Category Archives: Antique Value Guides

Pre Button Steiff Skittles

Because I certainly don’t know everything about Steiff’s – Their values and such, I did a little research….

Who Knew Skittles Were Worth So Much? I didn’t

Set of Pre-Button Steiff Skittles Sold By Christie’s
£6,000 ($9,750.00 US)

My most favorite activity is learning about antiques and collectibles, and though I have been doing this Estate Sales and Antiques Business thing for a while now, it’s like almost everyday that I find myself surprised by what’s collectible, and how much it’s worth

These Are Pre-Button Stieff Skittles

Set Of Pre-Button Stieff Cat Skittles Sold By Noel Barrett
Date: 2004 ($8,000.00)

As usual it’s scarcity that adds dollars to the value of a collectibles…these Pre-Button Steiff Skittles are scarce, first because of their limited production, and because of how they were played with. I didn’t know what a Skittle was: It’s kinda like a bowling toy, you tossed a wooden ball toward these Skittles in much the same way you would roll a bowling ball towards bowling pins.

It’s a wonder that any of these in any condition survived.

Sometimes Steiff Skittles Hide In Atics

Steiff Pre-Button Bear Skittles Sold by Bonham’s
Date: 2004 ($4,400.00)

So as we do, us pickers, or collectors, now armed with better collecting knowledge, we will be on the look out for these. I know I will. I am thinking small regional auction houses or estate sales. How about you?

Here Are 8 Steiff Skittles Hiding On Ruby Lane

For Sale Now In The Ruby Lane Shop of SteiffGal

I got the inspiration for this post while of course looking for something completely different. Somehow I landed on the Ruby Lane Page of SteiffGal Turns out she’s like a Stieff GuruFind Her on Face BookFind her on Twitter …she basically must live and breath Steiff because she’s all over the net…

Visit her and Follow Her For Information

Sign Me,

Martin Codina

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

Smoke em if ya got em: Cigarette Collectibles

Cigarettes aren’t so popular now, except as Collectibles

Black Smoker by Lambert Sold by Skinner Inc

There is no better time than now to collect Cigarette and Smoking collectibles: All over America people have gotten the hint – smoking ain’t exactly as healthy or as elegant as it once upon a time was – ex-smokers and family members not knowing the value of their smoking paraphernalia are clearing out their cupboards.

But Cigarettes are Still King with Collectors

Feuerzeugkamera Cigarette Lighter Camera Sold by Auction Team Breker

If you can find cigarette and tobacco collectibles at an estate sale or better yet at a garage sale, you’ll likely be able to pick them up for very inexpensive prices, and then be able to realize a hefty return when you resell them at auction.

I Predict Cigarette Collectibles Values to Rise Like Smoke

Fatima Turkish Cigarette Sign Sold by Dan Morphy Auctions LLC

Why? It’s simple. While smoking may be harmful to your health, the collecting of all things “Cigarette” is not. Signs, tins, ashtrays, lighters and cigarette cases are in a word, beautiful – spectacular even.

Cigarette Collectibles Harken to a Better Past

Lucian Bernhard Manoli Ashtray Poster Sold by Swann Galleries, Inc.

The glory or romance of the past is indeed the primary reason anything becomes collectible. Smokey deal filled rooms. Dinners where your father or mother may have met. The jazz and Blues clubs of yore…all smoke filled…and inviting with possibilities.

Cigarette Collectibles are Appealing!

Enamel Cigarette Case After Alphonse Mucha Sold by Sotheby’s

They may even be as addicting as smoking itself to collect. The collecting possibilities are endless. As always my advice is to collect only the best. Look for Sterling and enamel cigarette cases, tin litho signs, any item adorned with a beautiful woman.

Light up with Style

Omar Cigarettes Tin Sign  Sold by Dan Morphy Auctions LLC

Another great place to find cigarette collectibles are all the small mom and pop auction houses across America, most of them have not yet tied themselves into any of the large internet auction bidding frameworks…

Humans collect, that’s just what they do…

Martin Codina

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

Antique Dinner Bells: You Rang?

Once upon a time, just before dinner, a bell was heard…to ring!

Antique Sterling and Ivory Dinner Bell by Josef Hoffman

Auction Estimate: $70,000.00 – $90,000.00
(Offered by Phillips de Pury & Company Auction Co.)

A long time ago, in cottage, house or a mansion, not every one was tied to a time piece to let them know when it was time to do whatever it was that was so important to do: there were other ways to indicate comings and goings…

My favorite was the dinner bell…


Art Nouveau Figural Bronze Dinner Bell

Sold By Doyle’s Auction Company of New York

There has never been a better way to be called to chow, than the simple sound of tinkle tinkle bell, come out from where ever you are…to dinner, to happy conversation…to the smell of soup, salad, and a seared brisket or a roast of savory meat.

Call me to dinner with a dinner bell, and I’ll love you forever…


William Spratling Silver Dinner Bell

Sold by Heritage Auctions

Oh, and how about the second best use of a dinner bell…? To call to the cook or the butler; please serve me my wine, next course please…give this note to so and so, letting them know to not act or be such a bore.

To silence a table, or to make an announcement, ring a dinner bell

Fancy Cast Iron and Brass Victorian Dinner Bell

Sold by Dirk Soulis Auctions

Do not call me to dinner with anything rough or pedestrian, like a vocal call, or the blowing of a horn or the striking of a gong; make your wishes known for my presence, with a small silver or bronze bell. I will hear, for I am hungry, and have waited the long day for a dinner with you and so many fine fellows, and the laughter their friendship brings.

With index finger and thumb gently lift and ring the dinner bell…


Elkington Sterling Silver Dinner Bell

Sold by New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc

It was back an age, when so much in the world tumbled one way and then the next…as war scratched the sky with bombers, and thousands met for the first time in shelters, that I am sure some aristocrat insisted that war could wait…that all could wait, until after the meal signaled by the dinner bell.

If at first you you don’t succeed ring again the dinner bell.

Austrian Brass Figural Dinner Bell c. 1910,

Sold by Dumouchelles Auction Co.

…Go find yourself a dinner bell, one of bronze, or silver, or if you have an especially rich heredity one in gold. But do not supper alone. Do not toil to eat too little or too hastily, remember a friend and show them your kindness…with an invitation.

By ringing them to table with your dinner bell.


Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"


Antique Optician and Optometrist Trade Signs

Keep your Eye on Antiques!

Pair of 19th Century San Francisco Optician Trade Signs from Giannetti Home $2,100.00

Especially Antiques With Eye Appeal!

Antique Optician Trade Sign 1880′s Sold at Auction by Pook and Pook for $585.00

Massive Antique Iron and Glass Optician Trade Sign 57.5″ Wide Circa 1880′s

Collect and Sell Antiques with an Eye to the Future

Optician Trade Sign Milk Glass Globe sold by Dan Morphy Auctions for $877.00

Painted Milk Glass Optician Trade Sign Globe – Painted eye featured on both sides. 12″ Diameter

With an Eye for detail, You’ll Succeed!

Antique Optometrist Trade Sign sold by Pook and Pook
for $2,300.00

A cast metal optician trade sign, circa 1900, with reverse painted glass panels of an eye – 29″ High

Keep Your Eyes Open To Buying Opportunities

Antique Optician Trade Sign sold by Eldreds Auction for $1,610.00

An unusual antique carved wood trade sign in the form of gilt-framed spectacles with painted eyes. Supported by a wrought iron bar. 13″ High 56″ Across

Don’t Close your Eyes To Bargains!

Optician Trade Sign Milk Glass sold by Julia Auctions for $540.00

Hanging milk glass optometrist trade sign light fixture. 12″ Diameter

Love What You Do! Make Antiques The Apple of Your Eye!

Antique Iron Opticians Shop Sign sold by Christie’s for £1,063

Painted Iron Optician Shop Sign Early 20th Century 35″ Wide

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize!

Antique Optometrist Trade Sign sold by Eldreds for $431.00

Painted and Lithographed Glass Optometrist Sign 10″ Diameter

Additional Resources:


Eye Antiques

Phisick’s Ophthalmology Page

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"

Trade Silver Crosses

Trade Silver Crosses

These were objects of adornment traded for fur, which acted as displays of Status, Wealth, and Position

Hudson’s Bay Silver Trade Cross Sold by Allard Auctions on March 8, 2008 for $650.00

I am not positioning myself as an expert on Trade Silver here, I only want to inform my readers and let them see how extraordinary these wonderful artifacts are.

I am surprised that there is so little written about the Trade Silver that was such an integral part of The Fur Trade. OK, maybe trade silver was not exactly integral to the fur trade, and perhaps it was not as important as the many other utilitarian objects that North American Natives traded fur for…but these artifacts are definitely what I wish I could find more of.

The Hudson’s Bay Company Was Chief Among Fur Traders

Here is a Trade Silver Cross by Robert Cruikshank

Trade Silver Cross Sold by William Bunch Auctions on February 27, 2007 for $600.00

Into the cold nether regions of the Northeast came bearded men searching for fur, and I understand that they brought with them all the things of Europe – tools, guns and all manner of their rudimentary technologies, but they also brought trinkets and shiny things to trade. Some of them must have worn crosses and their company leaders often wore gorgets, and here’s where some of my speculation comes in – that it was these articles of adornment that captured the fascination of the their counterpart native traders. Fur Traders realizing this, started to have quantities of silver fashioned into crosses, buttons, gorgets and earrings.

What started as trinkets became a more refined Trade Silver

Fur Traders Had These Items Made Specifically To Trade…

Double Bar Lorraine Trade Cross Sold By Northeast Auctions for $4,707.00

The above example is by Robert Cruikshank but I also want to give you links to two other silversmiths who made Trade Silver – Michael Arnoldi and Ignace-François Delezenne I wish I could find examples of their work in trade silver, but as of the time of this writing I have been unable to find any.

When I think of the countless pelts trapped in the Northeast, I find it surprising that there is not more written about the silver traded by settlers to acquire them from Native North Americans.

Fine Canadian Silver Trade Cross

Offered for bid by Mid-West Auctions, Inc. on June 19th 2010

Mid-West Auction Inc.

This is the nicest example I have found of a Silver Trade Cross, and it is being offered for bid by the Mid-West Auction Company on June 19, 2010. I think that it will exceed it’s pre-sale auction estimate of $800.00 to $1,200.00.

I am hoping that someone will leave a comment about this cross, because I have a question aboiut it. I am curious if the dangles are original, or if they may have been added later…?

…Native Americans Wore Trade Crosses…

Oglala Sioux “Young Man Afraid of His Horses” Wearing Trade Cross. Sold by Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. for $2,875.00

The trade cross that Oglala Sioux “Young Man Afraid of His Horses” is wearing is a more accurate representation of how these Trade Silver Crosses came to be fashioned. Notice that each of the arms of this cross are equal. Native Americans liked balance and they also wanted a cross to act as a symbol for something that they could better understand, and in the case of a cross, they wanted crosses to represent the way that they placed logs together to build fires.

Chief Gall Wearing a Cross Seated With his Family

Sold by Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. for $546.00 on September 15, 2007

I am not really sure if the cross that Chief Gall is wearing is a Silver Trade Cross or not. I offer it up only because there are so few pictures available for us to see how these crosses might have looked when worn by Native North Americans.

Here is some additional reading – The Canadian Encyclopedia “Indian Trade Silver” Barking Rock Farm Short Article About Trade Silver :

Canadian Trade Silver Cross

Canadian Trade Silver Cross Sold By Christie’s for $1,434.00

Good Luck Out There!

Martin Codina CEO of Fine Estate Liquidation – A San Francisco Bay Are Estate Sales Company

Some of this information was gathered from research conducted using Prices 4 Antiques.Com. Here’s a discount code for them: Prices4Antiques.Com Discount Code.

To Keep Up To Date With Fine Estate:

Visit Our Ruby Lane Shop
Follow Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter

Where to Purchase Our Book "Liquidating an Estate"