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Antiques Considered - March 24, 2010

Earlier this month I attended the meeting of the Lancaster Woman’s Club in Lancaster Courthouse, one of the most delightful villages in the Northern Neck. The president, Jean Nead, had engaged me to conduct a session evaluating objects that the membership brought to the meeting.
I saw many fine pieces including the American pattern spillholder that I am pictured holding. Today many people refer to these items as “spooners” because after the invention of matches they no longer served their original purpose of holding the spills that folks made to light their fires. In those days people took newspaper and rolled it into long twists with which they could transfer fire from the fireplace to candles.

The one in the photograph dates from the mid-19th century, is in perfect condition, and is worth $90. The regional authority on spillholders is Don Mayhew of Mayhew’s Antiques in Tappahannock in the Middle Peninsula. He has studied them for decades, and is fluent in all of their attributes.
The second photograph shows an enameled cranberry glass vase in a modified peach bowl form. It dates from the late 19th century, and clearly was originally one of a pair, this one with the lady’s cameo, matching one with a gentleman’s. The quality of the gold application and of the painting itself is excellent.
Cranberry is perhaps the most popular glass among collectors, and this example is particularly fine. Unfortunately, the mate’s fate is unknown, thus the value is limited. Still, this one is worth $250, and significantly more to any one owning one with the gentleman’s painting. As a pair the two would be well above $500.
Other club members brought in a wide variety of good antiques, including a splendid early Majolica pitcher, which unfortunately had severe chip damage. I suggested taking it to McHugh’s Restorations in Richmond as the piece justified the expense of repair.
The gathering proved to be a great exchange among some of the Northern Neck’s most interested collectors, and the lunch was equally good.
Happy Antiquing!
Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P. O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them there or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with pictures and descriptions of items.

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