ANTIQUES

Meriden Britannia silver bride's basket is a beauty


Published: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.

Q: I would like your help in determining the value of this family heirloom and how best to go about selling it. I know it is probably an early 1900s quadruple silver bride's basket. The bottom of the piece is over-stamped "Meriden B Company." It has some slight wearing off of silver. It also has a few tiny nicks, but otherwise is quite beautiful and shiny.

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This piece was made by the Meriden Britannia Company prior to 1896. (Courtesy of John Sikorski)

S., Internet

A: Your decorative, and depending on the dimensions, bride's basket, cake basket or centerpiece is a beauty. In the photograph, it does not look like the glass inset is original.

The Meriden Britannia Company was located in Meriden, Conn. The officers of the company were among the many leaders who formed the International Silver Company in 1898. Over time, the company used a variety of hallmarks. The use of the term quadruple on silverplate hollowware was discontinued in 1896, so your piece was made prior to that date. Potential dollar value is less than $500.

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Q: I have a document printed in four languages, signed by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison, dated 1806. The document is giving permission for the schooner Columbia to sail from New York City to Havana with a cargo of beef and lumber. The document also serves notice that the ship is owned by a citizen, not the military. It is framed 24 inches by 14 inches, and under glass. Can you please give me an idea of the value?

G.W., Internet

A: The document certainly looks genuine. If so, there would be considerable collector interest. I suggest you contact Swann Galleries in New York City. They specialize in historical documents, and their website is www.swanngalleries.com. Good luck, and let us know what you discover.

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Q: I received the mirror in the photo from my grandmother who passed away in 1994 at the ripe age of 96. Can you tell me if it is worth anything?

M.S., Internet

A: I suspect your hand mirror with a repoussť scene was manufactured circa 1900 in Europe. It appears to be made of metal. However, you should take a good close look with a hand magnifier for possible maker's marks. If there are none, potential dollar value is less than $50.

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Q: Recently, while visiting my parents in Wisconsin, my mother asked me if I knew who she might contact to sell a collection of Canadian pennies from the 1900 to 1920 period. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday and has been cleaning out and giving away a variety of items that have been in the family for a long time. I do not believe that there is anything special about the coin collection. We did not discuss the source of the coin collection. However, when I was growing up in Wisconsin in the 1960s, it was not unusual to get Canadian coins as a part of change in the grocery store, etc. I have tried conducting research on the Internet, but the number of coin salesmen and women is overwhelming. I could use some help in sorting through options so I can make a recommendation to my mother.

R.S., Gainesville

A: I have no experience with coins in general, but if they are circulated coins your mom collected from change, then I suggest you go to the library and ask the reference librarian to help with a price guide to collecting North American or Canadian coins.

John Sikorski is an Ocala antiques dealer. He hosts a call-in radio show, "Sikorski's Attic,'' on WUFT-FM (89.1 FM). It can be heard each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Send your questions to Sikorski's Attic, c/o The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608-2015; or email absantique@aol.com.

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