Antique medicine box has never left the family home

This painting is by Indiana artist Ruthven Byron Holmes. (Courtesy of John Sikorski)

Published: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 5:22 p.m.

Q: I own a painting by the Indiana painter Ruthven Byron Holmes. I know some about his biography and work, but cannot find references as to how much his paintings are valued. I am including photos of the one I own which is in the original frame and signed on the right, lower side by the painter. It appears to be one of several he painted at the Smoky Mountains, and the size of the canvas is 26 inches by 30.

— A.N., Internet

A: I was not able to find information about the signer of your painting, or any track record of sales under that name. This places your landscape painting in the decorative category. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.

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Q: I have attached a photo of a medicine chest that has been in my family for many years. It was the medicine box of a great relative, Edmund Irby, 1781-1829. It has never left the family home. Do you think a museum of American medicine would be interested in having it? I am not interested in money but simply finding it a respected home.

E., Internet

A: Wow, what a wonderful family heirloom. It would be a good idea to take pencil and paper and write down the entire history. After that, I suggest you contact the Robb House Medical Museum in Gainesville. They might like to have it. The phone number is 376-0715.

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Q: I recently found this neat, old tapestry-type art in a drawer. Do you have any idea about what it might be worth? It appears to be some sort of woven fabric, and it is almost fuzzy.

A., Internet

A: You have a machine-made tapestry. Tapestries often copied popular paintings of the day. Your tapestry is a copy of an Arabian scene that many artists produced during the Victorian era. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.

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Q: My grandfather, who was born in the 1870s, brought these two chairs from his mother's house in Scotland. I am very interested in selling them. Could you please give me a price that I would ask for them?

Y.B., Internet

A: You have two open balloon-back side chairs with sabre-leg front legs. I think they were made in America during the late 19th century. This style of chair was made in large quantities and is currently difficult to sell except at recognizably low prices. If you get more than $50 each, it will be a lucky day.

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

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