What’s Selling on eBay: June 2016
by Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
$1,426.45 (25 bids, 10 bidders): Solid Silver Shooting Butt Marker, London 1899.
A beautiful condition, rare, late Victorian solid silver game shooting butt marker, which was made by London silversmith John Milward Banks and is fully hallmarked with full London assay office silver stamps that date it to 1899, the reign of Queen Victoria. The butt marker is engraved to the side of its excellent condition solid silver case with the following: “The Sportsman’s pathfinder, Albert Barker London W. Pat. No. 22108.” It is in excellent working order, opening and closing correctly. Once open, fanning out to reveal its original 8 numbered solid silver pegs within a fully gilded interior. It is 50 mm by 29 mm when closed.
(Photo: eBay seller Tommytom952013)
DBA: The buyer got a great deal, as these are not common objects. A shooting butt marker was used to determine the shooting position, or order, of the shooters. This was determined by the drawing of the numbered peg. These antique markers have become very collectible, and this seems like a very good price to buy one. I have only seen retail prices for this type of object, and those prices have been at least four times this price.
$1168.01 (16 bids, 5 bidder): Fireman’s Fund Insurance Shreve Sterling Silver Match Safe, Agent’s Gift.
This is a wonderful antique Fireman’s Fund Insurance Shreve sterling silver match safe agent’s gift. Measures about 2 3/8 by 1 inches and weighs 0.7 ounces. No breaks or splits to seams; hinge is tight and undamaged; lid snaps shut and fits properly. The only thing we can see is a pinpoint ding to the lid.
(Photo: eBay seller doveplace.)
DBA: Friction matches did not come into general use until the middle of the 19th century. Think about the change that this invention made in the lives of people. Keeping the fire burning in homes was an important job. The more traditional ways of starting a fire, such as rubbing sticks together or fixing a beam of sunlight through a magnifying glass, take a tremendous amount of time and effort. We think of matches as being “free,” mainly given as advertising gifts. Actually, matches were very expensive when first invented. In addition, they needed to be kept dry, and the earliest matches carried were not as stable as those today and could ignite. For all of these reasons, match safes were important. Most adults during this time period carried matches with them as it was necessary to light lamps, lanterns, heaters, and stoves. The heyday of match safes was from 1870 to 1930. Lighters came into use around 1930. There are many collectors of match safes. This is a high price for a sterling match safe, maybe because there are so many match safes! That this is a specific one for advertising seems to make it more valuable.
$1,035.10 (27 bids, 12 bidders): 1/6th Plate Daguerreotype Photo in Case, Soldier Uniform, ID’ed Otis W. Willis.
Up for sale is a vintage 1/6th plate daguerreotype photo in case (a mirror-like image printed on a silver-plated copper plate). The image is not sealed. It has some wear, discoloration and corrosion. There is a note pinned to the inside front cover marked, “Otis Winchester Willis About 25 Year Old.” The case has a split hinge, has some warping, and has rough, torn, missing covering. The case is about 3 1/8 by 3 5/8 inches.
(Photo: eBay seller patrik_ca)
DBA: This price is on the high side for a daguerreotype, but not the highest that I have ever seen. The higher prices are usually beautiful women, family groups, especially children, and soldiers. This process was used mainly from 1839 to 1860, being quickly replaced by less expensive processes. That this picture is identified by the name of the person makes it more valuable. This type of photograph is very easily damaged, and while this one has some condition issues, it is in better shape than most.
$1,230 (33 bids, 17 bidders): 19th C. Antique Victorian Zinner & Sohn Circus Clown & Horses Wagon Pull Toy.
Found at a small New Hampshire flea market, this rare 19th century Victorian pull toy depicts a clown on a wagon pulled by two papier-mache horses. After searching on the Internet, we were able to find several similar examples with the same clown and horses, but we couldn’t find this exact toy. After comparing the clown and horses, we are sure of guaranteeing that this 16-inch long x 5.5-inch wide by 13-inch tall Victorian German pull toy is by Zinner and Sohn. The clown measures 8.5 inches tall; it has some separation to the silk and one break at the ankle. There are three small white sticks missing from the side of the wagon, and part of one wheel is missing a piece. Both horses once had something attached to the front, and the holes on the side of the papier-mache bodies have enlarged slightly. There also is a restoration to one of the legs. When you pulled this Victorian toy, the horses would ride up and down.
(Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)
DBA: The seller got a good buy. These toys are very collectible. This is more of a traditional auction price rather than a retail price. The highest prices are for the ones with more automation in the toy and in good condition. Gottlieb Zinner & Sohne produced mechanical dolls and toys from 1845-1926. These can be found in bisque, papier mache, wax/composition and wood.
Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 404-262-2131 or Deborah@expert-appraisers.com. Her website is www.expert-appraisers.com.