Q&A ON COLLECTING
Collectors clamor for cow butter molds
Q: Enclosed is a photo of an antique clear-glass butter mold. When the butter is extracted from the mold, it produces an impression of a cow on the top of the butter.
How old is it, where was it made, and what is its current value?
A: Glass butter molds were made from around 1875 to the early 1900s. Wood molds were also available. People often preferred the glass molds, because they were cleaner and didn't retain unpleasant smells. Images of cows, flowers or stars were embossed in the bottom of the glass. The wood plunger was used to push the butter out and then revealed the image imprinted on the butter.
Cow molds were preferred by collectors by a country mile. Check your glass mold. Some were marked with the name of the manufacturer or a patent date.
There are reproductions on the market, and they generally have no identifying marks.
Your butter mold was made in the late 1800s, and if it is in pristine condition, it would probably fetch $100 to $200 in an antiques shop.
One with some wear and a chip or two would probably sell from $25 to $50.
Q: This mark is on a set of Noritake dishes that we recently inherited.
There are 94 pieces in the set and not a chip or scratch on any of them. Each dish is decorated with a scrolled burgundy border and gold trim. Also within the scroll are bouquets of flowers. The background is white.
We have researched books on Noritake and cannot find this pattern.
I know this is very little information, but can you give us any idea of the value of our dishes?
We don't intend to sell it; we are just curious.
A: Noritake China Company is located in Japan and began selling their porcelain dinnerware for the American market in 1904.
Its dinnerware was also sold on military bases, especially after World War II.
Anything marked “Occupied Japan" was made during the United States' occupation of Japan from 1946 to 1952.
Identifying Noritake patterns can be very difficult if the name of the pattern or a pattern number is not included with the mark. An Internet search can sometimes turn up answers.
Your Circa 1946 dinnerware should be insured for $800 to $1,200.
Address questions to Anne McCollam, P.O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters.