Kyle on Antiques: Confusing commemoratives

Q I have two of these horse-drawn carts. They’re 5 inches long by 3 1/2 inches tall. I believe it’s pre-1900. It is metal with a brassy finish. I would be interested in your comments and a value.
— C.H., Tucson, Ariz.

A You are correct that your little toy horse and hay wagon do appear to be made of a cast base metal with gold paint. It could well date from the early 20th century. Fine cast iron vehicles such as cars and trucks can bring very high prices from toy collectors. However, I’d say the value on this set is more modest, perhaps in the $45-$90 range.

I’ve sent you this photo of a plate with General Grant depicted. Could you tell me if it was made before or after he became president? There are no chips, cracks or marks on it. Does it have any value?
— F.K., Pittsburgh, Pa.

A Your square pressed glass plate with the Grant portrait is known as the “Grant Patriot and Soldier” plate so that it won’t be confused with another Grant commemorative plate called the “Let Us Have Peace” plate. It is round and features a border of maple leaves. Both these plates were produced around the time of Grant’s death in 1885 and came in several colors. Your example is in amber. If it is perfect, with no serious chips or cracks, I suspect it would be valued in the $75-$100 range.

Q I have this bottle. It is 9 inches tall and 8 inches around. On one side is “BEL FAST” and on the other “ROSS.” I would appreciate any information you might have about it.
— M.W., Portland, Ore.

A I recognized your bottle is being an old “soda water” bottle typical of the late 19th and early 20th century. It took some research but I learned that the “Ross’s – Belfast” bottle was widely exported from Ireland to the United States and examples are considered quite common among bottle collectors. My guess is that your example might be valued in the $25-$50 range.