Skip to main content

Ask the Experts: Architectural salvagers find most value in doors

In the latest installment of Ask the Experts, Dr. G. Marchelos addresses identity and value of everything from porcelain plaques to 20th century doors.

QA lady that is 97 years old asked me if I could get her any information on this plaque. The plaque belonged to her grandmother. The angel is holding a piece of wire attached to the bell. She said as a young child she remembered it hanging in her hallway.
I have not physically seen the plaque. I am wondering if it could be ivory but do not know how she could tell. She would appreciate any information you might have on it.


— B.J., Dyersburg, Tenn.

AYour plaque of an angel holding wire attached to a bell does not appear to be 80 or more years old from the photos sent.
Closer inspection could prove this to be incorrect but you indicate you have not seen it personally. It appears to be made of soft past porcelain or Plaster of Paris. It could come from many sources but quite a few have been made in Italy over the years, especially in the second half of the 20th century. There is no trade name shown which reflects that this plaque was mass produced for a wide audience such as tourists or pilgrims.
Quite often owners believe that an item deemed “old” must have value but this is not always the case. The coloring medium is not evenly applied and originally was quite inexpensive. Today it would command little value on the open market because there were simply too many made.

Q Can you point me in the direction for finding the value of an old Haller Laundry Press/Wringer? I’ve searched the Internet and can’t find anything like what I have. (I did find part of one – just the head portion, badly rusted, missing parts – but not the full assembly including the rolling stand, all parts in place, original paint in good to fine condition, no rust, negligible wear on wood rollers, etc.). The rusted head portion I found had no valuation attached. I know someone must collect these, but I can’t find a starting point.

— A.Q., via email

A Laundry wringers such as yours are always in demand as a novelty item, especially those involved in collecting primitives and related items. And, yes, there are collectors of laundry wringer and presses, early washing machines, scrub boards, etc. Laundry presses/wringers, designed to fit over a tub already on hand, became available in the late 1800s. By 1900, there were scores of manufacturers flooding the market with their brands. Haller was one. Your wringer dates from the very late 1800s or very early 1900s. On the market, although you did not send a photo, assuming it is in great used condition, it should bring $160-$180.

Q These early 19th century antique double doors
may have come from an old pharmacy or drug store. They are beautiful and in great condition and made of solid oak, with crystal clear beveled glass. Each door has all four original decals and advertises Carrier Air Conditioner, Vicks Vapors, Texas Pharmaceutical Associations of Texas Member 1957. They were found in Marshall, Texas. I am trying to learn something about these doors — anything. They are the most beautiful doors I have ever seen. I recently found them in old storage.
— J.F., via email
A These doors are not early 19th century, but early 20th century. They were factory made and are quite worn. They were probably stored because of the beveled glass. The decals indicate they were used into the 1950s and probably beyond. There are no unusual or special decals attached. Carrier Air Conditioners were state of the art at the time and widely used. There are architectural antique dealers who would be interested in these and probably would pay you $400 to $450 for the pair, which they would restore and resale to a new restaurant, store, etc. Oak was used because it is more dense than pine or other woods and would withstand the weather conditions better.


About our A.I.A. appraiser: 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.

Weekly Showcase



Over 100 YEARS of Chinese History - Our pristine Jade Collection is extensive and beautiful!  Please visit our web site to get an idea of how beautiful this collection is.