KOVELS: Lucite has become a versatile material used in furniture, decoration | Community

It’s essential for designers to stay on the cutting edge of fashion, which often means finding innovative uses for new materials. Lucite, a clear acrylic resin made by DuPont, was available for commercial use in 1937. By the 1960s it was used in furniture. Designers often added accents made of smooth, reflective materials like chrome or brass or covered their pieces with shiny, colorful fabrics.

Another way to decorate Lucite pieces was to encase decorations, such as flowers, in the resin. The bright, shiny material made the designs – and the rooms they furnished – feel lighter. Some Lucite pieces were made in unusual shapes and styles. Others were more conventional, like this mid-century steamer trunk, which sold at New Orleans auction galleries for $531. This may have an advantage over typical wooden or leather trunks: the see-through material means you don’t have to open it to see what’s inside!

Q: We had full service for four of the Franciscan’s Oasis patterned dishes when we got married years ago. It has blue and gray shaded lines and stars. The only pieces remaining are a sauce boat with an attached saucer and a 13-inch oval platter. We are reducing our workforce and want to sell them in a garage sale. What are they worth?

A: Franciscan made its Oasis model from 1954 to 1962. The gravy boat sells in online stores for $40 to $75 and the 13-inch tray for $70 or more. The prices listed online don’t always match the price the items sell for, and you probably won’t be able to get as much as an online seller. Online sellers have the advantage of having a larger inventory, thousands of potential customers and many repeat customers. Garage sale shoppers are looking for bargains, so set your price but be prepared to lower it if you see there’s value in buying the gravy boat or platter for less.

Q: I was given a set of silver flatware from my aunt’s estate. Is it worth anything other than sentimental value?

A: Silver flatware sets do not command high prices and are not popular at the moment. Because they are plated, they cannot be sold for smelting value – the mixing of silver and other metals. Before doing anything with your set, research the name and history of the set’s manufacturer. Don’t forget that your heirloom set is definitely nice for holiday table settings and don’t forget the sentimental value. A full set of 12 silver flatware sells for around $100-200 at auction, but famous brands like Tiffany or Gorham and modern designs can fetch higher prices.

Q: What is the difference between cut glass and pressed glass? What is most valuable?

A: Cut glass is an ancient technique that was revived in Europe in the 1500s. Cut and etched patterns added luster to glass and helped hide flaws like bubbles. Mold blown glass used easier and cheaper techniques to imitate cut glass. The mechanical glass press was invented in the 1820s, making production even simpler and cheaper. American manufacturers made pressed glass designs in a variety of colors. To tell the difference between cut glass and pressed glass, remember the three Ls: look, lift and listen. Cut glass designs have sharp edges, so they shimmer more than pressed glass, which has rounded edges. When you pick up a cut glass item, it will feel heavier than a similar piece of pressed glass. Tap your finger against a piece of cut glass and it will sound clearer than pressed glass. Cut glass is generally more expensive than pressed glass, but current prices range from less than $20 to thousands of dollars. Cut glass with a famous signature or maker like Baccarat or Waterford tends to fetch higher prices. Embellishments such as silver frames or colored glass can further increase the price.

Q: I have an old aluminum ice cream scoop with the name “Franklin Ice Cream” on the handle. My grandparents used to take me and my sisters to this store for a treat in the 1960s. Are the vintage ice cream scoops collectible?

A: The Franklin Ice Cream Co. began operations in an abandoned blacksmith shop in Toledo, Ohio in 1922 as the Franklin Creamery Co. It was a success. By the 1950s, the company was selling 900,000 gallons of ice cream a year and had 22 stores in Toledo, Maumee, Cleveland and Monroe. The Franklin Creamery Co. factory closed in 1964 when Franklin was sold to United Dairy Farmers of Cincinnati (a chain that still dominates the convenience store industry today). The factory was demolished in 1969. The value of your scoop lies in its memorabilia and its rarity. Rare scoops can sell for a few hundred or even thousands of dollars. Common shapes will sell for $25 or less.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer reader questions sent to the column. Send a letter with a question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two photos, the item and a close-up of any marks or damage. Make sure your name and return address are included. By submitting a question, you are giving full permission for use in any Kovel product. Names, addresses or e-mail addresses will not be published. We do not guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels’ posts. Write Kovels, The Daily Times, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at [email protected]

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