Q: Where can I find information on fancy wicker furniture used by photographers in the late 19th century? How can I learn to distinguish such furniture from other antique wicker pieces?
A: For starters I suggest you study old photographs taken by professional photographers. They often posed their subjects on wicker furniture -- chairs, benches and other elaborate pieces embellished with stick and ball, curlicue and fancy scrollwork designs. A book on the subject, which also prices these old pieces (they range from $450 to $900), is "Fine Wicker Furniture -- 1870-1930," by Tim Scott, available for $26.95 postpaid from Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1469 Morstein Road, West Chester, Pa. 19380. The book is illustrated with color photos.
Q: Where can I find country baskets made in America? I'm especially interested in egg and apple baskets, as well as baskets in graduated sizes.
A: American basketmaker John Cwiak offers handmade baskets ranging from egg to melon to key to cradle types, from $15. Mr. Cwiak fashions his charming baskets from slip reed or sea grass and weaves wool into them. For information, write to Mr. Cwiak at 229 S. Center St., Bensenville, Ill. 60106; phone (708) 595-0137 after 3 p.m.
American baskets can also be found at country antiques shows. American baskets made in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and environs, as well as by the Cherokee Indians, are described in "Baskets and Basketmakers in Southern Appalachia," by John Rice Irwin, available for $16.95 postpaid from Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1469 Morstein Road, West Chester, Pa. 19380. Also available from Schiffer is "Baskets," by Nancy Schiffer, for $21.95 postpaid. It illustrates and describes hundreds of baskets from America and abroad. To check out values of baskets ranging from American Indian types to 20th century imports, consult the "Wallace-Homestead Price Guide to Baskets -- 2nd Edition," by Frances Johnson, $19.45 postpaid from Wallace-Homestead Book Co., 1 Chilton Way, Radnor, Pa. 19089; phone (800) 345-1214.
Q: Could you please provide me with an address where I can find information on old figural candy containers like those once sold in dime stores?
A: Write to the Candy Container Collectors of America, Box 1088, Washington, Pa. 15301. Membership, which includes the bimonthly Candy Gram newsletter, is $18 a year. Containers, descriptions and values can be found in the "Complete American Glass Candy Containers' Handbook," available for $26.45 postpaid from JO-D Books, 81 Willard Terrace, Stamford, Conn. 06903; phone (203) 322-0568.
Anita Gold can be reached by writing Anita Gold, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore 21278. Selected questions will appear in her column. The volume of mail makes individual replies impossible. When writing sources listed in this column, enclose an addressed, stamped envelope for replies.