Q. Is my black-painted potbelly stove purchased several years ago at a flea market valuable? It's 57 inches high and 27 inches wide, and was made by Southard, Robertson Co.
A. Your freshly painted wood- or coal-burning parlor stove was made around 1910 in Peekskill, N.Y. A dealer likely would pay about $150 for it in its present condition, said vintage stove restorer and dealer David Erickson, of Erickson's Antique Stoves, 2 Taylor St., Littleton, Mass. 01460, (508) 486-3589. The two skirts around its middle, ring at the top, and finial on the cover originally were nickel-plated. A restorer probably would replace the nickel finish and clean and reline the stove's interior and firebox. Mr. Erickson said he'd retail a stove like yours fully restored for $600 to $700.
The market for antique coal- and wood-burning stoves heated up during the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Two decades later, demand remains strong, primarily fueled by folks attracted to their decorative appeal. Cost varies regionally, with New England dealers generally getting the highest prices, since during cold winters wood-burning stoves often are back-up heat sources should furnaces malfunction.
Dealer and restorer Bea Bryant, RFD 2, Box 2048, Thorndike, Maine 04986, (207) 568-3665, has a huge inventory of restored vintage stoves. She suggests watching out for cracks in stove grates, liners and oven fire walls when buying unrestored stoves, since cracks can be difficult to repair and some replacement parts are virtually impossible to obtain. Also, ensure that a restored stove is installed according to local codes and operates safely.
The Peekskill Museum has an exhibit of old stoves on view through the summer, including several Southard, Robertson models. For information, call (914) 736-0473.
Q. How much is my Hopalong Cassidy watch in its original box worth?
A. Your watch made between 1949 and 1956 by U.S. Time or Timex could be worth as much as $200 to $400 in mint condition, said collector Ron Pieczkowski, 1707 Orange Hill Drive, Brandon, Fla. 33510, (813) 685-2338, who has been amassing Hopalong memorabilia for the past 12 years. If it's worn or doesn't run, the value falls by at least half. With its original log cabin decorated box in good condition containing a saddle-shaped watch stand, it could fetch up to $600. Used Hopalong Cassidy watches without their boxes generally sell for around $50 in running order, Mr. Pieczkowski added.
Millions of items depicting actor William Boyd as the fictional Wild West hero Hopalong Cassidy were made during the 1940s and '50s, according to the recently published "Collectors' Guide to Hopalong Cassidy Memorabilia" by Joseph J. Caro (L-W Books, $20.95 postpaid from the author, P.O. Box 7486, Long Beach, Calif. 90807). Hopalong collectibles include the first character lunch box for children, a circa-1950 blue or red metal box with square or scalloped-edged decal in the center, worth around $150 in excellent condition. Hopalong cap guns in single holsters can fetch $175 to $500, while a Hopalong flashlight might sell for $85 to $270. Movie studio still photos and movie posters can sell for as little as $5 or as much as several hundred dollars each, depending on condition, subject, demand, and if they're autographed by Boyd. Reproductions abound, so buy carefully.
Q. I have a heavy metal table lamp, about 19 inches high, with a four-panel opaque white glass and metal shade rimmed with lovely metal swags. There are two Indian heads molded into the lamp base's neck. How old is my lamp and what's it worth?
A. Your 1920s lamp by an unknown maker is worth between $300 and $350, according to vintage lamp and lighting dealer Charles Neri, 313 South St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147, (215) 923-6669. It's probably made of white metal, an alloy, which has been painted to resemble bronze. You can test the material yourself by making a small scratch on the underside of the lamp base. If the scratch mark is silver-colored, it's made of white metal; if it's gold-colored, it's bronze. Bronze lamp bases generally fetch higher prices than alloys.
Have a question about an antique or collectible? Write to the Solis-Cohens, P.O. Box 304, Flourtown, Pa. 19031-0304, enclosing a clear photo of the whole object and all marks, and noting its size. If you want your photo returned, include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Personal replies are not possible, but questions of general interest will be answered in this column.