Q&A ON COLLECTING
Sewing machine was built to last
Q: Enclosed is a photo of an old portable sewing machine. It is electric, has a hard plastic carrying case and is in good working condition. On the top are the words in gold “Best Built Sewing Machine Supply Co., Inc.” It has been stored for over 30 years. I would like to know if it has any value as a collectible, where it was made and how old it is.
A: Your sewing machine was made in Japan around 1960. Between the 1940s and 1960s, a dozen or so Japanese companies produced a plethora of sewing machines based on the popular Singer Model 15. They gave them a variety of names that appealed to the United States' market that included “Sanger” and “Happy Lite.” The Japanese factories also made sewing machines for Sears, Wards and other large department stores. Additionally, they made them in colors from pink to red. Even though they were sturdy and operated as well as the American Singers, there is not a demand for these sewing machines as collectibles. In most cases, their value is low and can be found selling from $20 to $100. Occasionally, one pops up on the Internet in the $100 to $500 range. Those sellers are optimistic, and I can't document one selling that high.
Q: I have enclosed the mark that is on the bottom of a porcelain chocolate pot set that I have. It was a gift from my godmother. She always had it in her antique china cabinet, and I admired it whenever I visited her. She told me it had been her grandmother's and she wanted me to have it. The set included a pot, six cups and six saucers. It is decorated with pastel colored flowers, green leaves, gold trim against a white background, and it is in perfect condition. I would never part with it, but I would like to know more about its history. Who was the manufacturer; what is its age; and what is its value?
A: You have a fine example of R.S. Prussia porcelain that is highly desirable. This mark was used by Reinhold Schlegelmilch in Tillowitz, Silesia, Germany. They were in business from the 1870s to 1956. Your chocolate pot set was made around 1880 and would probably be worth $275 to $375.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556.