ANTIQUES: Footstools have long history

By Terry and Kim Kovel

This Dimitri Omersa lion footstool auctioned at a Jeffrey Evans & Associates sale for $3,159. Other animals have sold at auction for $1,000 to $5,000. (

Footstools were used to elevate the feet of a person sitting in a chair as long ago as ancient Egypt. The stool was usually rectangular with four small feet. In the following centuries, footstools were made as long rectangles with four or more feet.

Small stools were kept for use by small, seated children whose feet could not reach the floor. Footstools were often made to match the upholstered furniture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ambitious housewives covered footstools with their needlepoint work.

In 1927, a man named Dimitri Omersa, who made luggage for the Liberty of London store, created a footstool shaped like a pig from leftover leather. He waxed and polished the leather. The store started to sell his footstools, and today there are 39 different Omersa & Company animal footstools sold by Liberty, Abercrombie & Fitch and other expensive stores. The footstools retail for about $3,000.


Q: I inherited my father’s antique bottles that he collected and traded in the late 1980s and ‘90s. They are mostly whiskeys, sodas, beer, tonics and cures. It’s a very extensive and valuable collection. I’d like it appraised for full or partial sale. I recently sold four boxes of sodas for $5,000. Any help is appreciated.

A: You need an expert to look at your father’s bottle collection. Some of your father’s bottle-collecting friends may be able to give you an idea of value or suggest an appraiser. Remember, you will have to pay for an appraisal. Be sure to tell the appraiser that you want the retail value, not an appraisal for insurance purposes only. Contact the major glass auctions to see if they are interested in selling the collection. They will tell you what they think they can get for the bottles. Ask how the sale will be advertised and what the commission and other charges will be.



Mickey Mouse doll, stuffed cloth, four stitched fingers, black jacket with gold fabric bands, red baggy pants, bow tie, yellow stuffed shoes each with a bell, tag, “Gund MFG Co, Swedlin Inc Licensee, 200 5th Ave, N.Y.C. 10,” 29 inches, $95.

Paper, poster, Billy Joel concert, Moore Theater, Seattle, November 21, 1976, portrait, white on black ground, 22 x 13 3/8 inches, $425.

Lamp, electric, ceramic base, double baluster form, flared cup top, shades of blue, etched patterned bands, Bitossi, marked Made in Italy, mid-1900s, 23 inches, pair, $940.

Print, Gene Kloss, Pueblo Leader, Native American man, drypoint etching, titled in corner, signed in pencil by artist, numbered 46 of 50, mid-1900s, framed size 25 x 22 inches, $1,770.


TIP: A white ring on a tabletop is in the finish, a black ring is in the wood. It is easier to remove a damaged finish ring than a wood stain.


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