Chicago Antiques Guide

Chicago Antiques Guide Blog

AMERICAN DEALERS Wanted for Web Series

Posted Thursday, January 09 by CAG • no comments

American Dealers is a new web series that is focused on telling the stories of Vintage and Antique Dealers across thecountry. The people behind American Dealers believe that every dealer has a story worth hearing. From mom and pop dealers to the operators of large-scale antique operations, they all have a story to tell. They've been filming over the last few months and are due to release their first season on their website in early 2014. They are currently looking for Chicagoland Dealers to be profiled on camera. If you're a dealer, and would like to get your story out there, or you simply want to watch the series, please visit their facebook page, or their YouTube page

AmericanDealersCOLOR.jpg

ROYAL WORCESTER Plates - Artist E Barker

Posted Monday, November 11 by CAG • no comments

Royal Worcester Plate.jpg I own a set of 12 of what appear to be ROYAL WORCESTER (NOTE SPELLING) Made in England charger plates. They were apparently imported and probably decorated by Burley and Co, Chicago. There appears to be a dealers mark of c 1167 on the back. There is a logo of a crown over a circle with scrolled W's and a C with the a number 51 inside. The name Royal Worcester appears underthe logo. Under this are eight dots with a star in the center. Under the dots it says Made in England.

Royal Worcester detail.jpg These are a set of 12 with green painting embellished with gold on the rim a gold band then ivory embellished with gold on the inside and a signed (appears to be E Barker) picture of flowers in the center. All the pictures are on the same theme but each picture if different. There are at least 8 plates in very good shape and the other four a crazed and two are chipped.

My mother bought them at an art show about fifty years ago. Any information, including their possible value, would be appreciated. Thank you, Pamela

Royal Worcester mark.jpg
That is the correct spelling and the correct mark for Royal Worcester. The 8 dots with the star in the middle is the date code for 1924. They were a special order for Burley (either for a customer order or for general stock, with the Burley name in the mark), but were made and decorated by Royal Worcester.

The artist was Ernest Barker, a Worcester artist. He painted primarily plate centers, cup & saucer sets, and a few vases. His subjects are typically florals (like yours) and sheep (go figure). Cows and sheep are common subjects of paintings in the UK. All Worcester artists were highly skilled.

Plates your size, 10 1/2", are not quite large enough to be considered chargers, usually 12" and up. Although they are dinner or service plate size, most in the business would call a single one of these a cabinet plate. Since it was a set of 12, they were probably bought as service plates. They would be used when the table was set (as place holders), and removed when the first course was served.

Pricing your set is tricky. The green background is probably the least popular color. Your pattern came not only in this green, but cobalt blue (most popular), also burgundy and ivory (both closer to the blue in popularity).


8 Similar Green plates
http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8120238

6 in your pattern but burgundy
http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/6292988

10 Cobalt by Barker in similar pattern
http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/2917331

12 with Ivory background
http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/7224994

All of the above are from the 1920's and even though the pattern might vary slightly and the artist may be different, I believe they are all comparable. Most of the sets sold for about $40-$70 per plate with a few exceptions.

You said that 2 of your plates are crazed. Hard porcelain cannot actually craze. Crazing is when the glaze cracks but the ceramic body does not. Hard porcelain or china is fired at a temperature high enough to fuse the glaze and the body. So, if there are cracks they almost always go all the way through.

Keramic Studio Print - Chromolithograph

Posted Sunday, November 03 by CAG • no comments

Keramic Studio Print.jpg

Hello, I have been browsing the internet trying to find out what type of an antique print I have.

This print is 13" x 10 1/2" on thin cardboard. The print was from an original oil painting by master artist Franz B. Aulich of the late 1800's and early 1900's. His paintings are very rare and highly collectible. The print feels very smooth.

I've taken photos of the print which include some very close ones where you can see a pattern of dots and lines. Can you please tell me what type of lithograph this is? If possible, can you take a guess as to it's value? Any info you can provide will be very much appreciated. Thank you, Josie


Keramic Studio Print Detail.jpgYour print is a chromolithograph. It is printed on heavy coated paper, or card stock. It was included as a supplement to Keramic Studio Magazine, which was a monthly magazine for pottery & china painters. China painting was a popular hobby for women from the late 1890's into the 1920's. It also became a profession for the more talented artists, as pottery companies like Roseville, Weller, and Rookwood became more popular. And China painting companies like Pickard and others in the china painting business. Some women opened there own studios, or worked for smaller local studios.

I believe later color illustrations in Keramic Studio Magazine were color separations, but I don't have any at this time to check.

These supplements along with patterns printed in the magazine were used by artists for ideas, and as guides in painting china and pottery. They could have tried to copy it exactly or more likely use it for inspiration for a design, or learn a technique for painting a specific flower.

Unfortunately, they are not particularly valuable. A number of them have survived, and demand is low. Arts ad Crafts images and designs are more desirable. Your print is beautiful, and would look great framed, but would not sell for a lot unless you sold it to someone who didn't know they are available inexpensively. In a shop it might sell, as is, unmatted and unframed for $10-$20, but not quickly. The fact that the artist who painted the original painting is famous or his paintings rare, does not really affect the value of your print.

Complete magazines are available for $10-$30, but not all had the color chromolithograph supplements.

Mario Spampinato - Sculptor in Bronze

Posted Sunday, September 23 by CAG • no comments


Mario Spampinato - Self Portrait.jpg

I was recently asked to help with the estate of a local artist, Mario Spampinato. The estate included a number of bronzes, created and cast by Mario Spampinato. His works include figure studies, florals, and abstract sculptures. Figures include action sports figures (golf and tennis), female dancers, and female figure studies. Some of his works will be included in the upcoming Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts Auction being conducted by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on October 7, 8 & 9, 2012. The bust at left will not be included in the auction. It is a self portrait of the artist, and will be retained in the family.


The artist was born, raised and trained in Italy.
Mario Spampinato - Untitled Floral.jpg
During one of his exhibits (at San Marcos in Rome) the Director of a New York Gallery asked him to come to New York to work for him. The American Consul, before issuing his visa, asked Spampinato to create a bust of him. In exchange, the Consul paid for his passage on the boat to New York. In New York, he worked with his brother Clemente Spampinato who is a well known sculptor as well.

After moving to Chicago in 1954, he discovered that there was no foundry in the Midwest that could cast his bronzes. So, he opened his own foundry called the Spampinato Art Foundry, casting in the lost wax process. He also started his own private school (Spampinato Art Workshop, Ltd) and did some teaching at the University of Chicago and conducted seminars at Lawrence University in Kansas.

Many of his own works are pictured and cataloged in
Volumes 2 & 3 of Bronzes: Sculptors and Founders, 1800-1930 by Harold Berman

Lot 989 - Norma.jpg
Between 1959 and 1967, Spampinato recast a number of Charles M Russell's works on commission from the Findlay Galleries of Chicago. Spampinato Art Foundry records indicate that there were 16 different works done, all in editions of 30 or less. The recasts are well represented in the collection of the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana. Many of these are published in a book titled
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), paintings, drawings, and sculpture : in the collection of the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, Louisiana written and published by the staff of the art gallery.

Tennis Player - Return.jpg
Records in the estate indicate that Spampinato did works for Pabst Brewing Co., University of Notre Dame,, Indiana University, Encyclopedia Britannica, Webster College and others.

He attended the following institutions:
Liceo Artisticao
L'Accademia delle Belle Arte
Academy of Arts on Via Margutta in Rome
Scuola Internazionale del Nudo
Accademia di Francia

Member of:
International Society of Sculptors
Society of American Sculptors

The auction will include 7 original works by Mario Spampinato, and 4 of the Charles M Russell bronzes cast at the Spampinato Art Foundry. To find all of his lots in the auction, enter Spampinato in the SEARCH Forthcoming Sales box on the Online Catalog page.

Information about Mario Spampinato and his work was gleaned from papers in the estate.

Mayor Daley and Mario Spampinato at the re-dedication of the Police Memorial in Haymarket Square. Spampinato restored the bronze statue after it was blown off its base with dynamite at the end of the turbulent 1960's.
Daley and Mario Spampinato.jpg

1940's Royal Arrow Typewriter

Posted Sunday, May 20 by CAG • no comments

I have a Royal Arrow Typewriter in good working condition. How much is it worth? How best do I sell it in the Chicagoland area?

I just ran a church rummage sale and kept the piece with several other items to try to sell as antiques and get more money for our missions' project than we would have at a rummage sale.

Can you advise please. Thanks - Stacy



Royal Arrow Typewriter.jpg

Typewriters have been around since the 1870's. Typewriter collectors have traditionally focused on machines that looked as radically different from modern machines as possible. So, typewriters like yours were generally difficult to sell at any price. When personal computers came out making typewriters all but obsolete, it appeared to be the final nail in the coffin for typewriters in general.

Recently older, but not previously collectible machines started to move in antique shops and on eBay. Today some good usable typewriters bring pretty good money, $100 and up. I used to sell typewriters from the 1920's for $10 or $15.

People now buy typewriters for a variety of reasons. Many just like the nostalgic look, and use them as accent or decorator pieces. But, there are still people who buy typewriters to use them. So, clean machines in good working order and reasonable good cosmetic condition are selling pretty well.

Recently on eBay there have been about 10,000 listings with the words "typewriter" and either "antique" or "vintage". Nearly half, about 48%, actually sold. With antiques averaging $85 plus shipping and vintage averaging $48 plus shipping. Shipping ran mostly in the $20-$25 range. But some very rare models sold in the thousands of dollars.

For yours specifically I would recommend starting about $40 and try it on Craigs List. I think the cosmetic problem on the cover will hold yours back. In excellent working and cosmetic condition, Royal Arrow typewriters have sold for as much as $200 (including shipping), but most sold around $100 or less.

For more information on the history of typewriters, Click Here.

Antique Maps

Posted Friday, September 23 by CAG • no comments

Finley Illinois-ss.jpg
Chicago Antiques Guide was recently asked to write some articles for WorthPoint.com . Our first article Charting the Art and History of Antique Maps has just been published. It is the first in what is expected to be a short series of articles on how to begin a collection of antique maps.

The article gives a brief overview of the printing techniques. It also introduces some of the reasons people collect antique maps.

Future articles will suggest some possible themes for putting together a collection, sources for antique maps, and strategies for building your collection.

To read the complete article, CLICK HERE

The map shown here was published by Anthony Finley in 1824, just 6 years after Illinois became a state. It shows, that unlike today, the population center was in Southern Illinois. Immigrants to Illinois typically arrived by river, either the Mississippi or more commonly the Ohio River. So, towns grew and counties formed closest to the rivers where immigrants first reached Illinois.

The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 and later the coming of railroads sped up travel and immigration to Northern Illinois.

1760's Miniature (Thumb) Bible at Auction

Posted Tuesday, August 02 by CAG • no comments

I am interested in the "ball park" value of my 1769 Thumb Bible 7th Edition with Amendments. Published in Philadelphia, by A. Steuart. Size is appx. 2" high, 1 1/2" across and 1" wide. I am not sure of the best way to proceed in order to get the best price for it. Please feel free to email me with any questions. Thank you! Judy


Thumb Bible.jpg

I know enough about books in general, and Bibles specifically, to know that age alone isn't enough to make this item valuable. Bibles especially, are not necessarily rare even from the 1700's. What made me suspect that this "thumb" Bible was special were two things. First it was printed in Philadelphia before the Revolutionary War. And, second that it was a miniature.

Knowing that this was beyond my expertise, I contacted Mary Williams, the Director of the Fine Books and Manuscripts Department at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. After further research and seeing the Bible in person to confirm its condition, she estimated the piece at $3,000 to $5,000. The Bible is part of their next Fine Book and Manuscript Auction being held on Tuesday, August 9, 2011.

To see the full description of this item, and another photo Click HERE

To see the entire catalog for this auction Click HERE and then click on the Fine Book and Manuscript link.

Roos Cedar Chests - History & Information

Posted Sunday, January 16 by CAG • 11 comments

It appears that I am doomed to become an expert on Roos cedar chests. After I answered the first inquiry about a Roos chest and posted the answer, I have received at least a hundred more inquiries about Roos cedar chests.
Roos1 400.jpg
Before I go on and tell what I have learned about them, let me tell you what I don't know. I have no idea what a Roos cedar chest looks like from just the model number or serial number. I have probably received 50+ inquiries that just give a model number, serial number or both, and ask what their chest is worth. To the best of my knowledge, there is no publicly available reference that gives years of manufacture by model number or serial number. Neither is there any reference that would let me look up a photo of that model. So without a photo I can't tell anything. If you send a photo, I can narrow the time period down a little by style, and estimate a value.

After considerable searching, I learned several rather interesting facts.

The "Roos Manufacturing Co." of Chicago was established in 1871 by Edward Roos (born in Germany in December 1848), died in 1906. He had several children including Otto (born 1877) and Edward (born 1880). Otto took over the Roos Manufacturing Company when his father died in 1906. They did manufacture cedar chests, but it is unclear when they started. The business began making curtain rods and later wooden boxes. They used a rooster in several variations in some of their logos.
Rooster Logo Woodburned 200.jpgRooster Logo Sticker 200.jpg
The "Ed Roos Company of Forest Park" started in Chicago as the Roos Cedar Chest Company in 1916, and also manufactured cedar chests, but it is a different company. They used a tree (presumably a cedar tree) in a circle as their logo. There are also other logos without the tree, and one with a heart for their "Sweetheart" chests. They also used a variety of paper and cardboard labels.
ER Logo wb 200.jpgER logo 200.jpg

It was started by Otto's brother, Edward. The company moved to Forest Park, IL in 1918 and changed its name to the Ed Roos Company of Forest Park

In the 1920 federal census, Otto Roos is listed as President of a wooden wares business. So it is clear that the original Roos Manufacturing Company was still at work in 1920, after Ed Roos opened up shop in 1918 in Forest Park. I have found no information yet that says whether the original company continued to make cedar chests or not, although one of their marks does say "Original" as part of the mark. This would imply at least some overlap when both companies were making cedar chests.

There are at least two possible explanations for why Edward left to start his own company. First, Edward disagreed with Otto about the business and split off to start his own company. Second, they agreed that to expand the cedar chest business, it should be split off and moved. There are of course other possibilities that I haven't considered. I lean toward the first as the most likely.

Lalique? (Not) Vase -Lamp Conversion

Posted Saturday, December 15 by Brian • 2 comments

lalique vase lamp.jpg I was given a few item's from my Great Aunt & Uncle The First is a glass lamp, I was told by a friend that it should be insured. I've searched on all my item's, only to come up with a whole lotta nothing! Can you tell me what kind of lamp this is? How much it might sell for & to whom I might sell it? Thank you for your time! Sincerely, Jamie


Although the glass part of the lamp appears to be a Cherry vase by Lalique from the 1930's, the piece is either a reproduction or a fake. It is called a reproduction in Warman's Lalique book by Mark F Moran.

But, commenter Craig Orkney states in his comment, "The vase was never produced by Lalique. It is a Czech piece produced by Barolac. It is pattern number 12111, and made from the 1930s to 1970s at Rudolfova hut. The moulds were then transferred to Rosice, and manufactured there until 1996. It is shown on the website Lalique.com as a fake Lalique item." I couldn't find any reference to fakes on their site, but it could be there and I missed it.

Taking all of this information into consideration, it would appear that the original vase is neither a fake nor a reproduction, but a vase made by Barolac that has falsely been attributed to Lalique. This has been done knowingly by some trying to pass it off as Lalique with a fake signature.

So, I will officially stand corrected by Craig, and will revise my original response below.

To make the vase into a lamp, a hole was drilled into it to allow for the electric cord. Fortunately, in this case a piece of Lalique was not sacrificed. I don't ever recommend making a vase into a lamp, but if you must, there are ways of making a vase into a lamp without drilling or otherwise damaging the piece, but none of them look quite right. If you must make a vase into a lamp, choose a method that will not affect the original piece's value, or realize that it will greatly reduce any future appreciation.

A lamp identical to yours sold on Ebay 4/22/06 for $62.

McCoy Jack-O-Lantern Cookie Jar

Posted Wednesday, April 04 by Brian • no comments

My wife bought this cookie jar at a garage sale 25 years ago. She always said it was valuable. Is it? Thanks Bill
McCoy Jack O Lantern.jpg
Valuable is a relative term. But, I would say your wife was right. Your Jack-O-Lantern cookie jar was made by McCoy in the mid 1950's. I contacted Mercedes DiRenzo-Bolduc of Jazz'e Junque Inc., Chicago's first vintage cookie jar shop. She said that in 18 years of buying and selling cookie jars, she had only had this McCoy Jack O Lantern twice. In the past she has sold them in the $600-$700 range.

In today's market you would likely find one in an antique store for $500 and up depending on condition. It is definitely one of the harder cookie jars to find, especially in good condition.

Weblog Archives