It is not easy to recognize certain pieces of wood with deeply carved patterns. Unlike today’s familiar decorative stamping tools, it was not pressed in ink and used to print onto fabric or paper; it’s a buttery feeling.
Nineteenth-century farming families made their own butter, shaped it into molds and pressed designs into it with hand-carved butter stamps or etchings. If the butter were sold in a market, the printed designs would attract customers and identify the maker. Designs with symmetrical, repeating, or divided elements may have helped divide the butter into portions. Some butter prints had handles or were attached to a butter mold.
One of these oval prints with a flower and heart design and a notched border sold for $5,015 at Conestoga Auction Co. It was made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the 19th century.
Q: My 90 year old mother is looking to sell her collection of over 100 pieces of LE Smith Moon & Stars amberina glass. We’re having trouble getting an appraisal or even a ready-to-sell place for her.
A: The Smith Glass Company was in business in Mt. Pleasant, PA from 1907 to 2004. They were famous for their Moon & Star patterned glass but were not the first to make it. The model was first created by Adams & Company in 1874 and was originally called “Palace.” He was nicknamed “Moon and Star” due to moon-shaped depression and star design. Many glassmakers made variations of the pattern. LE Smith began making Moon & Star glass in 1962. The company did not own the molds but rented them from the Island Mold Company, paying a royalty for each piece. Most parts are unmarked. Moon & Star is a popular pattern. There is a club for collectors: Society of Moon and Star Pattern Glassware. You can find more information on their website, www.moonandstarglassclub.com. You may be able to find someone there who is interested in your mother’s collection.
Q: In the 1950s or 1960s, my mother had a Barbie doll that was unlike any I’ve seen since. He had painted brown hair with a blue painted headband, and he came with three wigs: long and dark brown, curly and reddish brown, and short and blonde. I’ve seen many early Barbies at auction, but not one with wigs like this. Is this rare?
A: Your mother’s doll resembles the Fashion Queen Barbie doll, introduced in 1963. This doll had a molded head with brown hair and a blue headband and non-flexing legs. She was dressed in a one-piece swimsuit with white and gold stripes, a matching turban and white peep toe pumps. It came with three wigs: a blonde, a brunette, and a titian (the term used for Barbie’s red hair). It was marked “Midge TM [copyright] 1962 Barbie [registered] [copyright] 1958 by Mattel, Inc.” The 1964 edition had “Patented” added to the mark. Mattel also made Barbie “wig cabinets” in the 1960s, which were sold with a doll’s head, not a complete doll. The Fashion Queen Barbies without wigs or box sold for less than $100 at recent auctions. A doll with all three wigs and the original outfit and box can sell for $100 to $400.
Q: What is the age and value of a Royal Quiet Deluxe portable typewriter, serial number A-1395264? The typewriter and case are in good condition.
A: Royal Typewriter Company was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1904. The first Royal typewriters were sold in 1906. Royal merged with McBee in 1954 and became Royal McBee. In 1965, it was bought by Litton and became Royal Typewriter again. After several other changes, it became Royal Consumer Information Products Inc. in 2004. Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriters were manufactured from 1939 to 1959. The style was redesigned in the 1940s and again in 1950. It was manufactured in multiple colors beginning in 1955. Your typewriter was manufactured in 1947. Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriters sell for between $50 and a few hundred dollars, depending on condition, style, and color.