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Antiques Considered - July 25, 2012

 

This antique scale belongs to an old Northern Neck family that once ran the store in which it was used. It has been in the family for over one hundred years, and is in excellent condition. The pan is tin, and the scale itself is steel, the family thinks, plated with nickel.  The marble retains its original polished shine.  It still measures things correctly, and the family uses it during summer months to weigh garden produce.  Unfortunately, it bears no maker’s identification.

This piece dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century and reflects the then-prevailing Victorian version of a time-honored neoclassical motif with the egg-and-dart design around the base.  The pan appears to have had some repair with what looks like a piece of copper fashioned below the upper rim.  In the photograph the pan is not positioned correctly on the base.  In many such pieces the marble has been broken as items have been dropped on them over the years.  Having intact marble is a decided plus.

Almost certainly the scale has lost its maker’s label, which would have been required to provide a comeback if it did not measure accurately.  Sometimes the identity was cast into the base or welded to another piece of the metal, or later as a decal applied to the base or upper structure.  I suggest looking on the bottom to see if a label exists there.

The scale is worth $250.  Store items are popular for a wide variety of purposes, be they conversation pieces, restorations of old kitchens or stores, or practical use as with this one measuring the weight of summer produce.  Having the original nickel-plated finish in such good condition is a decided plus in its value, but the absence of the manufacturer’s identity lessens its value.

Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc., at 5150 Jesse DuPont Hwy., P. O. Box 35, Wicomico Church VA 22570.

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