Antique Detective Q & A: Carafes, Pipes and Cards

By Anne Gilbert
   Q. I found this strange, sort of pitcher-shaped object at a local garage sale. It is china and 10” high. On the bottom it is signed “Russel Wright china by Iroquois.” I paid $30 for it, simply because I am beginning to collect vintage and modern. I know Wright was a famous industrial designer of many things. Did I find a treasure? What is this actually?
   A. You did find a treasure in a truly mid-century modern design. It is a carafe in the “Biomorphic” design and considered a rare example of the pieces he designed for Iroquois china. He designed for Bauer Pottery as well. Many of his dinnerware sets were also made of Melamine plastic. He was a prolific designer of furniture and many types of objects in the modern style. Since you are a beginning collector there are many books on Wright and his creations. Your carafe could sell in a retail setting for as much as $150 or more.
   Q. My late father loved smoking this Briar pipe. It is in near perfect condition. It has an unusual shaped bowl. I know nothing about it or pipes. I think it would date to the 1930s. On the stem is a white cloverleaf mark and “imported.” It is 5 1/8” long. What can you tell me about briar pipes and the value of this?
   A. Briar pipes first became popular in the middle of the 19th century. They were made from the briar of the Heath tree, found only in the Mediterranean Sea, where they were harvested and dried. The Kaywoodie Company was one of many to begin making and importing briar pipes beginning in the 1930s. Their pipes were marked with a cloverleaf. Your pipe shape is known as a “poker” pipe. It could sell to a collector for over $200.
   Q. Our family has always been a bunch of card players. They had two decks they used over the years. This old deck was the favorite. It says Bicycle Brand, #808. As you see the image on the back is an old car. The deck is complete and in good condition for the age. Is it worth more than sentimental value? What is the age?    A. A card collector would love your deck. Historically the Bicycle brand playing cards were first introduced in 1885 by Russell Morgan Printing Co. At the time 82 different back designs were introduced reflecting the new types of mobile transportation. Bicycles, automobiles, etc. Your “Racer” motif was introduced in 1928. Collecting old cards is growing in popularity. In a retail setting yours could sell for $100.00 or more. It is a family heirloom.
   Do you have an antique item and need more information? For a personal reply send a photo, along with history, size and any signatures with a self-addressed and stamped envelope and $25 to Anne Gilbert, 1811 Renaissance Cmns.Blvd., #2319, Boynton Beach, FL, 33426

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *