By Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
$3,250 (10 bids, 8 bidders): Antique Kugel Christmas Ornament (red grapes).
“Kugel” is the name of thick, heavy glass Christmas ornaments that were made in Germany from as early as 1840 to the early 1900s. Although the word kugel means “round ball” in German, original kugels were also made in the shape of grapes, apples, pears, pine cones, berries, teardrops and balls with melon-style ribs.
From a collector’s standpoint, it’s all about color and shape combinations. With kugels, the color is in the glass, rarely painted on. A silver kugel, which is clear glass with only the silver lining showing through, is the most common. From silver kugel to rarest, the colors would be: gold, yellow-green, cobalt, blue and pinkish red being fairly plentiful; followed by the less common colors which would be the darker greens like moss and olive, copper/bronze, light blue; then getting into the rare spectrum of colors of deep red, burgundy, orange and the coveted amethyst.
These ornaments were in high demand in Europe where they originated, not only in Germany but in France as well. They made their way to the United States a few decades later. Woolworth’s, the popular five-and dime store, reportedly sold the first kugels to American shoppers in the 1880s. Kugels have a luster, weight and aged patina that many old Christmas ornaments just can’t match. They add sparkle and magic to any collection and will bring joy to you and generations of your family to come!
Approximate measurements: 4.25 x 2.75 inches (at the widest point.). Condition: overall good, used condition. No visible cracks or signs of damage. In great condition for its age (100+ years old). Just imagine all the Christmas mornings this ornament has seen!
(Photo: eBay seller reds_rusty_relics)
DBA: This ornament looks like one of the old ones. These are still popular, and new ones are on the market. The newer ones have a raised “cap” or stem where the hanger is attached. The ones made between 1840 and 1900 are made with heavy glass, while the new ones are rather thin. This, even with the rarer red color, is at the very high end of the price range and may be the highest paid. – Editor’s note: the seller found this item at a sale in a box of three kugels that he bought for $3.
$3,800 (18 bids, 10 bidders): Brookfield Flat Top Emerald Glass Insulator and Original Bracket.
I have never seen this style of Brookfield insulator before. I could not find another like it on eBay or the Internet. It is a really nice, dark emerald color. It has a very blunt, flat top, and “Brookfield” is written across the top. Even rarer is that it comes with its original wooden and metal mounting bracket. It is in really nice condition.
DBA: This is a very high price for a glass insulator and may be due to the rarity of the item. Two company names are associated with this company. James Madison Brookfield moved to Brooklyn after his glassworks facility was destroyed by flood in Pennsylvania. He was located across the street from Bushwick Glass Works, owned by Martin Kalbfleisch who also owned Bushwick Chemical Works. His glassworks was to supply bottles needed for his chemical business. He hired Mr. Brookfield to manage his operation, and the combined companies were known as Bushwick. Later, Brookfield purchased the glass portion of that business and the business was known as Brookfield.
In the early years, a variety of jars and bottles were the main part of the business. Electric insulators came later. A majority of insulators are aqua in color with the green being rare. The name Brookfield across the cap means it is an earlier one. I could not find one with this particular shape, and this may be why collectors were vying for it.
$417.59 (25 bids, 11 bidders): Antique circa 1900 American Folk Art Painted Double Squirrel Cage.
Constructed from thin pine, this late 19th century or very early 20th century squirrel cage is a wonderful Folk Art example. It measures 27 inches long by 16 inches tall by 8 inches wide, not counting the two 6-inch diameter by 9-inch tall wire cages. These cages do not revolve, and you can remove them easily. Both cages are in very good condition, but one cage is missing a wire hook at the top. There also is a missing pediment at the top of the center gable. Hand painted to look like brick, this Folk Art building/cage has a couple of small problems. There is a piece of wood missing from the gable’s roof and a shrinkage line to the main roof, near the left chimney. On the right, there is a place to hang a water bottle, and on the left of the building is a lift-up cover for the food. This antique American squirrel cage is in very good condition, and there are no restorations.
(Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)
DBA: I am confused; I thought a squirrel cage must have a rotating part for the squirrel to run on. This is so common a term that in electrical engineering a squirrel cage motor is an induction motor with a cylindrical winding having copper bars around the periphery parallel to the axis. In electronics, it is an electric fan with long narrow blades arranged in parallel so as to form a cylinder about an axis around which they spin.
Apparently, it was popular to keep small caged animals indoors in the 1800s. Most cages did have rotating components to watch the animal run. Some even were equipped with musical parts or other curiosities.
This price is average for the age and quality of this object.
$9,280 (69 bids, 18 bidders): Antique Arts & Crafts Marblehead Decorated Art Pottery Miniature Vase, Signed HT.
We were recently consigned three early pieces of Marblehead Art Pottery which are fresh to the market, out of an Arts & Crafts Bungalow home in New Hampshire. All three pieces are from the very early 20th century and have the early markings.
Although only one is signed “HT,” we do believe that all three examples of pottery are by this artist. At first, we thought these initials referred to “Hannah Tutt,” but after some research, we found that although many people attribute pottery to her, she was only a bookkeeper for the company and did not actually create pottery herself. We were unable to positively identify the artist of these three examples of Marblehead Pottery, but we have still listed them each separately and without any reserve!
Measuring only 4 ¼ inches tall, this Miniature Art Pottery vase was made during the very early 20th century by Marblehead Pottery. It has a classic Arts & Crafts decoration and a three-tone matte-glaze. Signed with the initials “HT” above the maker’s mark, this Marblehead Miniature Vase is in excellent original condition, with no restorations
(Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)
DBA: The “HT” is thought to be a combined effort of designer Arthur Irwin Hennesey and decorator Sarah Tutt. Marblehead Pottery was started in 1904 by Dr. Herbert Hall as therapy for his patients. This evolved into a business, and in 1915, the production operation was managed by Arthur Baggs. The pottery continued in operation until 1936. The work has always been considered high quality. The decorated tiles tend to be the Marblehead objects selling for the most money. This price for one vase is very high. The “HT” signature is not that rare.