What's Selling on eBay: March 2018

What's Selling on eBay: March 2018

by Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
$4,850 (22 bids, 11 bidders): Antique 1914 Arizona License Plate, Original 3″ X 7 1/2″.
Bidding on a 1914 Arizona motorcycle license plate number 948. Plate is rusty but very legible. It measures 3 x 7 1/2 inches. 1914 is two years after Arizona became a state in 1912. I found it in the bottom of my grandmother’s husband’s toolbox after having it in my garage for 30 years.
(Photo courtesy of eBay seller nbafanphxsuns)
DBA: These are very rare. The number 948 was from the overrun, as Arizona only issued the first 742. There are large numbers of license plate collectors, and for rare plates, the prices can be high. Only four of these are known to exist.

$3,928 (38 bids, 16 bidders): An incredible, rare, early 19th Century Fijian “Totokia Club” with Inlaid “Eyes.”
Truly wonderful color and condition, with the usual marks, scratches, chips and other superficial defects consistent with its age and as one would expect from such a weapon of this period. The Totoki, a beaked battle-hammer, is widely considered to be the most desirable of all the Fijian clubs. Carried by chiefs and the most infamous of warriors, the clubs themselves would achieve great recognition in their own right, becoming imbued with “manna” from their exploits and victories. They were bestowed their own names, spoken with reverence and respect. These symbols of power and prestige would usually be passed down through generations of the same family, and chiefs were often buried with theirs.
This variety of club was designed to drive or peck a neat hole through an enemy’s skull, the weight of the head being concentrated in the point of the beak. The weapon was favored due to its effectiveness when compared to other varieties of clubs as its beak could be driven through a skull, causing instant death without a long warning swing likely to alert the target or possibly catch on undergrowth. The Totokia was the weapon of choice in murder, to dispatch wounded enemies on the battlefield and to execute criminal offenders.
This example displays a highly unusual element to the head which appears to have been designed to resemble a rather disturbing face. The beak of the club obviously representing the nose, it clearly has two eyes which contain a white inlay of some description, one of which may possibly be missing, I almost think you can just see it; however, I am reluctant to disturb the ancient grime obscuring the opening. The beautifully decorated zigzag “tavatava” handgrip of the shaft is well worn from use, denoting a long period of faithful service.
The club measures approximately 34 1/2 inches in length, 3 3/4 inches across the head, and comes from an old private collection.
(Photo courtesy of eBay seller nordovicum)
DBA: This price is on the high side of what is the usual price for this type of item. This just shows how many people eBay reaches. The only thing that I would add to the above description is that this club is becoming a cult-type object, having been depicted in the Star Wars series, particularly as weapons used by the Sand people in that movie series. I would think that the price for this object will continue to be high.
$1,116 (17 bids, 6 bidders): Antique Porcelain and Brass Hand Painted Nut CrackerHand Painted/Garlic Press.
Pink blossoms on golden branches with ribbons. No maker’s marking on the base. Press down on the knob on the top to crack the nut/crush the garlic. Diameter of base 10.8 cm, height of 14.5 cm. In good condition. The press has a slight lean, but no chips, cracks or crazing.
(Photo courtesy of eBay seller wombats01)
DBA: I would call this a garlic press. I could see this being damaged by the force needed to crack nuts. Given that there are many ways to crush garlic, I would think that there were few of these produced and even fewer still in existence. Most of these that I have seen selling have been in the $100-$200 range.
$1,202 (18 bids, 7 bidders): Old, rare ca. 1910 Philadelphia, PA, Advertising Porcelain Antique Telephone Mouthpiece.
From Chas. Lentz & Sons of Phila., PA, in excellent original condition. There are no chips or cracks, and it is very clean. It stands 1 1/2 inches tall, measures 2 3/8 inches in diameter at the large end, and measures just over 7/8 inches in diameter on the fine-threaded end.
DBA: Charles Lentz & Sons of Philadelphia sold surgical instruments, orthopedic apparatuses, trusses, etc., fine microscopes, medical batteries, physicians’ and hospital supplies. While this could have been used for advertising (and possibly given to medical facilities), I have seen an advertisement for selling these in early medical supply catalogues.
In early businesses where employees had one phone to use, they were sometimes given “Red Cross” mouthpieces to use to lessen the spread of germs. The Red Cross mouthpieces were made of glass and sometimes had a part screwing into the back of the mouthpiece where an antiseptic cord could be kept. These typically sell for the most money. Replacement parts were even made in the 1950s for these old phones.
New reproductions are also being made, so be aware. These are different from the old ones and are not nearly as valuable. This object sold for a record amount, and none selling later have even some close to this amount.
Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 1-404-262-2131 or Deborah@expert-appraisers.com. Her website is www.expert-appraisers.com.

What’s Selling on eBay: March 2018