Kyle on Antiques: Frame might be worth more than picture

2Bookcase.jpg Q This bookcase is quite old, I think, but don’t know much more about it. Do you have any information you can tell me by looking at the photos?
– C.W., Midland, Texas

AThis nice late Victorian bookcase features bands of bobbin-turning and curved glass sides that would date it to the 1880s or 1890s. I can’t tell what the wood is but it may be oak or stained maple. It’s a nice example of decorative late Victorian furniture and I believe it might retail in the $250-$400 range, depending on the local market.

6Tintype.jpgQ I cannot identify this tintype. It measured 6½ inches by 8 inches, but the corners have been cut off so it fits in the frame. Is he a “somebody” or a “nobody”? Would it have any value?
– H.L., Greeneville, Tenn.

ATintypes (originally called ferrotypes) were introduced in the mid-19th century and were first widely used during the Civil War era. These were the first inexpensive “photos” that were available to the working class. Most were quite small, but you have an example of a large one which also features hand-applied coloring to the portrait. Of course color photography was not available at that time so the color was added to give it a more lifelike appearance. The oval molded frame may well be original and I’d guess this picture dates from the mid-1860s to mid-1870s. Old tintypes, especially small ones, are still widely available and most have only a modest value. Collectors tend to like portraits of children, animals or pretty ladies. Portraits of a middle-aged gentleman like this would not have a strong market demand, but being a large size in a good frame might be offered in the $50-$100 range.

11Cat.jpgQ This black cat doll belonged to my husband. He’d be 75 years old if still living. I don’t know if it was old or new when it was given to him. I’ve never seen another one like it. I would like to know its value. It is 22½ inches tall.
– N.H., Muskagee, Okla.

AYour charming cloth cat with original clothing is a nice example of the stuffed toys from the 1920s and 1930s. It would be difficult to determine what factory made this fellow but cat and toy collectors would appreciate him. The clothing appears to be quite fragile but in overall good condition. Stuffed animals by major toy companies like Steiff, Ideal, Gund and others are very much in demand today, however, this “anonymous” cat would have a fairly modest value, perhaps in the $40-$60 range.