Danielle Arnet

The complete oviraptor egg nest from the Upper Cretaceous period sold for $19,520 recently at I.M. Chait Gallery in Beverly Hills
Oviraptor Egg Nest

The complete oviraptor egg nest from the Upper Cretaceous period sold for $19,520 recently at I.M. Chait Gallery in Beverly Hills

Q: Is my collection of china pitchers valuable?

A: All that we received were images. Period. No info or comment. Because most readers ask for identification and/or value, I assume the above question expresses what the reader wants to know.

One image shows six assorted pieces of vintage Hall pottery. Two are pitchers, or jugs, in varied sizes. Another is a creamer, one is a covered teapot, one is a casserole minus a lid, and another is a tall bean pot. Another image is a poorly photographed Hall back stamp. It's very hard to make out, unless one recognizes Hall marks.

All pieces are in Hall's Rose Parade pattern, in the Lavender Blue color.

Large pitchers such as the 32 oz. version sell for $10-$12 on eBay. Covered casseroles bring very little more. That's for pieces in perfect condition. Buyers also want the gold stamped bottom mark intact, with the gold still lustrous. Examples are still plentiful, and collectors avoid damaged goods or pieces missing a lid, or "off" in any way.

Checking the results database www.worthpoint.com (subscription only), we found that the tall tab-handled bean pot with lid sold on eBay for $37.99 to $130. That's quite a spread, and it demonstrates how prices depend on market conditions, such as who's bidding and when. If you're lucky, someone will be dead set on having your item.

FYI: www.replacements.com sells the Hall pieces also. You can see them photographed there.

Q: Cleaning out my mother-in-law's attic, we found an old Kodak Brownie camera. Is it a collector piece?

A: Depends on what you have. Key www.brownie-camera.com to see how many versions of the iconic camera were produced. Hard to believe the camera dates back to 1900!

If the Brownie is a folding camera, that's one scenario. The ubiquitous box camera is another matter. A movie camera is still another.

I suggest you look for matching models on eBay. We found over 1,000 Brownies listed when we checked. Make it easy by keying in the model number.

Once you ID what you have, sale results will tell the tale.

Q: Here's a list of our unopened and boxed ceramic liquor decanters from the 1950s and '60s. Some have music boxes. The collector who bought them has $300 and $150 noted on the boxes. How do we value and sell them?

A: The collector who noted values was optimistic. Of course, that was a speculative time for figural liquor decanters. When collected, they were hot. That's not the case today.

On the upside, several of the McCormick Elvis-themed decanters listed still speak to specialty collectors. Ditto for the Jim Beam railroad shapes.

I suggest checking completed sales of similar decanters on eBay. At one time, when buying and trading were brisk, decanter collector clubs were everywhere. Now most activity happens online, and that's where you'll find true current values.

When we checked, eBay results for Elvis bottles ranged from $9.99 to $134.38 for a McCormick bottle showing the star full-figure in his iconic white suit. Most sales hovered well under $50. And many, many bottles do not sell.

Online is the place to find a motivated collector. Read and learn from postings of similar decanters. Then go for it!

FYI: "Jim Beam Figural Bottles: An Unauthorized Collector's Guide: 2nd Ed." by Molly Higgins (Schiffer, $29.95) shows the gamut of Beam decanters.

Q: We found this lucky charm bracelet that may have come from a Cracker Jack box. Any info?

A: Looking at a photo sent, I wouldn't call the bracelet a Cracker Jack prize. It may not have been luxe when new, but because a horseshoe charm seems to have "gems" and a candlestick phone has enamel detailing, I'm sure it was not a giveaway toy.

The photo is not clear enough to spot more detail.

The link bracelet with five luck-related charms is a piece of vintage costume jewelry. Metal content can't be determined, but I suggest a close inspection for any marks.

Geometric links that make up the chain and the period telephone point to the 1930s or '40s. I'll bet someone enjoyed the bracelet then.

AUCTION ACTION: A 29-inch dinosaur egg nest from about 144 to 65 million years ago sold for $19,520 in a recent Natural History auction at I.M. Chait in Beverly Hills. It came from an egg-laying oviraptor. It is believed that oviraptors had paired ovaries, laid two eggs at a time, sat on their nests of eggs, and exhibited birdlike nesting behaviors. The sold specimen was complete, in excellent condition, and had no restoration.


Q: In the 1950s, two companies duked it out for dominance in the bingo pinball market. What were they, and where was each located?

A: The competitors were Bally Manufacturing Company and United Manufacturing Company. Both were in Chicago. Source: "The Bingo Pinball War: United vs. Bally, 1951-1957" by Jeffrey Lawton (Schiffer, $39.99).






Collecting - Values Could Vary Widely In Hall Pottery Cache