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Toy race car details give conflicting clues

Paint job, tires, size and driver figure of a toy race car are clues to the age of the toy, but the conflicting information leads more questions than answers.

Q I bought this toy race car at an estate sale and was wondering if you had ANY information. Any help would be much appreciated.

— D.R., via email

Toy Race Car

This is the subject of a reader's inquiry to the Ask the Experts evaluator Dr. G. Marchelos. (Submitted photo)

A D.R. asked about a red toy race car he purchased at an estate sale. Unfortunately, he sent only one photo of the car sitting in front of a steam radiator. It appears to be quite large based on the photo and originated in the UK.

It is of the type of toy race car seen from the WWI era until the 1930s. The driver has the typical driving cap, goggles and duster but the age of the item cannot be determined from the single photo sent. Close inspection would be necessary to determine construction methods used throughout, condition of moving parts, make and model, etc. The tires (tyres in the UK) appear to be solid rubber, which would indicate manufacturing from the period; and, the steering may work. As shown this gives some hope of a true antique but the painted finish is dubious. Having seen only the singlephoto, a value cannot be given.

Vintage Vase Is Common Contemporary

Q I purchased this vase for $20 at a garage sale early in the summer. I know nothing about Chinese porcelain or the hallmarks. The vase is very light and the bottom is very thin. If anyone knows anything about this particular vase, please let me know.

— J.M., Jacksonville, Fla.

A J.M. paid $20 for this vase at a garagesale. It is a generic vase widely made and sold by many

Chinese vase

Chinese vase with original box is the focus of Dr. G. Marchelos' reply in a recent Ask the Experts column.

companies in China over the past 50 years or more. The floral design is mechanically applied and consists primarily of prunus blossoms, which are popular in Asia. From the photo there is either damage in the manufacturing, revealed by uneven color, or fading from light. The box is well worn and the fabric closures are missing. The box itself has issues as shown. The mark on the bottom is partially missing but would only reveal a company mass producing the item.

Most of these are found in shops in tourist areas and sold primarily to tourists, who take them home. I am sure this is the story here. It appears to be from the 1980s or 1990s. The label basically tells the reader that inside is a Chinese vase. We do not know the measurements and the photo gives us no clues. The new owner probably came out even in the purchase although most buyers would have shied away after seeing the fading. China has produced porcelain for centuries, and until 1706 had a monopoly. That is when an alchemist in Dresden, Saxony, developed Bottchner’s steinzeug, the first porcelain known that was not Chinese made.

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