Ask Antique Trader: First edition book rescued from trash could fetch $900

My mom, who is 93, inherited this pair of glass ducks years ago. As you see, they have glass eyes. A paper inside read “1885-1893, Brackenridge Ballfield. 1885-1893, Challinor Taylor.” What can you tell me about them and the value?
— M.L.A., Pittsburgh, Pa.

Milk glass dishes with figural covers were popular collectibles in the late 19th century. They were made by many American glass companies, such as Westmoreland, Challinor Taylor, Fenton and others. Early pieces used arsenic in the process, resulting in opalescence around the rims. Reproductions were made in the 1950s. Until then, prices were several hundred dollars.

However, by the 1980s they were out of fashion and prices dropped. Your covered dishes could be priced at $75 to $150 in a shop.

My late father’s estate included many old books, most with condition problems. Because of that, my sister wanted to trash them. However I saved a favorite that my father read to me when I was a small boy: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. It has some small tears and discoloration. However it says, “N.Y. Webster and Co. 1885. First Edition.” It has many wonderful illustrations. While I will never part with it, does it have any value other than sentimental?
 — Anonymous

Often, regardless of condition, a book can be quite collectible and valuable. Many factors determine the price, among them rarity, interest, age and first editions. Your book could sell at auction for $900 or more, as is.

This transfer print jar belonged to my great-grandfather and it now is mine. The problem is it has a large chip on the lid. I would like to know something about it and if it is worthwhile to have it restored.
— T.C., Jupiter, Fla.

You have an early 19th century English ceramic tobacco jar. In good condition it, could sell at auction for several hundred dollars. However, it could cost that much to have it professionally restored.

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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“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.

We love hearing from readers, so let us know what you like about Antique Trader and how we can improve the magazine. We cannot provide valuations of antiques and collectibles over the phone, nor can we provide personal responses to individual submissions.

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