IN THE 1950S, the Salvation Army thrift stores and other resale shops were filled with large glass lampshades by Tiffany, Handel, Pairpoint and others. The new designers had decreed that lamps should be small with pale silk shades.
A few smart collectors purchased the glass shades and bronze lamp bases for a few dollars each. By the 1960s, there was a resurgence of interest in Tiffany glass lamps. A book outlining the history of Tiffany made it easier for collectors to identify pieces. Prices continued rising, and by the 1970s collectors were buying glass shades produced by other makers as well.
One important company was started in the 1880s by Philip Handel in Meriden, Conn. Handel created art glass and lamps with shades made of leaded glass or reverse-painted glass. A Handel lamp is now worth thousands of dollars.
Sometimes a lucky collector will find one at a house sale at a bargain price. Look for the Handel name painted on the inside of the shade near the edge.
Dear Ralph and Terry: I have a Barbie doll with legs that bend. It is marked c 1958 on the back. Is she rare?
The bendable-leg Barbie was first made in 1965. She was marked 1958, the date the first Barbie was introduced. Barbies cannot be dated accurately from the date on the mark. For instance, the Twist 'N Turn Barbie was sold from 1967 through 1971, but her imprint reads c 1966.
Dear Ralph and Terry: A few years ago, I purchased a green glass hexagonal plate. It has an etched peacock-looking design around the border. There is gold trim on the plate's edge. In the middle, there is a C in a triangle. Can you tell me about it?
The Cambridge Glass Co. of Cambridge, Ohio, started making glass in 1902. The company's early glass was pressed, but later it made carnival glass, stemware, tableware and novelties. They were made in many different colors.
Your glass probably was made in the 1930s. It is not Depression glass but is a glassware of a better quality.
Dear Ralph and Terry: I collect small toy or sample stoves. Most of those that I see are made of black iron. They all seem to be late models made to look like full-sized porcelain enameled stoves.
I saw a nickel-finished stove at a museum but don't seem to be able to find one to buy. Were these toys or salesman's samples?
Antique toy stoves, like many other types of toys, are becoming more difficult to find. Many different iron and nickel-plated stoves were made in the early 1900s.
If you find a stove that is accurate in all details, with doors that open, pots that fit and a carrying case, it may be a salesman's sample.
Many collectors believe all of the stoves were made as toys. If the stove is very small, made of light metal, named something childish like Little Willie or Midget, and has tiny pots and pans, it is a toy.
Many of the small stoves were exact copies of large kitchen-sized stoves. They may have been given to customers who bought the big stove. We have seen old ads that picture a mother and daughter using their stoves. Car dealers often used this style of promotion.
The best toy stoves were made to be used and came complete with pots, tea kettle, pans and lid lifter.
The major toy manufacturers - like J.& E. Stevens, Kenton Hardware and Hubley Manufacturing Co. - made exact replicas of full-sized stoves. Brands such as Monarch, Jewel, Majestic and Quick Meal were copied as toys.
Many toys stoves were given the added name of Junior. There were probably more toy black-iron stoves sold than nickel-plated stoves, as they were less expensive.
Keep searching and you will find a nickel-plated toy stove. If it is complete, it will cost hundreds of dollars. You might want to read the Antique Stove Exchange newsletter, available from Box 43, Pacific Junction, Iowa, 51561. …