Chair's components made to resemble spools of thread


Q: How old and valuable is my small "spool chair," which I inherited from an aunt? Its seat is only 13 1/2 inches off the floor, and the top of its back is just 32 1/2 inches high.

A: Your American walnut side chair, dating from around 1850 to 1860, is called a "spool chair" because of the way its legs, stretcher, stiles, spindles and top rail have been turned, or carved, on a lathe to resemble empty spools of thread placed end to end. Its size suggests it probably was made for a child. Victorian furniture dealer Joan Bogart (P.O. Box 265, Rockville Centre, N.Y. 11571, [516] 764-0529) says it could retail for around $500 in good condition. Doll collectors are partial to Victorian children's furniture.

Q: Are my British royal commemoratives valuable? One is a Royal Doulton mug for the coronation of King Edward VIII, which never took place. It has a lavish color picture of the monarch. The other is a dinner-size plate by Alfred Meakin from the 1937 coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

A: Thousands of souvenirs were manufactured and distributed in anticipation of the coronation of King Edward VIII (1894-1972), better known today as the Duke of Windsor. It was scheduled for May 1937, but he abdicated the throne on Dec. 10, 1936, to marry Baltimore divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson. The scandal adds luster to your mug, but because so many were saved, they're not worth a royal ransom. Assuming it's in good condition, your mug could retail for around $75 to $100, according to royal commemorative dealer Richard D. Hillman, of the House of Hillman, in Lynn, Mass. Your plate made for the coronation of Edward VIII's brother, George VI, is worth about $50 to $60, he said.

British royal commemorative mugs and beakers generally bring slightly higher prices than plates.

Q: How much is my perpetual calendar wall clock worth? It's made by Welch, Spring & Co., Bristol, Conn., and is in perfect working order. The top dial has Roman numerals for the hours, with the days of the week abbreviated in a smaller circle toward its center. The smaller lower dial has two hands, Arabic numbers 1 to 31 in a circle, and abbreviations for the months. It's marked "B.B. Lewis's Perpetual Calendar" with four patent dates from 1862 to 1868.

A: Your double-dial wall clock in a rosewood veneer case was made between 1868 and 1884 and is worth around $500 to $700, said vintage clock dealer and repairer Gordon Converse, 1029 Lancaster Ave., Berwyn, Pa. 19312, (215) 296-4932. He'll be among the 60 exhibitors at Antiques at the Armory, a show and sale Friday through next Sunday, at Philadelphia's 33rd Street Armory.

Lewis' patented perpetual calendar mechanism adjusts automatically to account for 30- and 31-day months, and leap years.

In contrast, ordinary calendar clocks need to have their cases opened and manual adjustments made at the end of each 30-day month and February.

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