Kyle on Antiques: Thank Goodness for Wash & Wear!

Q I’m wondering about this gas iron my grandmother used between 1920 and 1930. It think she got it from Sears. It is still in the original box and has all the original instruction booklets and other accessories. What can you tell me?
– F.M., South Bend, Ind.

AThis blue enamel-coasted pressurized glass clothing iron was probably manufactured around 1910 to 1930 before electricity became widely available. It appears that there is some damage on the side and wooden grip that would reduce the collector value quite a bit. My guess is that it might be valued in the $20-$40 range in that condition.

Q This small photo album holds pictures of my ancestors in Civil War-era clothing. My ancestors were among the early settlers who lived around Dodge City, Kan. I was wondering if their value is primarily sentimental or if they were the type of objects a museum might appreciate.
–A.A., Brownsville, Ind.

A The small photo album is typical of the Civil War era and probably holds small cartes-de-visite, card-sized photos popular at the time. The photos were widely popular during that era and many albums are still around. Individual photos of unknown people are not terribly valuable but sometimes the albums also contain photos of political or military figures of that period and those can have much more value. Unless you can identify the people included in the album the photos are just interesting novelties worth perhaps a few dollars each. Views of young children or “occupationals,” including Civil War soldiers in uniform, can bring quite a bit more to collectors.

Q I think this is some kind of military tool. Can you tell me with what it is, as well as its age and value?
– R.S., Rogers, Ark.

A This long-handled iron piece is a bullet mold used in the 19th century to mold shot for early rifles. This example could date from around the time of the Civil War or just before. Because of their sturdy nature quite a few of these devices have survived the years and are not especially rare. They probably have the most interest to people who collect early firearms and I believe it could be valued in the $50-$125 range.