Ask Antique Trader: Mechanical store display holds its value at $2,200

We purchased this cabinet recently and the shelves are mechanically operated. With the raising of each handle, the rack moves up and brings merchandise forward. The shelves were long metal posts, we replaced them with wood-shelves to display our collection. Any information would be  appreciated.
— K.S. & E.S., Fort Collins, Colo.

A The cabinet makers of Grand Rapids, Mich., early 1900s, made an enormous impact on America’s furniture industry. This ribbon/lace display cabinet was made by Peninsular Furniture Company, one of dozens of firms that produced quality and utilitarian pieces. They manufactured state-of-the-art display cabinets with custom glass-doors. Often, specialized display material and cases were given to store owners in exchange for selling a particular item or brand. It is unimaginable that ribbon was such a big seller, but this was before store-bought clothes and soft-goods were expensive. The rolls would be threaded through the horizontal metal posts; the more you showcase, the more you sell. Not only would the merchandise remain clean, it stayed neatly arranged, and was presented for examination. Your  curved, glass-paneled cabinet has a value of $2,200. The beautiful four-tower oak case sets flush to the wall and is 7 ft. tall and 5 ft. wide.

Roy Rogers, Wiley Post lampQ Could you tell me value on this lamp?
— O.A., Levelland, Texas

A This Will Rogers and Wiley Post lamp was manufactured as a memorial for two famous men that were loved throughout America. The disastrous flight happened near Point Barrow, Alaska, and claimed both lives. Will Rogers, (1879-1935) descended on the landscape as a man of wit and wisdom that proclaimed the need to laugh, which was sorely needed with the Great Depression raging. Wiley Post (1898-1935) was the first aviator to complete a successful solo flight around the world. The raised-relief figural lamp is cast-metal with a terrestrial-globe base, depicting both men and the down-fallen two-seater plane. The metal surface appears to be good and the glass-globe is original. The Gibraltar Electric Clock Company, Jersey City, N.J., made novelty lamp bases, clock cases and considered them art. Many were of famous or political figures and have a built-in night light. Originally there were four choices of globe shape, all with a celestial influence. The value of your lamp is approximately $1,200.

Q Can you give me a value on a Nodark Camera?
— R.S. Delmar, New York

A In 1901 Nodark cameras were taken off the market when Kodak filed patent-right infringement. Both Vienna, Austria, and British courts ordered the imitation items and all documents destroyed. The name  Nodark was to similar to the trademark of Kodak. This wood-box camera held 26 exposures, was introduced in 1899 and was credited to the Popular Photograph Company, N.Y. This new dry-plate process could give exposure and development without the use of a darkroom. The entire procedure was on-site and swift, hence, “no dark.” After shooting the picture, a slide opened and the plate dropped into the detachable metal developing-tank.

The nickel-plated dial had 26 notches corresponding to the plate number, the camera was to be held waist high and capable of shooting vertical or horizontal photos. The camera price of $6 included 26 plates. An additional 26 plates were 75 cents more.

Interest in Nodark cameras is surfacing, but without comparatives, value is only what a person is willing to pay. It is a curiosity, and has historical value.  

Barbara J. Eash, a member of The Certified Appraisers Guild of America, likes to say, “Antiques are memories that you can touch with your hand.” While living in Tennessee Eash coordinated the annual NBC Channel 3 appraisal fair and was known as the Chattanooga Antiques Lady. She has managed two antique shops, and has appraised for TV shows, clinics and in court. Now living in Wisconsin, she chairs Milwaukee Public Television’s annual appraisal fair. Her two office locations are in antiques shops in Waukesha and New Berlin, Wis.

“Ask Antique Trader” submission guidelines

You can send your questions to “Ask Antique Trader” either by e-mail with attached digital images (preferred) or by regular mail with color prints (photos cannot be returned). In either case, be as detailed as possible regarding condition, dimensions and markings. As always, we’ll select the best examples to feature in our pages.

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