ANTIQUES AND COLLECTING: Toleware has a colorful history

This 19th-century 10-inch-high painted tin coffeepot sold in a Cowan auction for $544. (

Toleware was popular in New England and nearby areas in the 1700s. Collectors today identify the existing pieces by similarities in the shapes and painted decorations on newly discovered pieces.

Two paint colors were used as the base coat to protect the tin from rust; black or red was used in Pennsylvania, but only black was favored in parts of New England.

Pennsylvania makers usually made a straight spout and a handle with an extra piece to reinforce the curve in the handle. New England makers favored a simple curved handle. The body was a lighthouse shape, and tinsmiths made a gooseneck spout. Yellow, green, red and white flowers and leaves were stenciled on as decorations. The tinware lost favor when copper and silver plate became more available because tin often rusted. But some of the small utensils, such as cookie cutters and funnels, remained in use.


Q: I have many fond memories of a toy clock I played with in the 1960s and was surprised recently to find that old toy in a bin from my parent’s garage. It was made by Fisher-Price Toys and is called the Tick Tock Clock. How much is it worth?

A: The bright red Fisher-Price Wind-Up Teaching Clock you are talking about was made from 1964 to 1968. It was made to look like the front of a schoolhouse, complete with a teacher welcoming children in the front door and a school bell at the top of the toy, near the bright yellow handle. When you wound it up, it played the Grandfathers Clock Song. The clock face had big numbers, images of the sun and moon, and the clock hands moved around as the song played. It taught motor skills and how to tell time. In good condition, the clock sells for around $60.


TIP: Can’t hook the catch on your bracelet? Tape one end of the bracelet to your wrist, then close the catch.




Tramp art box, chip carved from mahogany cigar boxes, pyramid form with 13 layers, lift off cover with porcelain knob, traces of old cigar box labels, 5 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 10 inches, $175.

Print, lithograph, Honorary Degree, two men in academic robes presenting hood to a third man, signed by Grant Wood in pencil, limited edition of 250 published by Associated American Artists, 1938, framed, 22 3/4 x 17 1/2 inches, $1,770.

Furniture, table, farmhouse, French Provincial, cherry and walnut, rectangular top over wide skirt with drawer on one long side, square tapered legs, 1800s, 30 3/4 x 98 x 35 1/2 inches, $2,125.


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.


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ANTIQUES: Businesses used oversized objects for identification before electric signs