Ask Antique Trader: Antique hat pin is worth $200

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You may send your questions to “Ask Antique Trader” either by e-mail with attached digital images (preferred) or by regular mail with color prints (photos cannot be returned and individual replies cannot be made).

Ask Antique Trader, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001. askat@fwmedia.com

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Art Deco hat pin.

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I found this horseshoe shape hat pin while sorting out my late aunt’s jewelry. A jeweler told me it is 14 karat gold with diamonds and offered me $25, pointing out that nobody was buying hat pins these days. Was he right? – Name Withheld

There are collectors and jewelry dealers who would love your antique hat pin. They look for designs made from the 1890s to the 1920s. The Art Nouveau influence resulted in some of the most beautiful examples. Human heads, mythological beings, flowers and butterflies were combined with enamel, various metals, glass, shells and crystals. Horseshoe motifs were the most common. A dealer in antique jewelry could price yours at around $200.

Can you tell me how old this framed bank display sign is and the value. I bought it in Salina, Kan. years ago. – D.L.S., Taretum, Pa.

A   A dealer in architectural artifacts could price your bank sign at $400 or more. It dates from the 1920s-30s. Obviously it would be of interest to Kansas collectors.

My husband, now deceased, loved playing the slots. He bought this nickel slot machine many years ago for our family room. I don’t know anything about slots or their value. This one says “Bell Fruit Gum, Mills Novelty Co. Chicago, Illinois.” It still works. I would like to sell it and know something about it. – T.S., Jacksonville, Fla. 

Mills was the largest manufacturer of slot machines for more than 50 years. The coin-machine dynasty began in 1891. In 1931 the company introduced its new silent line, with a silent mechanism and diamond designs on chrome. Its first post-World War II slot machine changed the design; cherries replaced the  diamond motif. In 1945, what are now known as the “black cherry” Mills machines came into use. Your black-cherry “Bell Fruit Gum” machine was made in 1945. It could sell at auction for $500 or more, in good working order.


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More Images:

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Antique State Bank sign.
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Mills nickel slot machine.

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