Q & A with Harry Rinker: Silver-Plated Furness Bermuda Shaker

I have a silver-plated salt or pepper shaker from the Furness Bermuda line. It measures approximately 3 1/2 inch high. The bottom is marked “Triple deposit, Mappin & Webb, Prince’s Plate, London & Sheffield C60/28.” The hallmark is an “m” inside a shield. What is its value?

QUESTION: I have a silver-plated salt or pepper shaker from the Furness Bermuda line. It measures approximately 3 1/2 inch high. The bottom is marked “Triple deposit, Mappin & Webb, Prince’s Plate, London & Sheffield C60/28.” The hallmark is an “m” inside a shield. What is its value?

– K.J., Bozeman, Mont.

ANSWER: In 1874, the Bermuda government granted the Quebec Steamship Company a contract to carry mail, merchandise and passengers thrice weekly between New York City and Bermuda. In 1919, Furness Withy assumed control of the passenger service. Within a year, Furness Withy’s Furness Bermuda Line transported close to 22,000 passengers from New York City to Bermuda, fueled in part by the availability of alcohol on the island during America’s Prohibition.

In order to entice passengers to Bermuda, Furness Withy built the Bermudiana, Castle Harbor, and St. George hotels and the Mid-Ocean Golf Club. The travel time was approximately 40 hours in each direction, making the cruise a popular honeymoon destination.

Initially, the Furness Bermuda Line used the ships Fort Hamilton, Fort St. George and Fort Victoria. In 1927, the Bermuda replaced the Fort Hamilton. The Bermuda caught fire in 1931. The Queen of Bermuda, built by England’s Vickers-Armstrong, replaced her in 1933. The Monarch of Bermuda, also built by Vickers-Armstrong, replaced the Fort Hamilton, which sank in a collision in New York harbor. The Monarch of Bermuda and the Queen of Bermuda had three funnels and were among the most elegant ships of their time.

In 1940, the Monarch of Bermuda transported a portion of the British gold reserves from England to Canada. During the remainder of Second World War, it became a troopship. The Queen of Bermuda became an armed merchant cruiser. While being re-fitted for commercial service in 1947, the Monarch of Bermuda caught fire. As the New Australia andm later the Arkadia, the ship served the British government as an immigrant liner until it was scrapped in 1966.

The Ocean Monarch joined the Furness Bermuda Line service in 1951. Along with the Queen of Bermuda, the ships continued to provide service to Bermuda, Port Everglades, and the West Indies. Furness Withy ended its passenger service in 1966.

The Mappin family began its career in the British silver industry as engravers in Fargate, Sheffield, England. The firm became Mappin Brothers in 1846. When John Newton Mappin left in 1863, he named his new firm Mappin & Webb to avoid confusion with the family firm. In 1902, Mappin & Webb absorbed Mappin Brothers. In 1963, Mappin & Webb became part of British Silverware, Ltd.

Although small in number, there is a dedicated group of ocean liner collectors. When great ships are scrapped, their furnishings and appointments often are sold at auction. Many of the great cruise liners featured English-made products. Royal Doulton made the Furness Bermuda Line’s dinnerware service. Replacements, Ltd. keeps a number of pieces in stock, a testament to the dinnerware’s appealing pattern.

In addition to auction, many ocean liner collectibles are acquired by the “sticky finger” method. An example just happens to find its way into a woman’s pocketbook or a man’s coat pocket shortly after coffee and dessert are served. Not all travel souvenirs are purchased from cruise liner gift shops or local merchants.

Your salt/pepper shaker is plated, hence it has no melt value. You also own only one of the pair, another value deterrent. Finally, those who remember traveling on the Furness Bermuda Line are either asleep in the deep or at an age when they are selling rather than acquiring objects.

Your shaker is worth between $15 and $20. If you decide to sell it on eBay and are lucky enough to find two individuals who “must have it,” the final selling price may exceed these numbers. However, do not hold your breath.

QUESTION: I have a Speas U-Savit one gallon ginger jar with alternating clear and pebbled panels. It sat for years on the top shelf of my grandmother’s kitchen. The writing on the bottom reads: “SPEAS MFG CO / 7(1)6 (the “1” is in an oval/diamond symbol) / U-SAVIT / JAR / TRADEMARK / 13 / REGISTERED U.S. PATENT OFFICE.” On the side of the jar near the bottom edge is “C554 / ONE GALLON.” What is this worth?

– P.R., via e-mail 0

ANSWER: John Wesley Speas (Oct. 18, 1861 to June 13, 1909), E. L. Marin, and Patrick Walsh bought the Monarch Vinegar Works in Kansas City, Mo., in 1888 and renamed it the Speas Vinegar Company. Victor Speas, John Wesley’s son, assumed control of the company upon his father’s death, and grew the company. In 1929, Speas merged with O. L. Gregory, another vinegar manufacturer. At one point, Speas was the largest manufacturer of vinegar in the United States.

Speas U-Savit jars are quite popular among bottle collectors. The jar came in three sizes—pint, quart, and gallon. The quart size is most common. Examples appear regularly on eBay. The average asking price for a gallon jar is $40. However, there is little sell through at that price. A more realistic value for your gallon jar is around $25.

Reproduction Alert: The pint-size Speas U-Savit jar has been copied. The basic rules to separate the copies from the period jars apply to authenticating most glass objects. First, the copy is not the same size. In this instance, the copy is ½-inch higher (copycats and fakes often vary in size, either too tall or too short). Second, the glass in the base of the copy is thicker (copycats and fakes often have thicker glass bodies and/or bases, thus making them feel heavier than the period pieces). Third, the stippled panels do not extend as high on the copy as the period piece (copycats and fakes often lack the detail, especially depth and quality of pattern, as the period piece). Fourth, the heel of the copy fails to have the “ONE PINT” mark found on the period jar (copycats and fakes often forget to include key information). Fifth, the text on the bottom is larger than on the period piece (copycats and fakes have slight alterations that allow them to avoid copyright infringement issues).

QUESTION: I have a 10-volume set of children’s books entitled “Through Golden Windows.” Does it have any value?

– M, Roswell, N.M.

ANSWER: Grolier, an educational publishing company, issued its “Through Golden Windows” children’s book series in 1958.

Walter M. Jackson (1863-1923) founded Grolier, Inc., after a failed attempt to gain control over the Encyclopedia Britannica. Initially, the company specialized in printing high-quality editions of literary classics. In 1910, Grolier issued “The Book of Knowledge.” It is best known for its Encyclopedia Americana, first published in 1945.

The 10 volumes in “Through Golden Windows” contained easy-to-read compilations and excerpts from literature focused on the juvenile market. An advertisement for the series noted the literature choices as “not too large and not too small, not too easy and not too difficult, but ‘just right…’” The 10 titles in the series are: “Mostly Magic,” “Fun and Fantasy,” “Wonderful Things Happen,” “Adventures Here and There,” “Good Times Together,” “Children Everywhere,” “Stories of Early America,” “American Backgrounds,” “Wide Wonderful World” and “Man and His World.” “American Backgrounds” includes stories by Stephen Vincent Benet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Abraham Lincoln, Carl Sandburg and Booker T. Washington.

Sets appear regularly on a wide variety of internet auction/direct sale websites—AbeBooks, Amazon, eBay, and Esty. Asking price for the full set ranges from $50.00 to $75.00. Individual volumes list between $3 and $15, the cheaper prices easily found through comparison shopping.

The “Through Golden Windows” set’s value is reuse. The set has no collector value. Buyers appear to be adults who read the books as children or those looking for an inexpensive way to introduce their children to good literature. A realistic resale value for the series is between $20 and $30.00.

QUESTION: I have a 1950s Belmont Industries of Chicago Christmas tree flocking kit. It consists of a three-ounce can of glue and a spray of flocking material. The packaging suggests there is enough material to flock a three-foot-high tree. What is its value?

– R, Janesville, Wis.

ANSWER: Your question raised some wonderful memories of Christmas past. Although my parents did not utilize flocking kits, several of my aunts and uncles did.

It still is possible to buy spray cans of commercial flocking snow, although the market appears to be decorators not home consumers. Craft-Master Sno Flok was a 1950s/1960s popular brand. The kit’s sprayer appears to work by attaching it to the handle of a portable vacuum cleaner.

The asking price for 1950s/1960s flocking kits ranges from $25 to $50, the value heavily dependent on completeness and box graphics. Obviously, none of the kits remain usable at this point in time.

Rinker Enterprises and Harry L. Rinker are on the Internet. Check out Harry’s 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.

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. Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5955 Mill Pond Court SE, Kentwood, MI 49512. 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.

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