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Jewish World Review May 22, 2003 / 20 Iyar, 5763

Anita Gold

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Consumer Reports

Collecting Silver Patterns Stir Collectors Passions;
assessing silver dollars and old milk glass; Cracker Jack collectibles | Q. Over the years at family dinners, most of the fancy flatware we used (that my mother bought at house, estate, and garage sales) didn't have matching patterns. How can I find out the value of such plated silverware, learn how to identify their patterns, and especially how to clean the deposits embedded in the embossed patterns? Clara White, Indianapolis, IN

A. A popular book which lists, dates, identifies, and illustrates, over 1,600 patterns on knives, forks, and spoons with their names, variations of pattern names, manufacturers marks, catalog reprints, and current values for such pieces organized by their patterns and the name of the firms that produced them, which are arranged in chronological order by production date, and which includes sections on 19th century patterns, as well as unidentified patterns, is "Silverplated Flatware, An Identification and Value Guide - Revised 4th Edition" by Tere Hagan available in a large 376-page edition for $22.45 postpaid from AMI Publications, P.O. Box 500, Western Springs, IL 60558.

To clean and polish the pieces to perfection, and easily clean and unclog any fancy embossments, curlicues, or raised or incised embellishments on any flatware or hollowware, the best and most amazing "miracle" polish to make those babies shine and therefore a pleasure with which to dine is MAAS Metal Polish available in a large bottle for $9.95 plus $2.95 shipping which includes a free polishing cloth dry-treated with the MAAS formula, from MAAS Polishing Systemes, Dept. D, P.O. Box 128, La Grange, IL 60525-0128; follow the following 4-step directions which work like a charm:

1. Put the pieces in a drain-closed sink or suitable tin, aluminum, or enamel pan.

2. Pour enough boiling water over the pieces to completely cover them, letting them soak to soften the residue, and replacing the boiling water if need be.

3. After soaking take a piece out (which needn't be dried) and rub MAAS on the piece and into the embossments.

4. Take a soft toothbrush covered with a T-shirt material (into which MAAS has been rubbed to produced a jeweler's cloth), and simply brush and polish the embossments clean. It will leave the pieces looking gorgeous, grand, and brand new.

For larger pieces (like coffee or teapots) place wet towels or cloths soaked in boiling hot water, over, on, or against the pieces to loosen the muck or goop in the grooves or embossments, and follow the above 4-step directions.

Q. My grandfather was a collector of coins throughout his life. When he passed away several years ago, his collection was split up among family members. I received a half roll of silver dollars dated 1898 all of which are in very good condition, but I have no idea if they were circulated or un-circulated, as I did not receive any documentation. How can I find out what they're currently worth, and where can I sell them without being taken advantage of? e-mail from Victoria Cash

A. A new book that'll tell you everything you want to know, is the new "2004 U.S. Coin Digest - A Guide to Average Retail Prices from the Market Experts, Edited by Joel Edler and Dave Harper, available in a 263-page spiral-bound edition, for $15.99 postpaid from Krause Publications, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001. Or phone (800) 258-0929 toll free to order. Or contact coin, currency, tokens, and medals dealer Julian M. Leidman at Bonanza Coins in Sliver Spring, MD by visiting his website: or e-mail:

Q. How can I tell the difference between old milk glass and new, reproduced milk glass pieces? Bernice Davis, Green Bay, WI

A. New milk glass is almost always heavier in weight and is somewhat whiter looking resembling the color of uncooked rice. The older pieces have a more dense opaque whiteness to their color that resembles white porcelain. Holding such pieces up to the light and comparing them, might offer a clue. The "Collector's Encyclopedia of Milk Glass - With Updated Values" by Betty and Bill Newbound, includes everything you want to know about milk glass and from which you'll learn about the history of the glass, how to distinguish the old from the new, and much more, is available in a full color, 264-page hardcover edition, for $27.95 postpaid from AMI Publications, P.O. Box 500, Western Springs, IL 60558. You'll love this book.

Q. I have an iron cigar painted brown that resembles dog doo. Can you tell me anything about it? Herbie Franklin, Long Beach, CA

A. It has nothing to do (or doo doo) with dogs. Such an iron cigar was made as, and was meant to be, a paperweight, and is believed to have been an advertising piece that originally had a paper cigar band to advertise the band's cigar brand. However, beware if you come across "a cigar pipe" (popular in 1897) that was shaped like and colored to resemble a real cigar with an ash on the end. Tobacco was stuffed into the open end and then lit. Being made of asbestos (long before we knew of its dangers) the "cigar pipe" had no taste, absorbed nicotine, and provided one with twenty smokes for only four cents. If you want to quit smoking, send for a copy of "How To Quit Smoking Immediately, Easily and Forever" with no pills, patches or potions, available for $5 postpaid and a long self address stamped envelope mail to Anita Gold, P.O. Box 597401, Chicago, IL 60659.

Q. Where can I possibly find early Cracker Jack items, which my husband collects? Sally Anderson, Virginia Beach, VA

A. You'll find early, desirable, and hard to find Cracker Jack items (and countless other fabulous and fascinating collectibles) pictured and described in Ted Hake's Mail/IPhone/Internet Bidding Auction Catalogue #174 offering 3261 sought after items on June 3, 4 and 5, 2003. To see, search for, and bid on the items you want (and may have had as a kid) visit, or phone (717) 848-1333. Or write Hake's Americana & Collectibles c/o Ted Hake, Dept. L, P.O. Box 1444, York, PA 17405-1444. To request a complimentary one-time-only catalogue, identify yourself as a reader of this column. Or send $20 for the next three catalogues, or $30 for the next five, which is a one-year subscription.

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Anita Gold has been writing this column for over 30 years. To comment or ask a question, please click here.


05/14/03: Picky, Picky, Picky Collectors; teddy value; egg trees; big band records
05/08/03: Collectors pumped up over gas & oil items; old soda pop bottles; info on collecting autographs
04/29/03: Collectors can tyg this one on; value of a weird PEZ candy dispenser
04/22/03: Identify Authenticity and Value
04/15/03: Patriotic Songs and Memories of Long Ago Wars
04/08/03: Restore Grandmother's jewelry and memories

© 2003, Anita Gold