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 years.

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.

“Ask Antique Trader” will feature these oddities on a regular basis in the print and online editions of the magazine.

Send your comments to or post a reply here on the Antique Trader blog.

AT 4-22 mystery item DSCN1979.jpgI found this cast-iron duckling in a Minnesota antique shop several years ago. He’s about 10 inches tall. My wife thinks it’s an architectural fragment but I say it’s the remains of a sprinkler. Do you know where it may have come from?

— Posted by Karen