Crank it up and let it play
Q: While visiting our friend in New England, we observed a crank-operated record player in the corner of her dining room. Attached is a picture of it. Our friend, a widow, said it had belonged to her husband and she did not know anything about it. It is in pristine condition and sounds great. It still has a complete set of records, both large and small.
Could you please tell us about it and what its approximate value is?
A: Victor Talking Machine Company was in business from 1906 to 1929. Your phonograph was made before many homes had electricity. The cabinet style was inspired by Queen Anne period of furniture and the Queen Anne cabriole legs are often called spider legs. Victor Talking Machine Company wanted their cabinets to look like a piece of furniture that would fit into family parlors. Many of the cabinets were made of oak or mahogany.
Your phonograph was made around 1920 and would probably be worth $600 to $800.
Q: I have an antique silver plated footed butter dish that has been in my family for generations. I plan to pass it along to my daughter and she would like to know more about its history and value. I have enclosed the mark that is on the bottom of the dish. The overall height with the ornate handle is about 12 inches, and there is a hook on the side for the butter knife, which we still have. There is a glass insert, and the lid revolves to open. It is decorated with engraved flowers and leaves and the silver plate is in perfect condition. Also, we are thinking of insuring it.
Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
A: Meriden Britannia Company made your butter dish. They were established in Meriden, Conn. in 1852. In 1898, they merged with International Silver Company. Your dish is circa 1880 and was made of white metal that was triple plated with silver. Originally similar silver-plated butter dishes sold in the range of $10 to $15.
The current insurance value would probably be $425 to $575.
Address questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556.