Q This artifact was purchased in the Wichita, Kan., train station more than 50 years ago from a large collection of Indian artifacts that were on sale there. It has been in a private collection until I recently acquired it.
Upon casual inspection one is led to believe that the axe was chipped from a natural stone, possibly a form of white marble and then polished or was weather worn, leaving soft indentations on it. However, inspection by a geologist using a microscope found it to be a coarse grade of unglazed porcelain with impurities. The outer surface looks like chipped, and then polished natural stone. One of the pints on the pole of the axe has a chip that made it possible to examine the internal structure. Mineral deposits, especially around the pinhole, indicate that the axe has been buried for a considerable period of time. An unusual feature is a pinhole and sizable cavity in the neck where it would have been hafted.
A second nearly identical artifact, including the same type of pinhole and cavity in the neck has been located in a museum in southeastern Kansas. What can you tell me?
– D.C., Stillwater, Okla.
A This stone piece is a bit of a mystery but since it features a small hole, perhaps it was worn on a cord as some sort of ceremonial piece. The shape is not similar to any Native American stone tools or trade artifacts that I could find. Perhaps other readers can suggest options.
Q I have had this sideboard for many years. Can you give me any information concerning it? I would also like to know the value. Thank you.
– M.C.S., Phenix City, Ala.
A You have a lovely example of Victorian Renaissance Revival-style furniture, circa 1875. It has fine carving and lovely burl veneering. Although it isn’t as ornately carved as some sideboards in this style, the white marble top certainly makes it special. It is also a nice size that would fit in most modern homes. Market values will vary somewhat depending on the part of the country where it is offered, but I believe a fair value range for this piece is $1,500-$2,000.
Q This plastic jewelry has purple rhinestones. I cannot tell if this is Bakelite. I know nothing about this set. It is not for sale, but I’d love to know some background on it.
– B.I., Caro, Mich.
A Your jewelry pieces all appear to be made of Lucite, a form of plastic that came into use in the 1940s and was widely used on costume jewelry by the 1950s. My guess is that your flower pin and earring set might be valued in the $40-$60 range and the pink bangle bracelet, maybe in the $35-$45 range.