Q My mother purchased this ashtray in 1935. It shows the Dionne Quintuplets, born in 1934 on the bottom. It looks like it may be made of sterling silver. Can you tell me anything about it? B.S., Abingdon, Va.
A The small metal dish you have features the heads of the Dionne Quintuplets stamped in the bottom. It is probably made of tin or aluminum rather than silver. Rather than an ashtray, I suspect this was actually used as a child’s feeding dish. The Dionnes were massively marketed in the 1930s and 1940s but pieces made with their image were meant to be wholesome and child-friendly. I don’t believe an ashtray would have qualified. There have been many collectors of Dionne Quintuplet memorabilia over the years; however, I suspect the market is fairly modest today. Probably most folks under the age of 40 have never heard of this remarkable but rather tragic family. Your little dish might be valued in the $15-$35 range today.
Q Can you tell me anything about this lamp? It is in perfect condition except for a small spot on the metal base. It still has the felt on the bottom. The pictures don’t show it well, but the ladies both have one exposed breast. On the left side, under a small tree it has DUNN HALL. The lamp is about 20 inches tall. B.W., Dansville, N.Y.
A Your urn-form ceramic table lamp probably dates from the late 1920s into the mid-1940s. The brass filigree base was very popular on table lamps of that era. This piece is decorated with a color decal or transfer print based on some artwork from the late 18th or early 19th century. The name printed on it may be a copy of the name of the original artist of the painting shown. Although it doesn’t have tremendous value as an antique, it is still a nice decorator piece and might be valued in the $50-$100 range.
Q These items were handmade by my uncle about 100 years ago. Might it be worth anything today? B.S., Abingdon, Va.
A Your corner whatnot shelf is typical of a design popular in the late 19th century while the small bookcase features more of a Mission-style design most popular in the early 20th century. My guess is that each piece might be valued in the $100-$150 range today.
Q My aunt gave me this jacket, but I don’t know anything about it. It came with some Native American jewelry pieces. I’m wondering if a member of an Indian tribe from out West could have made it. B.I., Caro, Mich.
A I believe a Southwestern tribe, perhaps the Navajo, wove the jacket. There is a great deal of information on Navajo woven rugs and blankets, but I couldn’t find anything on such clothing pieces. It was undoubtedly produced for the tourist trade. Although it features some Indian designs, it isn’t a piece that would be sought after like older woven rugs and blankets. My best guess is that, depending on the condition, it could be valued in the $50-$150 range.