ANTIQUES AND COLLECTING: Fashionable women’s accessory grows in value

By Terry and Kim Kovel

A tussie mussie is a flower holder popular in the late 19th century. It was filled with fresh flowers to be sniffed during an evening to cover the unpleasant smells of poor sanitation. (Kovels)

Is it a tussie mussie, a bouquetiere, a porte-bouquet, a nosegay or a posey holder? This funnel-shaped metal object was a fashionable accessory with an important purpose. In medieval times, the streets smelled from garbage and horses and other animals and lack of toilets. Women carried small bouquets of herbs and spices to cover the foul odors that they thought carried diseases.

By Victorian times, the bouquets were bunches of sweet-smelling flowers or tussies. The stems were kept moist in damp moss and they were named tussie mussies. They were held by the long handle, just under the ladies’ noses. Some were made with chains and a ring that went on a finger to hold the tussie mussie and others were made to pin to the waistband when the lady had to use her hands to climb out of a carriage or go downstairs holding a railing.

This tussie mussie is made with a chain and a tripod stand that folds up. The 4½-inch flower-holding cone is made of hinged, engraved silver with wrigglework flowers. It was made around 1875. It sold with two others for $1,188 at a New Orleans auction.


Q: I bought the prettiest, horn-shaped, pale-green planter at a thrift store recently. It is marked “Weller Pottery” on the bottom. What is the story behind it?


A: Samuel Augustus Weller started his own pottery business in 1872 in Fultonham, Ohio, making stoneware jars and clay flowerpots. In 1882, he moved his company to Zanesville, Ohio. By 1888, he was making “art pottery.” By 1915, Samuel Weller had established Weller Pottery as the world’s largest art pottery company with pieces in the arts and crafts, art nouveau, art deco and modernism styles. Weller Pottery closed in 1948. Your horn-shaped planter vase is common and seen frequently in thrift stores and antiques malls for $10 to $20.



Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.


Lladro votive light, lithophane, porcelain, etched dancer and nutcracker, decorated with sweets, flared bowl, domed cover, open top, 3½ inches, $25.

Toy, tow truck, wrecker, steel, blue and white paint, plastic balloon tires, Tonka, Model 54070, c. 1978, 9¼ x 16 inches, $85.

Kitchen, kettle on stand, apple butter, copper, rolled rim, bail handle, 1800s, 30½  x 26½  inches, $210.

Game board, parcheesi and checkers, pine with breadboard ends, square nail construction, blue, putty, yellow, black, red, green and white paint, Home square in center, c .1900, 20 x 20 inches, $375.


TIP: Don’t put these items in the dishwasher: wooden cutting boards, good china with added overglaze decoration like gold trim, gold-plated ‘silver ware,’ cast iron pans and anything repaired with glue. The heat can cause damage.


Looking to declutter, downsize or settle an estate? Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2022 by Terry and Kim Kovel has the resources you’re looking for.


© 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.