Q&A on collecting
Talking tomato alarm tells time
Q: I am enclosing a photo of a plastic, talking Heinz alarm clock that I bought at auction more than 20 years ago. The Heinz tomato figure is wearing a top hat, monocle, black tux jacket with gray pants, gloves, black bow tie, spats and is holding a cane, and he has green leaves on his head. It stands about nine inches tall, and he is in perfect condition. When the alarm begins, it says, “It's time to get up, get up right away. Wake up before you play catsup all day. Remember Heinz is the thick rich one.” The alarm, time, minute and volume buttons are on the back. Could you tell me if it's worth anything?
A: Heinz Soup Company made this advertising/promotional clock around 1985. It has sold for more than $300 in the past, but now can be seen on eBay in the range of $25 to $120.
Q: This is a copy of the mark that is on the back of a porcelain plate that I have. It is 10 inches in diameter and decorated with a blue and white scene of a building titled “Detroit New County Building.” On the border are images of a school and other municipal buildings. Anything you can tell me about its age, history and value will be greatly appreciated.
A: This mark was used by New York importers Rowland and Marsellus. They imported porcelain made in Europe from around 1860 to 1938. The wares were distributed by businesses in the United States. They specialized in souvenir and historical wares. The scenes were usually blue and white transfer ware designs and often featured borders decorated with fruits and flowers. S. Hancock and Company, located in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and British Anchor Pottery Company, Staffordshire, England, were two of the potteries that produced the historical wares. Your plate was made around 1908 and would probably be worth $25 to $50.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P.O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Because of the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters.