By Susan Mullikin
Q: This musical knickknack was in my grandparents’ house ever since I was a little girl. It was passed on to me. At first I thought it was broken because it makes a clicking sound as it plays music, but then I realized when you hold it up to the light and look through the back window, it is a slide show of the story, Sleeping Beauty, and the clicking noise is the slide switching to the next picture. It is plastic and approximately 3-3/4 inches tall. No date, but the back reads, “Made in Western Germany” and also “Ges.gesch.”
Can you tell me how old it is and what it’s worth?
Sandra Van Tassel
A: Oh, I can just see your fascination as a little girl at your grandmother’s house peering into the musical knickknack and viewing the slide show of the story of Sleeping Beauty. The musical knickknack you refer to was just one of many miniature house viewfinder toys popular from 1945-1950, coinciding with the “Made in Western Germany” designation seen stamped on many items during this time.
You did mention another designation marked on the bottom of your Sleeping Beauty viewfinder, that of “Ges.gesch,” simply meaning that your item was registered.
Upon research on eBay, I did notice two separate Sleeping Beauty viewfinders both displaying eight separate pictures making up the story of Sleeping Beauty. One was the Sleeping Beauty house with Sleeping Beauty sleeping in front of the house with a dwarf at her side listed at $15, and the other was the house with Sleeping Beauty awake and with three dwarves listed at $25.
You did mention that yours was musical, which the two mentioned were not. In this case, I value your viewfinder toy at $35, but consider it priceless when remembering your grandmother.
Susan Mullikin, AIA CA
Susan Mullikin, owner of Mother and Daughter Vintage Clothing and Antiques is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. For the last 25 years she has specialized in assisting clients across the U.S. in regards to fine antique garments, textiles, and ladies accessories. She provides conservation, restoration and appraisal services.
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