Q I bought this cabinet at a local garage sale last summer (2008). Can you tell me anything about it? It has a “kidney” shape, is 30 inches tall, 29 inches wide and 17 inches deep, and it has beveled glass. It has carved patterns at the top and bottom and appears to be made of oak. The top lifts off as a tray. I paid $20 for it. Did I pay too much? Thanks in advance for any information you can give me. — J.S., Waupaca, Wis.
A This interesting little liquor cabinet, or vitrine, could also be used to display a collection of smalls – but that’s as close as it will come to an antique. Your cabinet is a reproduction. It has a removable tray with a fitted base on which to serve drinks. Many cabinets like this were distressed in a “shabby chic” style in the late 1990s. It most likely came from South America, where production methods were shoddy in order to reproduce the look of a well-used antique. The raised carvings, Queen Anne legs and button-style accent do not match any particular style. Your $20 investment is still worthy of bragging about. The cabinet is worth $200.
Q These Popeye and Olive Oyl salt and pepper shakers are in mint condition, could you tell me about what they are worth? Thank you.
— T.J., via e-mail
A Your 7 1/2-inch high Popeye and Olive Oyl salt and pepper shakers are probably in mint condition because they haven’t been around long enough to live through decades of use at the dinner table. These date from the late 1980s and were produced in Japan by Vandor Imports as a keepsake collectible. The shakers came on the market a few years after Popeye enjoyed a rival of sorts with the release of the Robin Williams movie. They are worth about $85-$100.
Q My fiancé found a Kodak Retina and I’m really not sure of what to do with it. So I really don’t know anything else about the camera other than it’s a pre-war camera. If at all possible I would like some type of information.
— K.W., via e-mail
A It’s easy to dismiss the Kodak name as invaluable simply because of the sheer quantity of cameras the company produced in the early 20th century. You can’t hardly visit a general-line antique store without seeing a Kodak-something-or-other. The Retina series was probably the sturdiest camera of the early Kodak lines. Its metal casement was more durable than the mass-produced Brownie and the plastic Instamatic. From the images you supplied, it looks as though you own a Retina I, Type 148, produced from 1939-1941 in Germany. Retinas were made by Nagel Camerawerk in Stuttgart when the company was purchased by Kodak in 1931. Kodak then produced a growing line of Retinas with variations. The giveaway that your camera is a Retina I and not a Retina II or later is that it doesn’t have a range finder. Your Retina I is worth $50-$100.
Eric Bradley is the editor of Antique Trader magazine. He has been buying, selling and trading antiques and collectibles for 13 years. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of Antique Trader Magazine, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54945.
You can send your questions to “Ask Antique Trader” either by e-mail with attached digital images (preferred) or by regular mail with color prints (photos cannot be returned). In either case, be as detailed as possible regarding condition, dimensions and markings. As always, we’ll select the best examples to feature in our pages.
We love hearing from readers, so let us know what you like about Antique Trader and how we can improve the magazine. We cannot provide valuations of antiques and collectibles over the phone.
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