Kyle on Antiques: A plate, a pin and a mandolin

14pina AT 3-19.jpgQ I recently acquired an unusual item at an estate sale for a bargain of 25 cents. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Enclosed is a picture. I would greatly appreciate your aid to identify its purpose and possible value.
– R.G., Gowanda, N.Y.

A Generally I can’t really tell much about a piece from only a sketch, but I wanted to let you know that the marking “Coro” on your pin is the name of a manufacturer of quality costume jewelry. I believe this is probably just a decorative brooch rather than some sort of an actual medal. Coro produced a wide range of jewelry from the 1940s through the 1960s so I can’t really date your piece. Some Coro pins can sell in the $50-$100 range while more unique examples can bring several hundred dollars.

13mandolin AT 3-19.jpgQ I’m trying to find out information and value of this mandolin. I found it in my grandfather’s basement. I’ve been to several antique shows and paid to have it appraised, only to find that the appraisers were not licensed and really didn’t know much about this instrument. I got appraisals from $50-$500, which is not too reassuring. 13amandomark AT 3-19.jpgThe mandolin is in fairly good condition with one broken string. I thought the sticker inside of it was interesting so I tried to copy it as best as possible. When can you find out?
– T.U., Pelham, N.Y.

AI believe you could have quite a valuable musical instrument so additional research is in order. I did some research on-line and found a site that listed and illustrated a wide range of quality mandolins, some dating back to the 18th century and some from as late as the 1930s. It appears that the best examples were made in Naples, Italy, like yours. The label on your piece indicates the maker was “Vinaccia” and their mandolins appear to be some of the best. One example shown dated from the 1930s, sold in the five figures. Your piece appears to date from around 1898. Condition and general quality will have a big impact on current market value. I found two Web sites listed and you probably should visit them: and The companies that run these sites might be interested in hearing from you. Good luck.

9goldplate AT 3-19.jpgQ This is a picture of a gold plate I bought in England. It is 11 inches round with a picture of a castle in the middle. It is indented about 3½ inches deep at the picture of the castle.
– H.G., Mooresburg, Tenn.

AThis decorative brass wall plate with the colorful cottage scene in the center is typical of decorative pieces that have been popular in England for generations. Many of them were bought by tourists who brought them home as souvenirs. The value of your piece will depend quite a bit on the age since examples made before World War II will be much more collectible than recent pieces. My best guess is that this plaque might be valued in the $25-$50 range.