My wife collects certain pieces of vintage jewelry produced in Occupied Germany after World War II. The pieces are made from what we suspect is aluminum, have a characteristic filigree background and have various motifs as their centerpiece (Nefertiti, Buddha, Sailing Ship, etc). We think that they were all made by the same company. The only distinctive mark on the back is a plate with the words “Germany U.S. Zone” on it.
We know that necklaces, bracelets and earrings were made. We believe they were sold in sets. We would like to know who manufactured them and how many different motifs were made. We are always looking to add new-to-us items to this collection.
— K.B., Aurora, Ill.
Postwar Germany was indeed divided into zones, each zone representing one of the four major allies: U.S., Britain, France and Russia. The U.S. Zone encompassed Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Wurttemberg, Bremen and Bremerhaven – all of which produced items marked “Germany U.S. Zone” from 1945-1949. Items such as porcelain, beads, buttons, toys and jewelry were produced, all utilizing this mark either alone or with company names. Many companies simply used the “Germany U.S. Zone” mark with no other identifying inscriptions. Jewelry was produced in a variety of metals including sterling, aluminum and other base metals. During the postwar occupied era, the following companies produced jewelry in the U.S. Zone for export: Alfred Tomesch, Emil Streit and Ewald Lucke, all located in Kaufbeuren, and Gustave Schmidt in Pforzheim.
These companies are still in business today and may very well be able to provide more information on the types of jewelry they produced during that time period. This particular type of metal filigree jewelry was made in parure, demi-parure and as single pendants, pins, necklaces and bracelets. A quick search determines that these items are available online at the better-known retail (Etsy.com, RubyLane.com) and auction sites.
This summer, while visiting my mom in Texas, she gave me a scrapbook of very old newspaper clippings. The clippings were about the atomic bomb, very old articles of the very first airplanes we used in war, football players and comic strips, including comic strips about Hysteria, just to name a few. The book they are in has a date of 1936.
Can you lead me down the right path of seeing if its valuable or even how to donate to a museum? Thank you.
— A.E., via email
Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, without more specific information such as the size of the book, number of pages, dates of articles, types of photographic images, comic illustrators and a few highlight photographs, it is extremely difficult to identify what you have or assess it for value. The 1936 date on the book may refer to the date the scrapbook was started; the WWII articles would not have been printed until after Dec. 7, 1941, and the atomic bomb articles not until 1945.
Scrapbooks containing pre-1920 postcards, early 20th century photographs, die cuts, advertising premiums or even movie stars bring premium prices. Those World War II scrapbooks with newspaper clippings and comics alone are easily found for less than $20 to $30. This is something that would certainly have more value in the geographic area serviced by the newspapers included in the book, or by one of the libraries in that area.