Terry and Kim Kovel King Features Syndicate
In the 1980s, a friend’s mother decided to redecorate with unfamiliar furniture in a modern style. She bought a small wooden table, painted red and designed by Ohio artist Jeff Lederman. The table had won a design award in an Illinois State competition.
Lederman was a busy artist who changed interests and professions many times. He designed logos for companies in the 1970s and furniture in the 1980s. For a while, he put his art aside to pursue a new career in saving wildlife. From 2014 to 2018 he painted pictures again and in 2020 he started digital art.
Q: My grandmother had an old sampler hanging on the wall. I looked at it every time I visited. I don’t know what happened to it, but I’ve been thinking about buying an authentic vintage sampler for my remodeled country style kitchen. Are the old ones worth their price?
A: Samplers have been made for hundreds of years. They peaked in popularity in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. The best American samplers date from the 1790s to 1840s. Condition is the key to value. If they’re cut, re-stitched, stained, or torn, they’re not that valuable. A framed original early 1814 sampler recently sold for $600. Many cost less.
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Q: I own a 1954 Herman Miller rosewood armchair with black leather and original tags. It is all original but the leather is cracked and torn in a few places. Would it look better reupholstered? Do new upholstery destroy the provenance and value? What should I do?
A: Your chair and ottoman were designed by Charles and Ray Eames and manufactured by the Herman Miller Company. The Eames lounge chair and ottoman were introduced by Herman Miller in 1956 and are still in production. A new chair and ottoman costs around $7,000. At auctions, you can buy vintage pieces for $2,000 to $5,000 depending on condition. As long as the frame and wood are in good condition, reupholstering with Herman Miller materials will not affect the value. But it costs around $2,000.
Q: I’m a real estate agent and I’m lucky enough to go into older homes where many of the architectural elements are still intact. I’m mesmerized by the ornate antique doorknobs I see. I bought one for $25 in an architectural junk shop last week. It appears to be brass. Do you think I got a good deal?
A: Collecting doorknobs can be a lot of fun. In the early 19th century, doors were opened with the thumb. Their doors were fitted with wrought iron thumb latches. Around the same time, some of the earliest brass doorknobs appeared in the United States. They were attached to patch locks. Brass, bronze, ceramic and glass fittings were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1950s to 1970s, urban renewal programs resulted in the demolition of many aging Victorian homes, with the loss of artistic hardware. The destruction spurred the formation of Antique Doorknob Collectors of America. Detailed information can be found on their website www.AntiqueDoorKnobs.org. Buttons can be found at thrift stores, demolition sites, flea markets, malls, online stores, and auctions. It looks like what you paid is a fair price.
Q: I have a framed print entitled “The Town of Lanark” published by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1825. It says “drawn on the spot by I. Clark”. It shows factories by a river, hills and the city in the distance. How do I find its worth?
A: John Heaviside Clark (1771-1836), the artist and engraver of this print, was born in Scotland and was a famous landscape painter. The letter “I” was often used for “J” in the 19th century. The Town of Lanark is one of 36 aquatints from the Views in Scotland series depicting towns in Scotland during the Industrial Revolution. The cotton mills in Lanark were powered by water from the nearby river. The owner, inspired by utopian ideals, tried to build an exemplary industrial community. Clark’s Engravings were apparently intended to be published in book form but were published separately from 1824 to 1828 and no copy of the complete book is known to exist. If you have an original print, not a recent reproduction, it could be worth over a thousand dollars. You should take it to a museum or rare prints dealer to see if they can authenticate it.
Current prices are collected from antique fairs, flea markets, sales and auctions across the United States. Prices vary in different locations due to local economic conditions.
Pair of Dresden porcelain candlesticks, four-light, figural angel post, blue curtain, three sculpted arms set with small flowers, gold rim, marked, Schierholz, after 1930, 15 x 9 in., pair, $65.
Silverplate tray, circular, engraved coat of arms, chased floral tendrils, Chippendale-shaped rim, Rococo scrolled rim, three acanthus scroll feet, Smith, Sissons & Co., Sheffield, England, Victorian, circa 1800 1885, 18 1/4 in , $125.
Lamp, electric, Alabaster base, carved and pierced zigzags, black fabric conical shade, Italy, c. 1935, 27 inch, $275.
Folk Art Figure, Swan, hardwood root, carved, polished, glass eyes, signed G. Mille, 1986, 18 x 27 in., $340.
Ceramic statue, Indonesian woman, tall and slender, dark skin, long striped skirt, white blouse, flowing white headscarf, marked, Mari Simmulson, Sweden, 1940s, 15 in., $465.
Pair of glaze urns, Regency style, cut glass lower body with strawberry cut, flared top with engraved grapes and leaves, domed star-cut base, 9 x 7 in., pair, $585.
Advertising Sign, Cooks Beer & Ale, Hand Holding Bottle, Can, Oval, Self-Framed in Wood Grain, Cooks Brewing Co., Evansville, Indiana, 1940s, 17 1/2 x 14 in., $625.
Furniture, cabinet, French Provincial, walnut, molded cornice, carved frieze, two long doors each with two molded panels, matching interior, curved legs, 18th century, 89 x 56 in., $825.
Jewelry, Necklace, Pendant, Stylized Flower Head, Eight Circles, Link Chain, 18k Gold, Fil De Camilia, Marked Chanel, Pendant 3/4 Inch, Chain 16 Inch, $1,340.
Tiffany candlestick, patinated bronze, three curved legs, three-part base, bulbous chalice with flared rim and blown green glass, centrally hanging hook snuffer, inscribed Tiffany Studios, c. 1910, 9 1/2 x 5 in., $3,120.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions submitted to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission to use it in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or e-mail addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photos, but if a postage paid envelope is included we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or assessments impossible. Write to Kovels, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, Florida 32803.