Q I purchased what looks to be a letter opener or knife, I’m not sure which, at a garage sale and cannot find anything about it. There’s a 1788 DEI Gratin coin on the top of it and a small inscription on the blade of a horse head and the letters LVO. Any information would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Handmade Opener Carries Unique Story
A This is a handmade knife/letter opener using a pence coin of George III. The date, 1788, is correct and the inscription is Georgius III Dei Gratia Rex (George, by the grace of God, King). A craftsman also has taken an old coin, holed to hang around the neck, which was common then, and attached it to a blade.
An ornate design was engraved on the blade, probably tapped in with a stylus and mallet while resting on a leather pad. This would be the type of craftsmanship seen in the British Empire in the 19th century. We do not know where this was done but the piece has the look of such an item coming out of British India. Obviously, an old worn coin was used so the piece was never very expensive.
That said, as a conversation piece from the British Empire it would sale for about $45 in most venues.
If it could only talk, a very interesting story could be revealed of its ownership by a famous military figure. Unfortunately, we are not that lucky. The coin is what is known as a filler. This is one used to fill a hole in a collection until a better specimen can be found. Because of the hole and being so worn, it has very little monetary value.
Label Dryer Represents Sentimental Value
Q I was wondering if you have any idea what this is? Found it in parents’ attic [father was tool and die maker], I cannot find anything like it online and Philips Corp. has no clue. It is some kind of device for affixing labels. Still heats up when plugged in. Thanks for any info.
A W.M. has an obsolete label dryer used when nothing was automated. These were used to securely adhere labels to paper or cellophane by drying the gum on the back of the label itself.
This was all manual work and the dryer is an industrial use item from the period just after World War II into the early 1960s. As a curiosity, it would have a small value but probably has a higher emotional value because it was used by his father.