Ask Antique Trader: Thrift store velocipede is charming decorator piece worth up to $300

Q   We found this at the Salvation Army and loved it at first sight.

This horse is hand-carved from wood. The wheels are wood wrapped in steel and it has a horsehair tail.

We think it a folk art piece, but are not sure.

What can you tell us? Any help much appreciated.

— L.P., Hesperia, Calif.


Reproduction of Victorian horse velocipede

Reproduction of Victorian horse velocipede

A  What a wonderful thrift-store find; you’ve got a lovely Victorian-style horse-form velocipede. ‘Velocipede’ is a catchall term for any human-powered vehicle with wheels.

Several indicators suggest your example is not from the Victorian period (1837-1901), but a new reproduction meant to capitalize on the popularity of authentic figural velocipedes. These are made overseas and the telltale traits are a new-looking finish and a lack of carving detail.

One way to distinguish new from old is by looking at the kind of fasteners your horse trike has. Keep in mind when dating any presumable antique that Phillips, also known as cross-head, screws were not invented until the mid-1930s. Also, the only welding that was used before the turn of the 20th century is forge-welding (joining two pieces of metal by heating them to a high temperature and then hammering them together), so there wouldn’t be any welds on a genuine Victorian velocipede. Yours dates to the late 20th century.

Authentic Victorian velocipedes, on which your example is modeled, are quite pricey — usually bringing thousands or more at auction, when and if they are made available. Early horse tricycles were strictly luxury goods that most families could not afford. They are well made and fully detailed.

Even though your horse-form tricycle may be a 20th-century reproduction, due to its charming decorative value, similar models are selling at auction for $150 to $300. Your example may bring a bit less because of its condition issues and losses.

(Find more information on genuine, fake and reproduction antique tricycles online at Tricycle Fetish, “The site for everything tricycle.”)

This article originally appeared in Antique Trader magazine

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Aluminum Chrysanthemum crumb tray

Aluminum Chrysanthemum crumb tray by Continental Silver Company, New York.

Q We found this plate in a box of inherited items. Not necessarily interested in the value, just curious what it was for.

It is 7 1/2 inches in diameter, metal, with curled up sides and scalloped edge.

The straight handle is 5 inches long with leaf attached at end. The curled handle also has a leaf.

I know the pictures are poor, but the large half has a flower engraving.

On the back it is stamped “Trade Continental Mark” written around a soldier. Below that “Hand Wrought,” and then “Silverlook” with a series number “543.”

Any help to satisfy our curiosity?

— D.R., via email

A  Your “mystery item” is a hammered aluminum crumb tray and scraper (sometimes called a crumb butler) with chrysanthemum design made by the Continental Silver Company of New York. The set was used to clear crumbs from a dining table between courses. Hammered aluminum gift wares were popular from the 1930s-1950s, but then fell into obscurity.

Continental produced an entire line of Chrysanthemum-decorated wares. Generally speaking, pieces can be picked up for less than $20.

Antique Trader subscribers can send their questions and photos via e-mail to AskAT[at], or mail to Antique Trader Q&A, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54945. Photos sent by e-mail should be 200 dpi or larger. Appraisals are personal opinions of value and are to be considered for entertainment purposes only. The values are estimated and are not to be used for any other purpose, either legal or personal. Personal replies are not possible.

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