Ask Antique Trader: Pow-wow drum worth $400


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Pow-wow drum.

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I have a pow-wow drum that my sister got back in the early ‘80s, while at a pow-wow in Mashpee, Mass. I am wondering if you can give me any info. on this. It measures about 12 inches by 25 inches and about 40 lbs. Thanks for any help you may give. — Dave, via email

Today tourists still flock to Mashpee, Mass., where a church first used in 1684 by the Wampanoag tribe for Christian services still stands. The modern pow-wow or gathering honors our Native American culture and naturally drum music is a focal point. Pow-wow drums like the one your sister has from the 1980s are made from bases covered with animal hide. Auction research came up with only one sale of a damaged pow-wow drum that went for a pittance. Then I found through Deadwood Gold located in Deadwood, S.D.,  a stellar pow-wow drum created in 1988 by well-known maker Thomas Spotted Wolf with an asking price of $895. Assuming your drum lacks an artist provenance, I would be very happy for you if it fetched between $300 and $400 at auction.

Today at a sale I bought an antique German porcelain tray and coasters. On the bottom they say Germany and 1913, which I am guessing is the year they were made. There are a total of six coasters. The design looks like a peach on a branch with leaves. The bottom also has the number 3163. If you have any idea how much this would be worth please let me know. I included some pictures. Thanks a bunch! — K.R. via email

Your beverage set dates from the 1920s or the 1930s when, thanks to modern refrigeration, lemonade and iced tea had become very fashionable. The number “1913” refers to a mold or manufacturer’s number, not the year of manufacturing. Remember, that your service is quality, a far more important trait than age. These stylish sets came in many colors and designs and were sold in department stores all across the country.  The tray was used for carrying drinks poured from cut glass or porcelain pitchers into matching tumblers while the coasters protected table tops. The reticulated gallery border, usually of silver-plate or pewter, helped avoid sliding disasters. Six coasters plus the matching tray is a real plus. In May 2007, Bill Hood & Sons auctioned a set similar to yours for $75.

Attached are pictures of a vase that has been in my family for about 50 years, and prior to that was found in the basement of a home being torn down. My brother and a group of his friends were playing in the basement of the demolished building and found this vase. I have been an antique lover for years, visiting many, many antique stores and shows as well as auctions, and  have never seen another vase such as this. Can you help? — L.P., Paris, Ill.

Your savvy brother was right about keeping the vase. The photos reveal fine quality and it does not surprise me that you have not seen one similar to yours. Since there are no marks, this has been a wonderful learning experience to authenticate your vase. Instincts told me that it was probably circa 1930s or 1940s, and the experts at Early Auctions of Milford, Ohio, felt that the vase could have been made either by Hawkes or Tiffin Glass Companies, both very fine firms. That fact that your vase is not signed does not trouble me. When doing research for comparable vases, I found that Classic Edge Auctions, during a Sept. 28, 2008, sale, auctioned for $90, a 6-inch tall vase, the same height as yours, made by Hawkes with that same lovely etched and opalescent silky design. Trying to be realistic in today’s market, your vase would probably fetch around $75 at auction.


Frank Farmer Loomis IV is an antiques and fine arts appraiser, lecturer, journalist and host of “Keep Antiquing!” a weekly radio show on WMKV radio in Cincinnati, Ohio, (www.keepantiquing.org). He is the author of Antiques 101 and Secrets to Affordable Antiques in addition to hosting “Antiques, History & Loomis” on Anderson Community Television, broadcast on Cincinnati Public Television.


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Pow-wow drum.
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German beverage tray.
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German beverage tray.
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Circa 1930s or 1940s vase.

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