Ask Antique Trader: Avoid confusing ‘souvenir’ glass with Carnival glass

Q I bought this marble and slate mantel clock at auction for $100. Just above the bell it is stamped “Tiffany & Co.” What is it worth?
— A.M., Toughenamon, Pa.

A Before 1875 black marble (slate) mantel clocks were imported from France. After that they were also made, and popular, in America, until around 1910. Your clock, was probably made in France, and the works, by Tiffany & Co., made in America. It could have a shop price of over $500.

Q This ruby-and-clear-glass goblet is engraved “to my daughter-1891.” The story that has been handed down in my family is that my great-grandmother won this at a carnival in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and gave it to my grandmother. Can you tell me whether glasses such as this were actually game prizes in carnivals and the value?

A Old family legends can be fascinating. What you have is known as “souvenir” glass. In the late 19th century it was a popular custom to give not only glass items but ceramic cups as gifts, either for special occasions or just for good wishes. The glassware did begin as souvenirs of towns, famous places and fairs, including the 1876 Centennial celebration. A figural of the Liberty Bell was popular. Typical items were small tumblers, mugs and glasses. This type of glass is technically known as “deep-ruby-red to clear-cut and etched crystal.” Carnival glass was totally different and beginning in 1905, its many designs were pressed in molds and made by many makers. Your tumbler has sentimental value only. A shop price could be $50.

Q What can you tell me about this ceramic calf? Is it an individual creamer? It has no markings. I bought it at a church rummage sale.
— L.M., Galeton, Pa.

A From your photo you appear to have a planter and an example of California pottery, probably made in the 1940s. Since it has no signature it could have had a paper label. It could sell in an antique shop for $25.

Q For a number of years I have collected bronze balustrade finials. I suspect if not most, many were made in France. Several have a mark ST on the base, apparently a foundry mark, which I have been unable to identify. Any information about the finials and foundry marks is greatly appreciated.
— E.A.B., Freeport, Fla.

A My research under 19th century French foundries and architectural antiques with an “ST” mark came up empty. The same for bronze finials. Since there were many foundries operating in France at that time, my suggestion is a book, Bronzes-Sculptors and Foundries 1800-1930 by Herald Berman (1974, Schiffer Publishing).

Anne Gilbert is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of eight antiques and collectibles books, and is well known for her lectures to business and professional groups. She is a member of the Newspaper Features Council and Society of Illustrators. She can be reached via e-mail at

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