Mystery antiques: The Great Unknown

The Great Unknown

Every week, “Ask Antique Trader” receives scores of inquiries from
readers, seeking more information about a recent find, a gift from a
friend or relative, or an oddity that’s been sitting on a shelf for

We pass all of these questions along to our panel of experts, but once
in awhile, we get a question about an object that stops us in our
tracks. We want to share these unusual treasures with readers in the
hope that they’ll offer their opinions and perhaps enlighten us all.

at_6_17_dscn1990.jpg“Ask Antique Trader” will feature these oddities on a regular basis in
the print and online editions of the magazine. Send your comments to

I’ve seen many cast-iron picture frames over the years, but never one
like this. Instead of the usual scrolls, it has a jack-in-the-pulpit
motif. I think it must be quite rare.


Can you help identify this item?

at_6_17_at_g.jpgI bought this item at
an auction. No one there knew what it was. I searched through all my
furniture books and took it once to a local appraiser, and he was also
stumped. The pyramid shape is just decorative. The inside is a square
box. The feet have felt-like material attached. Would you be able to
tell me what it is and what it’s worth?     — J.M., Cape May, N.J.

Post a reply here on the blog or e-mail your replies to