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WWII drawings significant to specialty collectors

In his latest pair of evaluations, Dr. G. Marchelos offers valuable historical details about seldom-seen drawings of a WWII ball bearing factory, in the Ask the Experts column.

Q My father was stationed at Schweinfurt, Germany at the conclusion of World War II and for the first year after the war. He didn’t smoke cigarettes, so he used his ration of cigarettes to trade with the locals for various items. One of these items is a series of 15 drawings, 19 inches by 15 inches, of workers at the famous Schweinfurt Ball Bearing factory engaged in various tasks. These drawings were done in 1934 and 1935 and are contained in a linen presentation case with the letters SKF above F&S in a circle on the upper left hand corner of the cover.


I have enclosed a full size photocopy of one of the drawings. Since the Allied Bombers heavily bombed Schweinfurt during the War, I have no idea if very many of these drawings still exist.
— R.C.
Beatrice, Neb.

A The SKF stands for Svenska Kullagerfabriken or Swedish ball bearing factory, where a majority of Germany’s ball bearings were produced for the military. Twice in 1943 the United States bombed the factory to destroy its ability to produce bearings for the war effort. Two of the drawings were included in the file and show workers going about their tasks in the 1930s.

There is no indication whether these are original or not. If printed and produced in some number of sets, the price would obviously be lower. Germany produced scores of albums, mainly cigarette card albums from WWI to WWII on all manner of subjects, so it is assumed this is one of those items.
If so, they are collected by a variety of collectors with interests in special areas. Such a collector would be willing to pay $200 for this set of drawings, which have interest because of the significance of the bombing, a widely told story in the United States until the present time.

If all are the originals, then they would sale for $800 or higher. This is a specialized subject. The company, which is still in business today, may be the best bet for a sale. In this case the selling price would be even higher.


Q I am a new subscriber and absolutely LOVE your paper! My father has been an avid collector of many things for so many years, and I guess I inherited his love of the “hunt.”


I am taking the liberty of sending you a couple photos of an older crib that a friend of mine was going to throw away. I have searched and asked, but no one can tell me anything about it (whether doll or infant). It almost has an institutional look to it.
— V.E.
via email

A The crib is yellow with inserts of machine woven cane. The size was not stated and the condition appears to be used, with the usual wear and tear. The tiles on which the crib sits are probably four to five inches, which would make the crib just over a foot long. If true, it was made to use with a doll, which would make sense for the time period. As an item for a doll, the value would tend to increase because collectors are willing to pay more for vintage items for their collection. An example would be the much higher price for gem tintypes from the 1860s, to put in frames and hang on the walls of doll houses; compared to the low price of much larger tintypes which can still be found for a couple dollars across the United States.

As a used period item which will require some restoration, the crib should sell for $150 to $200 in most areas of the United States, more in several where there are active doll collector clubs.

About our columnist:
Dr. G. Marchelos is an honors graduate and certified appraiser of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. Additionally, Dr. Marchelos has a PhD in history, is a professor of antiquities at the University of Alabama, and is a nationally recognized appraiser working for both private and public institutions across North America. Dr. Marchelos is also a well established antiques dealer, operating both in the U.S. and Europe.

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