Silver-plated compote dish takes on new look when copper finish exposed
Published: Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.
Q: We cannot find anything about this copper fruit bowl. It is marked with a fleur-de-lis, a crown and a lion horizontally, under each is a small lion and a star. I would appreciate any value you might suggest.
— H.G., Internet
A: Your compote was silver-plated when it was originally manufactured, sometime during the late-Victorian era, circa 1880-90. I was not able to identify the marks. In the 1950s, silver-plated copper serving pieces were of no collector interest. Someone discovered that by stripping off the old silver plating and polishing the copper body, the article became decorative and took on a completely new look. The process became a popular trend. This is most likely the story with your compote. When highly polished, the copper is beautiful. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.
Q: I have attached a photo of a painting of a horse by Theodor Karner that I have had since the mid-'60s. The opening of the frame measures 7¼ inches by 9¼ inches, and the painting is done on porcelain. It was given to me as a gift by an Austrian countess, and she told me that the frame was even more valuable than the painting. I have searched the Internet and found many references to Karner's porcelain figurines, but only a few mentions of his paintings of dogs and horses. As it is one of my most prized possessions, I have no interest in parting with it, but I would like to know more about it and what it might be worth. The back is sealed and I have never removed the paper to see if there is anything underneath it.
— S.J., Fairfield
A: Theodore Karner, 1885-1966, was a German artist and sculptor. He designed a large number of animal figures in porcelain for several high-quality porcelain companies. There is considerable collector interest in the porcelain figurines. It seems his main focus was on sculpture more than painting. There is considerable information about his career available on the Internet.
Your painting on porcelain of a horse would sell for less than $500. The decorative frame appears to be molded, made of gesso, not hand-carved. If it was hand carved, it would be worth a lot more than the picture.
Q: I write to you to ask if you could advise me on a Polaroid camera I have in my possession. It is a Polaroid Land Camera, Model No. 180. It is housed in a leather case with a shoulder strap and contains a portrait kit, a filter kit, close-up kit and a meter flashgun, with two film holders in the cover of the case as well as a flash-bulb holder. There also is an instruction booklet.
It is in very good condition, except for some staining on the leather case from mildew. The camera had been used only a few times. It came into my possession perhaps in 1965 from its original owner and friend, photographer Jerry Uelsmann. I actually have the few prints he took with it when the Polaroid makers gifted it to him. I am aware that film packs are no longer available and the company disbanded. Any information you can supply would be greatly appreciated, as I have no idea as to what steps I could or should take.
— N.G., Internet
A: It is good you have all the extras for the camera. Someday, it will make a difference relative to potential dollar value. Current dollar values are low. For further research, I suggest you check out Collectible Cameras Company. The website is www.collectiblecameras.com.
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 Ocala Star-Banner, 2121 SW 19th Ave. Road, Ocala, FL 34471-7752, or email email@example.com.