Danielle Arnet

The collection of Asian birds and insects mounted in a Victorian case brought $29,600 in a recent Bonhams Sydney auction in Australia

The collection of Asian birds and insects mounted in a Victorian case brought $29,600 in a recent Bonhams Sydney auction in Australia

Q: My daffodil pin marked "Danecraft Sterling" was on "Antiques Roadshow" a few years ago. They said that only five were made. Value?

A: Danecraft makes sterling silver based costume jewelry. Granted, sterling is a better grade material, but the company is not a custom maker known for making small lots of anything.

A little hunting revealed that the roughly 2-inch vintage pin currently sells online for $40 to $80 on sites including eBay. So much for exclusivity.

A source at WGBH-TV in Boston, the PBS station that produces the show, could not find any record of the pin mentioned in any of the shows. So that recollection must be wrong.

Danecraft Inc. in Providence, R.I., has made sterling jewelry since 1934. Named for the Danish way of working with silver (though founded by Italian immigrants), the company is still in operation.

The reader also asks about a Duette-style pin. Previous columns covered versions made by Coro. The one we viewed seems to have a mark, but it is unreadable in the image sent. Worse, the pin is missing stones. That's a serious flaw in a piece of standard design. Value is under $40.

Q: Where can I sell my political buttons? We have Ike, LBJ, etc.

A: The best source of info on all kinds of political items is the American Political Items Collectors (APIC). Key www.apic.us.

Read the website to learn about the group, and then search for a local meeting. No reader is far from a local chapter. Take your buttons and political memorabilia to a meeting or sale and members will help ID the items.

FYI: "Warman's Political Collectibles" by Enoch Nappen (Krause, $24.99) shows everything from buttons to paper dolls, convention tickets and medals.

Q: My great-aunt gave me a clock decades ago. I think it came from France. Any info and value? I'm wary of taking it to just any old clock shop.

A: Let me ask you this: Would you take your car to just any mechanic, or would you check them out first? Would you take your dog to just any vet? Of course not. You'd check him/her out first.

Same thing goes for your clock. Before you take anything to a total stranger, learn something about them, preferably from satisfied customers. Ask friends and family. They're always a good source.

The exterior of the clock seen in images sent looks like quality. Surface enamel work is cloisonné, a technique where thin wire is gilded, then bent to form cells that are filled with enamel. When done skillfully, the effect is colorful and artistic.

But in clocks, works tell much of the tale. A good watchmaker or clock repair person can determine age of the works and if they are original to the clock. All impacts value.

My advice is to find a good repair person and let them tell you age plus possible maker and value.

Q: I have my grandmother's RCA Victrola, also an old Singer sewing machine. How can I sell them?

A: See if your library has any references on old machines like yours. Then Google the model numbers to see if anything matches. Do the same on eBay. You'll get a feel for general pricing.

Once you know rough values, you can decide how best to sell.

HARD FALL: A large collection of artworks and office decorations from the British and European divisions of bankrupt Lehman Brothers will sell this September at Christie's London to satisfy the bank's creditors. The sign from company headquarters is expected to bring $3,000 to $6,000.

AUCTION ACTION: A collage of Asian pheasants and partridges displayed on naturalistic rockwork and foliage brought $29,600 when the Owston collection went on the block at Bonhams in Sydney, Australia. Owston was the private collection of Australian property developer Warren Anderson. When he went belly up, his extensive collections were sold by receivers through Bonhams.

The birds, along with jewel beetles and a pheasant on a nest of eggs, sold in a large Victorian ebonized case on a stand.


Question: Can you name the musician whose endorsement of the Gretsch electric archtop guitar made the brand popular?

a. Johnny Cash

b. Les Paul

c. Chet Atkins

d. Ferlin Husky

A: It was Chet Atkins, in the mid-1950s. Source: "Gretsch 6120" by Edward Ball (Schiffer, $39.99). A history of the company and its instruments.