1813 sampler is low on totem pole of collector interest

Published: Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.

Q: The attached photo is of a sampler stitched by a 9-year-old girl by the name of Elenor Bridges Wright. Its condition, due to fading of the upper half of the artwork, is fair, at best. It was completed on May 29, 1813. It was purchased by my mother at a London market in 1950. Please give me your best opinion of its origin and possible value. Finally, can the faded upper portion coloring of numbers and letters be restored?

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If this 1813 sampler were in good condition, potential dollar value would be in the $100 rang

Courtesy of John Sikorski

— R.W., Internet

A: Samplers have been a category of collecting for a long time. Within the category, your sampler is low on the totem pole of collector interest. If it were in good condition, potential dollar value would be in the $100 range — as is, less than $100. Restoration can be done, but is expensive and would be good if you plan to keep it, but not if you plan to sell it.

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Q: Could you tell me the value of this antique cruet set?

— C.R., Internet

A: Cruet sets have been a category of collector interest for decades. The metal standard that holds the cruet bottles is almost always silver plated on base metal. From what I can see, the style is Aesthetic Revival, and was made in the 1880s to '90s. If all the cruet bottles match and are in good condition with correct stoppers, it would sell in the $100 range, perhaps more on a lucky day.

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Q: Attached are some pictures of an antique icebox. From the pictures, can you possibly let us know who made it, how old is it or anything else about it? The information we can get off the icebox is "Insulation by Armstrong, wool, Armstrong Cork Products Co., Lancaster, Pa."

— R.R., Internet

A: A little Internet research will yield some history and information about the Armstrong Cork Products Company and the relatively new use of cork for refrigerator insulation in the early 20th century. The library in Lancaster, Pa., may be able to help with some information, or perhaps the historical society there. The time your icebox was produced is likely between World War I and II. The overall condition appears to be poor. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.

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Q: My wife and I purchased a beach scene painting by Marie Charlot. The painting depicts a woman standing with an umbrella, with her children and a dog. We paid $25 for this framed painting 25 years ago in Miami. We were wondering if it is worth anything at auction.

— J.B., Ocala

A: According to various reports, paintings like yours were done in China, and still are, by various Chinese artists producing reproduction Impressionist oil-on-canvas paintings. They typically depict beach scenes with young women in the manner of famous European Impressionist artists, and are signed with names that look or sound similar to famous artists' names. The name Marie Charlot was used to produce large quantities of beach scenes as well as other names. Without a photograph, if it is an oil on canvas and not a print, all I can say is, even as a reproduction, it would likely sell for 10 times what you paid.

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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