prolific maker and the higher values will be for the scarcer designs.

Falkland Islands 25-Pound Silver Coin

Falkland Islands 25-Pound Silver Coin: I had no idea one of these was made, let alone in the Falkland Islands, which are famous for the dispute between the British and Argentineans over their possession. The Falklands are a little group of island in close proximity to the Argentina coast. The coin weighs about 130 grams, or about 4.25 ounces. It is obviously not intended for circulation, as it would rip a hole in your pocket. These coins, depending on their condition, would sell for $50-$100 and can be found in the Worthopedia. The value will fluctuate with the silver and are an oddity for the collector.

Mersman Table

Mersman Furniture: This is not an item that I must admit I did not know by name, but knew them by site! You see their Colonial Revival tables in antique malls across the country. Apparently, the company as an Indiana saw mill and diverted its efforts upstream to meet America’s 20th century furniture needs. Apparently, Mersman did a good job of it and produced more than 30 million tables. Thus it would be fair to say it mass-produced furniture and it was not an art form. At one point, the company bragged that one in 10 households had a Mersman table. I am not a fan of Colonial Revival, and it would be fair to say that the plethora of well-built and long-lasting tables has had a dampening effect on price. The company went out of business in 1995. Worthologist Fred Taylor wrote about these ubiquitous tables in “Mersman Tables: They’re Everywhere.”

Occupied Japan Figure

Occupied Japan Figures: The items from Occupied Japan will always be collectible. These were items that were made during the Allied Occupation of Japan following WWII. Japan was not considered an independent nation from the end of WWII in 1945 until 1952. Thus, items made in Japan and exported during that period are marked “Made in Occupied Japan.” Porcelain items are the most prolific, and it is figurines that are the most collectible and popular. Prices are all over the board and depend on the subject, quality, maker, size and tastes. Clearly, the better the quality, the higher the price. High quality also denotes scarcity, as most of these items were mass produced. There are more than 13,000 Occupied Japan piece in the Worthopedia. It is a good focused area to collect and some items can readily be found for $5 at yard sales and maybe as low as a dollar. For more information on these items, check out “Collecting Wares Made in Post-WWII ‘Occupied Japan’.

The Who Woodstock Contract

The Who Woodstock Contract: This is a copy of the original The Who Woodstock contract with original signatures by all four members of the band: Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon that sold for $575. Seems to have been a very good purchase and sold back in 2006. Interestingly, The Who were paid $12,500 for an hour’s work. A fortune then, and I am sure one of the higher-paid acts at Woodstock. It is a pittance at today’s rates.

Sarreguemines Pottery

Sarreguemines Pottery: Shari Hall, one of our Worthologists, wrote a great article on this pottery. Given we have 142 pages, or about 1,420 items in the Worthopedia, I am sure you can find something close to what you are trying to research. While this pottery has been made for 250 years in France, it was not mass produced like the occupied Japan items, so it has held value very well, particularly the more interesting forms. I love this Ram pitcher I saw while looking up prices and it sold on eBay for $550. Thus, the pottery is plentiful enough you may be able to find it at an upper end estate sale, so it would pay to learn the potters marks so that you can identify it and buy it for much less at a sale.

B-Uhr IWC Observer Pilot’s Watch

B-Uhr IWC Observer Pilot’s Watch: These watches were made for the German WWII Luftwaffe. This is a great example why knowledge is money. Looking at the face of this watch at a garbage sale of a WWII vet, you would have no idea that even in non-working condition, it is worth $2,300. They are scarce and went over the flyer’s clothing. They were also precision-made to work in the aircraft. A nice crossover piece for watch, aviation collectors and Militaria collectors.

Lane Mid-Century Modern Paul Eames Dresser

Lane Mid-Century Modern Paul Eames Dresser: Searching by words is only as good as the user! When I looked for Paul Eames dressers on the site, I found two. When I looked for Eames dresser on the site I found 400. Eames furniture will be a popular modern style for centuries, and with today’s depressed furniture prices it is a good deal if you have a house to put it in. The ones I looked at ranged in price from $900 to $3,500. I suspect they generally may be less expensive than three or four years ago, but if I needed a dresser I would be looking at these as an investment. But the Mid Century Modern craze has been holding steady for a while, as “Which Came First: Current Mid-Century Modern Enthusiasm or ‘Mad Men’?” will attest.

Vintage 1930s Halloween Costume featuring devils and pitchforks

Halloween Costumes and Items: I hate people who plan ahead. It is because I am incapable in doing it myself. My wife is always after me to bring the Halloween inventory out in September to sell. I am never that “together” and inevitably it waits until the eternal “next year.” These vintage items from the 1920s through the 1990s were collectively the most searched for in September. To these searchers that are that prepared, I will say, as a dealer, “See you next Year!”

Will Seippel is the president and CEO of WorthPoint. Will has been an avid collector since 1974 and dealer of just about all things—with a emphasis on ephemera—antique since 1984.

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