Ask Antique Trader: Hand-forged lock and key worth $300

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Ask Antique Trader is a free valuation service for subscribers. 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.

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Hand-forged lock and key worth $300

Q Can you tell me what you can about this lock and key? I was given this lock and key in 1970 from a lady who said her parents brought this object to America when they immigrated to this country in the 1920s from Sweden. The parents indicated they had removed the lock from a destroyed Catholic church. It measures 7-1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide. The key measures 7-1/4 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide. Thank you.  —B.R., Boise, Idaho

A Your impressive iron lock and key dates to the late 18th century or early 19th century. The irregular shapes and crude (by today’s standards) spring-powered mechanism give this a vintage technological charm collectors love to marvel over. It looks very similar to the locks still in use inside the Mörlunda Church in Småland, Sweden, which was built in 1839. Locks like these were hand forged, and yours has a relatively complicated mechanism like the one used in Mörlunda.

Despite its fantastic condition and fascinating techno-appeal, the undocumented provenance doesn’t help its value. Lately, dealers have been selling similar anonymous European hand-forged locks from $150 to as much as $800 for Renaissance-era door locks with highly ornate plates. Auction Team Breker, the famous German auction house specializing in vintage technology, has sold locks similar to yours for $100 to $300. The 7-1/4-inch key is impressive enough, as  collectors have recently spent as much as $100 for other large examples.

Current values aside, this lock is a fantastic example of man’s ingenuity and blacksmith craftsmanship. It is a great addition to your collection, and as they say … Good luck finding another one!



Collector stumped by Valvoline jar

This green glass jar with a chipped paper label has us stumped. We can’t seem to find any information on it, and neither can its owner. Can you help before her brother owns it for $10? If you have seen this jar, have one in your collection or know about Valvoline’s Glossy Pomade, send your via e-mail or snail mail to Antique Trader Q&A, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54945.

I have a subscription to the magazine Antique Trader, and I love it. Thank you so much. I was at a car show about a month ago and found a green jar. I thought it was different, so I bought it, and now I cannot find any information on it. The paper label says Valvoline Glossy Pomade. I do know that the Valvoline symbol is the one they used in the late 1800s and that is all I know and also all that Valvoline knows about the jar.

I have been in contact with Valvoline, and they said that no one that works at their company has ever seen any before, but they do have a collectible Valvoline hair oil bottle, which was probably made in their Pennsylvania plant. My brother is telling me the jar is a fake, and that I should sell it to him for $10. I told him that the label looks too real and old to be fake. I have attached a picture for everyone to see. It is about to drive me crazy because I cannot find any information or value on it. If anyone has information please help! Thank You. — A.M., via e-mail.



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