Ask AT: Japanese Sumida Gawa bowl may be worth about $900-$1,200

Q. I am writing to you to see if you or one of your staff may help me identify an item I purchased at an estate sale.

Chinese Mudmen pottery valuesI do not know much about it, except it came from the estate of a retired doctor who was well traveled and that almost everything in the house was from the 1950s back to the late 1800s. Thank you in advance for any time you may devote to this request. — R.G., via email

A. Your bowl is an interesting find. I’m not surprised you discovered this in the collection of someone who was well traveled. You purchased a rather nice Japanese Sumida Gawa bowl. The age can be determined by the colors as circa 1880-1930. Originally made in Asakusa and later dates in Yokohama, this piece is signed by the founder and original potter, Ryosai (Inoue). It would be worth a minimum of $900 to $1,200 if in perfect condition.

Special thanks to readers Doreen D. Russell, Vice President of Ming’s Asian Gallery & The Zen Collection, 10217 Main Street, Bellevue, Wash., and Merlin Niehaus of Gatesville, Texas. Both will recieve free copies of the Warman’s 2013 Price Guide for their help on this.

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Sentinel steel lock box alarmQ. I have owned this for years. Looking around the Internet, I do not seem to find any similar items. It is the size of a hand-held tool box, with a locking lid and a slot on top. Under the handle is a trigger that seems one must hold to keep the alarm silent. I believe it to be from the early 1900s. The I.D. tag reads: Sentinel model # J, Steel Products Co. Inc., Kansas City, MO ser# 24657, the keys read, Grip Tumbler Cylinder Locks. — S.Z., via email

A. Your lockbox is a curiosity, indeed. For such an icon of security, not many examples of this box remain on the open market. Certainly many exist in church basements or workshops such as yours, but they are hard to track down. It was made in the 1920s. Boxes like these were used for a variety of purposes. The alarm could be set to sound when the lid was lifted with or without the key. That way the owner could find out when anyone was “dipping into the kitty,” so to speak. It’s valued around $40 to $50.

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