Lovely Gibson girl candy box – even with damage – is worth a sweet $75

Gibson girl candy box appraisalIs the young lady featured on this vintage candy box truly a ‘Gibson Girl?”

Q I found this candy box in a box of 2,000 postcards from 1906-1923. The postcards are from all over the world and are of every holiday.
I love them. They tell the story of an immigrant family from Ireland who settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the 1800s.

Among the postcards were cards done by Samuel Schmucker. They are beautiful! I researched the artist S. Schmucker, and after the postcard craze he began painting girls pictures on candy boxes for the Mirror Candy Co. in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The family who sent the postcards had six sisters and four brothers, who were all in the Navy. The sisters worked for a candy company (not sure if it was the Mirror Candy Co.), and several cards were sent from Navy soldiers in World War I to the sisters. I found one card that reads, “The candy was dandy. May I call on you when I am in the Brooklyn Navy Yard?

From reading most of the cards, I concluded that the girls were putting their addresses in the candy boxes and sending them overseas to sailors (maybe serving as the first Match.com?) Do you think Samuel Schmucker did this candy box? I am also enclosing two postcard pictures: Tea in Transit to Wharf, Ceylon (Lipton Series); and The Magic Moving picture postcard. Can you tell me anything about them? — J.C., Steamboat Springs, Colo.

A What a lovely example of classic Gibson girl! I can not say for sure that this is not a Samuel L. Schmucker (1879-1921) example, but he used interpretations of his wife on most of his postcards and other art. In my opinion, this lovely lady is more in the classic style of Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944), who also painted ladies for candy boxes. The photo cuts off one side of the box, but I will assume it is intact.

The box has definite wear and what looks like some moisture discoloration. In this condition, my opinion of value is approximately $75 for retail insurance purposes and approximately $30 for resale. Samuel L. Schmucker postcards, often signed SLS in the artwork, are very desirable. In fine condition, they are  valued at $150 and up.

Your “Tea in Transit to the Wharf, Ceylon” Lipton Series postcard is circa 1910 and has a retail replacement value of approximately $10, as it looks to be in very fine condition. The resale/auction value would be approximately $4 to $5.

Your Magic Moving picture postcard is really an interesting and scarcer postcard collectible. The postal stamp on your card helps date it to 1908. Yours features a horse or donkey that moves along as you pull the sliding section of the card. There were circus, animal and even political examples made.

Your postcard has a replacement value of approximately $45 and a resale of approximately $20.

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Q I have had this little figurine for some 20 years, which came from my mother, who had it for probably 50 years. Though it is nothing extravagant, I have always wondered what it is supposed to be; where, when and by whom it was made; and its approximate value.
It is a male character with a pipe in his mouth and a dog between his legs. It appears that he is wearing a fez, which has a 1/2-inch diameter molded hole in the top.
The figure is 5 inches tall and the oval base measures 2 by 3 inches. — R.M., Bayville, N.J.

A You do not mention any marks or impressed numbers on your little buddy. Look on the bottom for impressed numbers and also an “L” or “GZL”.  Your little elf pixie was originally made in Japan, probably for Lefton China Company.  The very white face and the ring around the base are clues. He may have originally had a feather in his hat.

George Zoltan Lefton fled Nazi-occupied Hungary in 1938 to come to the United States. He was an avid collector of porcelain with very little knowledge of the process but forged ahead and started Lefton China in 1940.

When World War II started, Lefton helped a Japanese-American friend named Nurome, who later helped Lefton access the Japanese import market. Lefton’s company is known for its charming and whimsical figurines and lovely affordable china. Prices are not high as yet, as the company output was and is prolific. Lefton has a large following of collectors who remember growing up with these charming figurines that appeared both as everyday accents and special holiday decoration.

Yours appears to be a circa 1950 or earlier figurine. Pixies, elves and gnomes were extremely popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Your little guy is a wonderful example, with a replacement value of approximately $25.


just answer randeen cummingsRandeen M. Cummings Nelson is the principal at Cummings & Associates Personal Property Appraisal Services of Eugene, Ore. (541-345-5856). A speaker, writer and certified appraiser through the International Society of Appraisers, she operated her own antiques shop, Victorian Parlour Antiques, and  formerly managed the Coburg Inn Antique Shops of Coburg, Ore. She is an instructor on American Brilliant cut glass and has been featured in many antiques-related publications. In addition, Nelson works at JustAnswer as one of thousands of experts in more than 150 categories (including antiques and collectibles) who provide fast and reliable information to users.

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