Butterfly perhaps most popular ‘bug’ jewelry

#Middlebury #Kovels

Colorful butterflies are admired and even the inspiration for expensive, valuable jewelry. But many people are annoyed or even afraid of “bugs,” and few would want a caterpillar pin or bracelet.

Butterflies bring change and transformation, according to past traditions. Or they may represent a free spirit. The beauty of this butterfly pin made of precious jewels and gold brought an auction bid of $5,000. It was made in Russia a hundred years ago.

In earlier centuries, all sorts of insects and small creatures found in nature were popular. Ladybugs bring luck. Frogs are most appropriate as gifts for travelers. They bring good luck and a safe return. Snakes, perhaps because they shed their skins each year, represent fertility and health. A snake biting its tail represents eternity. Queen Victoria was given a snake ring in 1839 as an engagement ring. There are many antique or vintage gold and jeweled snake bracelets, rings or necklaces.

But the butterfly is perhaps the most popular because of the beauty of the design. And, the butterfly represents change and a free spirit. A 4-1/2-inch Russian butterfly pin, made in the early 1900s, sold at the New Orleans Auction Gallery in 2016 for $5,000. It is made with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and old mine-cut diamonds set in 14-carat gold.

Q: I have a milk glass dish that looks like those with a hen top, but this one has an animal. It is marked “Pat’d Aug 6, 1889.” Does the date tell who made it and suggest price today?

A: The patent date tells the maker is Atterbury Glass Co. of Pittsburgh. It closed in 1903. Does the animal have red glass eyes? The red eyes were used on the most expensive Atterbury animals. Many companies made milk glass, and milk-glass dishes with animal or bird lids were available. Atterbury is one of the best. In 2000, the dish was worth $175 to $200. Today milk glass is not as popular with collectors, and your dish is worth only $100 to $150.

Q: I just found a metal tin that seems to have held pepper at the White House. How much is a political piece like this worth?

A: Sorry to disappoint you, but White House is a brand name used by Wilson Burns & Co. of Baltimore in the 1930s. In those days, all grocery-store containers of small amounts of spices were sold in tins. There still are collectors of the tins for their advertising or country-store collections. The best place to find them is at the back of the kitchen cupboard at a house sale. Most tins sell for $15 to $35.

Current Prices

  • Hair receiver, celluloid, faux tortoiseshell pattern, squat octagonal base, lid with center hole, scallop and point rim, 1930s, 5 inches, $25.
  • Game, Ouija board, wood and veneer, canted corners, black letters and symbols, printed instructions, William Fuld, 1915, 12 x 18 inches, $300.
  • Advertising sign, “Campbell’s Tomato Soup, 10 cents,” porcelain, figural, bracket, red and white, 1920s, 13 x 24 inches, $1,650.

TIP: Store photographs flat, in acid-free albums.

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc.


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