Ask Antique Trader: Pretty pickle caster

Q I would like to know some information and the value of this cinnabar vase. The inside is brass and mounted on a wood base. I paid $100 in a second-hand store. – H.R, St. Louis, Mo.

A Supposedly antique cinnabar vases shouldn’t be mounted on a wood base that would cover any country of origin mark. Also, the interiors of of antique cinnabar vases are usually enamel or lacquer, not brass. I toured the Internet and found hundreds of new vases, similar to yours, costing around $50. Carved, red lacquer objects when called cinnabar refer to the color. When done in other colors it is considered carved lacquer, cinnabar style. Cinnabar pieces were imported to the U.S. in great quantity in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition and were popular in the 1930s. Faked pieces have been around since the 1940s to the current day.

Q I have three of these wax portraits of my wife’s great-great grandparents and her grandparents. They were made in Pforzheim, Germany, in 1843. We would like to know how they were made, and what type of people would have had them made, and the value. – B.G.,  Thomasville, Pa.

A Wax portrait miniatures were popular from 1700 to the 1840s when photography was introduced. It was an inexpensive way to preserve family likenesses as well as famous people. Plaster mold were shaped of the sitter, then covered with wax and painted with polychrome paints. Individually your portraits could sell for $500. As a family group an auction price could be as much as $2,000.

Q We would like to know the value of this caned high chair that folds into a rocking chair.
– E.R.O., Quincy, Mass.

A Your late 19th century high chair could sell for as much as $300.

Q I would like some idea of the value of my old childhood accordion. It is marked Walles Acc. Co. Chicago, Emenee. – A.B., Quincy, Mass.

A Your toy, Emenee, golden piano accordion dates to the 1950s. I found several examples for sale on eBay; the top offer was for $75. You could try listing it on a free ad site, such as Craig’s List. Try asking $100 if it is in perfect condition.

Q I bought this vase at a garage sale and was told it is 60 years old. No marks. It is 17 1/4 inches high. Any help appreciated. – C.S., Ft. Myers, Fla.

A Your ceramic vase is actually much older, dating  to the late 19th century, since it shows no country of origin marks. Many of this type were made in Germany. It could sell in a shop for $50 to $75.

Q We purchased what we assumed to be a triple pickle caster. Can’t find any information. We are sure the blue cut glass cups aren’t original nor is the one lid. Any information? – C.L., Orange, Calif.

A I think what you have is an example of a late 19th century restaurantware relish stand. That would explain the three containers.

Anne Gilbert is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of eight antiques and collectibles books, and is well known for her lectures to business and professional groups. She is a member of the Newspaper Features Council and Society of Illustrators. She can be reached via e-mail at

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