Antiques

A Strong Sign of Value?

The latest installment of our appraisal series considers this and other Maine-y treasures.

BY VIRGINIA M. WRIGHT
Maine antique appraisal, Strong Maine road sign
Photographed by Joel Page

This sign pointing the way to the western Maine town of Strong belonged to my dad, who was an antiques dealer. It used to hang in our cabin in the woods in North Fryeburg. Now, it hangs on the wall in my home. — Elizabeth Schoch, Biddeford

These signs were produced from around 1915 to 1925 primarily to direct travelers on “auto trails” to northern Maine mountain and lake resorts, says John Bottero, vice president of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. Some maps were available, but travelers mostly relied on landmarks and signs like these. Metal signs were considered a weather-resistant improvement over their wooden predecessors.

Bottero’s appraisal: $250–$350

early-20th-century school desk, Maine antique appraisal
Photographed by Joel Page

My family has had camps on Messalonskee Lake (aka Snow Pond) in Belgrade since the early 1960s. When we purchased our current house in the 1970s, this student desk was in it. It’s in excellent condition, and the drawer works well.  Elizabeth Brody Gluck, Cambridge, Massachusetts

This early-20th-century school desk is similar to some of the Moulthrop Movable Chair Desks currently listed on eBay, though it doesn’t appear to have a manufacturer’s label. Made by Langslow-Fowler Co., of Rochester, New York, Moulthrop desks were named for school principal Samuel Parker Moulthrop, whose brilliant idea was replacing iron-framed seats bolted to the floor in rows with freestanding desks that allowed flexible use of the classroom. “You’d think this desk would be perfect for a child’s bedroom,” says Bruce Gamage, of Rockland’s Gamage Antiques, but alas, they garner little interest at auction.

Gamage’s appraisal: $25

James L. White painted candle box, Maine antique appraisal
Photographed by Cindy Quadrini

We purchased this painted candle box from an antiques dealer in Rochester, New York. It was in her personal collection, and I wanted it for a few years before she agreed to sell it to my husband, who gave it to me for my birthday. — Cindy Quadrini, Brownsboro, Alabama

“That’s a cool thing,” Bruce Gamage says. “It was probably made between 1830 and 1840. Candles were stored in boxes to keep them from being gnawed by mice and other animals.” The maker, James L. White, of Wiscasset, signed his name on the underside of the lid (the top is painted black and notched with finger grooves to make it easy to open). His signature adds value to a box that would ordinarily sell at auction for about $125.

Gamage’s appraisal: $175

signed Shaker spinning wheel, Maine antique appraisal
Photographed by Clyda Ludlow

I found this spinning wheel at an antiques shop in Gales Ferry, Connecticut. It’s similar to one in A Pictorial Guide to American Spinning Wheels by D. Pennington and M. Taylor. The notation says that the initials stamped on the wheel — “SR AL” — indicate it was made by Samuel Ring, a member of the Shaker Community in Alfred, Maine. — Clyda Ludlow, Orem, Utah

Shaker deacon Samuel Ring lived from 1820 to 1880, and he was known for the spinning wheels and accessories made in shops under his supervision. A deacon’s initials were like a seal of quality assurance in the then-robust spinning wheel market. The overall popularity of spinning wheels has declined dramatically over the past 20 years, with wheels selling at auction for $50–$100, Bottero says. A signed Shaker wheel, however, will fetch a great deal more.

Bottero’s appraisal: $800–$1,200

SUBMIT YOUR ITEM! Have a Maine-y curiosity you’d like to know more about? Send a photo and description to [email protected] and we may feature it in an upcoming column.

SEE MORE ANTIQUES

A Strong Sign of Value?

The latest installment of our appraisal series considers this and other Maine-y treasures.

BY VIRGINIA M. WRIGHT
Maine antique appraisal, Strong Maine road sign
Photographed by Joel Page

This sign pointing the way to the western Maine town of Strong belonged to my dad, who was an antiques dealer. It used to hang in our cabin in the woods in North Fryeburg. Now, it hangs on the wall in my home. — Elizabeth Schoch, Biddeford

These signs were produced from around 1915 to 1925 primarily to direct travelers on “auto trails” to northern Maine mountain and lake resorts, says John Bottero, vice president of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. Some maps were available, but travelers mostly relied on landmarks and signs like these. Metal signs were considered a weather-resistant improvement over their wooden predecessors.

Bottero’s appraisal: $250–$350

early-20th-century school desk, Maine antique appraisal
Photographed by Joel Page

My family has had camps on Messalonskee Lake (aka Snow Pond) in Belgrade since the early 1960s. When we purchased our current house in the 1970s, this student desk was in it. It’s in excellent condition, and the drawer works well.  Elizabeth Brody Gluck, Cambridge, Massachusetts

This early-20th-century school desk is similar to some of the Moulthrop Movable Chair Desks currently listed on eBay, though it doesn’t appear to have a manufacturer’s label. Made by Langslow-Fowler Co., of Rochester, New York, Moulthrop desks were named for school principal Samuel Parker Moulthrop, whose brilliant idea was replacing iron-framed seats bolted to the floor in rows with freestanding desks that allowed flexible use of the classroom. “You’d think this desk would be perfect for a child’s bedroom,” says Bruce Gamage, of Rockland’s Gamage Antiques, but alas, they garner little interest at auction.

Gamage’s appraisal: $25

James L. White painted candle box, Maine antique appraisal
Photographed by Cindy Quadrini

We purchased this painted candle box from an antiques dealer in Rochester, New York. It was in her personal collection, and I wanted it for a few years before she agreed to sell it to my husband, who gave it to me for my birthday. — Cindy Quadrini, Brownsboro, Alabama

“That’s a cool thing,” Bruce Gamage says. “It was probably made between 1830 and 1840. Candles were stored in boxes to keep them from being gnawed by mice and other animals.” The maker, James L. White, of Wiscasset, signed his name on the underside of the lid (the top is painted black and notched with finger grooves to make it easy to open). His signature adds value to a box that would ordinarily sell at auction for about $125.

Gamage’s appraisal: $175

signed Shaker spinning wheel, Maine antique appraisal
Photographed by Clyda Ludlow

I found this spinning wheel at an antiques shop in Gales Ferry, Connecticut. It’s similar to one in A Pictorial Guide to American Spinning Wheels by D. Pennington and M. Taylor. The notation says that the initials stamped on the wheel — “SR AL” — indicate it was made by Samuel Ring, a member of the Shaker Community in Alfred, Maine. — Clyda Ludlow, Orem, Utah

Shaker deacon Samuel Ring lived from 1820 to 1880, and he was known for the spinning wheels and accessories made in shops under his supervision. A deacon’s initials were like a seal of quality assurance in the then-robust spinning wheel market. The overall popularity of spinning wheels has declined dramatically over the past 20 years, with wheels selling at auction for $50–$100, Bottero says. A signed Shaker wheel, however, will fetch a great deal more.

Bottero’s appraisal: $800–$1,200

SUBMIT YOUR ITEM! Have a Maine-y curiosity you’d like to know more about? Send a photo and description to [email protected] and we may feature it in an upcoming column.

SEE MORE ANTIQUES


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