Kitchen & Household

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A scrimshaw whalebone crimper [pie crimper or jagging wheel] with whale ivory double wheelsA jagging wheel, also sometimes known as a pie crimp or a pie crimper, is a fluted or crenellated wheel used to trim and/or to seal the edges of pastry crusts. They were also some of the most common items produced from ivory by whalers who practiced the arts of ivory carving and scrimshaw in their spare time on long sea voyages. (Iron and wooden jagging wheels also occasionally appear on the market, but the vast majority of them are ivory or bone.) More elaborate examples have pierced carvings throughout the handle and the wheel and it is not at all uncommon for the design to incorporate a fork either on the handle or diverging from the handle above the wheel for pricking vents in pastry.


An American painted pine knife box with "trompe l'oeil decoration" circa 1830 and with red interior and central arched divider.The best antiques are ones that you can really live with and some of the very best are cutlery trays. These trays, designed to carry flatware from kitchen to table, look deceptively simple.  In reality, they are some of the most useful antiques objects out there!  Pick one up and put it on a side table for outgoing mail, keys and phones, or just put one beside the couch and see how rarely you have trouble finding your remotes.

You can have your pick too, because almost everyone would have had one of these nifty little carriers, so there are plenty out there to choose from.  Lidded examples made from more dramatic woods like tiger maple can bring over $1,000, and beautiful paint-decorated examples, like the one pictured above, command even higher prices.  (This one brought over $4,400!)  But, if you’re not looking for fancy paint and if you don’t mind a small repair or a little less age, you can find attractive trays that you don’t have to worry about using!  It’s easy to find a pretty piece for between $100 and $300, and you have an easy way to introduce antiques into your decor in a natural and useful way.  Be on the lookout for one the next time you’re out at the local antique mall or flea market.

A cast iron boot scraper, unattributed, in the form of a cat with [long tail and] traces of black paint.Historically, boot scrapers are unassuming little things.  They were usually mounted out of the way, covered in mud and muck, and not objects to which one probably gave much thought.  But, the boot scraper’s day has come!  Lifted, quite literally, out of the mire, they are interesting enough to stand as artful silhouettes, like Shadow the cat, pictured here, but common enough that they’re quite affordable. You’ll find cocker spaniels and dachshunds, horses and doves, and animals much more suited to the damp and the mud, like frogs and ducks.  There are also “action” scenes like men sawing logs, with the serrated teeth of the saw serving as a perfect means of scraping shoes clean, and objects like a lyre with a form that also lends itself to the purpose.  And, as always, there are more fanciful options like boot scrapers with sphinxes or griffins!  These objects make a great collection, and because they are small, heavy and often appear rough or uncared for, deals aren’t hard to find!

Dr. Daniels Veterinary Medicine oak display cabinet

Dr. Daniels Veterinary Medicine oak display cabinet

One of the most common questions in the antiques marketplace is, “What’s hot right now?” At Prices4Antiques, we always see lots of searches for country store items, the kind of things that lined the counters and shelves of old general stores, and in the past seven days, we’ve seen searches for a National Cash Register Model 542 register with an oak base, a Nelson Baby Powder tin, an Enterprise Manufacturing Company countertop coffee grinder, a Coca-Cola barrel-form dispenser, and a Dr. Daniels’ veterinary medicine cabinet. These were the top five items viewed in our country store category this week, but people searched for thousands of other antiques and collectibles at Prices4Antiques.

Browse more country store antiques in our price database.

Fiesta disc juice pitcher in red glaze

Fiesta disc juice pitcher in red glaze

Frugal Yet Fabulous Fiestaware!

In 1936, like every other pottery in America, the Homer Laughlin China Company was desperate for a new product that would generate sales during the difficult days of the depression.  With help the talented Frederick Hurton Rhead (director of design from 1928-42), The Homer Laughlin Company found their answer in Fiestaware.

Bold Forms in Bright Colors

Immediately successful, Fiestaware dishes combined simple yet bold forms in bright colors.  Originally produced in five colors: red (which was actually more of an orange) yellow, cobalt, light green, and ivory.  Turquoise was added one year into production.  The original palate was named “Old Mexico Colors.” These were stylish in California and other western states, but Fiesta made them popular in the rest of the country as well.

Art Deco Era Dishes

Fiestaware dishes were architectural in form and drew heavily from the visual vocabulary of Art Moderne and Art Deco style, including  streamlined forms,  concentric circles, and  horizontal and vertical ribs and banding.  These elements were combined with simple geometric forms, especially circles.  Pieces were glazed in solid bright colors, and because the aesthetic appeal depended on form and color rather than expensive and time consuming hand decorating, the dishes were inexpensive to produce.  The mass-produced crockery was sold at the Five & Dime, and was considered inexpensive, even during the Depression.

Fiesta yellow demitasse coffee pot

Fiesta yellow demitasse coffee pot

Fiestaware to Mix and Match

The six colors worked well together, and a new table fashion was born- mixing and matching; each place setting could be a different color, or a home maker might mix the colors within a place setting.  The dishes could be one color and the accessories another.  A pitcher could be cobalt and the tumblers red, or each tumbler could be a different color.  Consumers loved the infinite possibilities.

Fiestaware was so popular that it was produced until 1973.  In 1959, new colors- forest green, rose, chartreuse, medium grey, and medium green were added.  Production ended temporarily in ’73, but styles cycled back, as styles are apt to do.  In 1986, and Homer Laughlin reintroduced Fiestaware, and it is still in production today.

Collectible Fiestaware

Fiesta collectors look for early examples (pre-1969), especially of accessories and serving pieces.  Since a set of dishes might have 8 dinner plates but only 2 serving bowls, the bowls are harder to find, and therefore more valuable. Collectors love the vases, salt and pepper shakers, pitchers, tea pots, coffee pots, candle holders, gravy boats and mixing bowls.

Pieces such as covered butters, tea & coffee pots, and casseroles with intact covers are desirable because the lids frequently were broken, are the tumblers that rarely survived the tentative grasp of clumsy children.  As is the case with all collectible pottery, the most valuable pieces will be free of chips, cracks and crazing, although some allowances are made for hard to find pieces in rare colors.

-By p4A Contributing Editor Susan Cramer.

Reference & Further Recommended Reading:

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