A Minton majolica centerpiece was auctioned in May as an “ice stand.” Minton & Polson was established in 1793 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. The company started making majolica in about 1850. Some of these early pieces, marked “Minton,” inspired majolica made after 1873, when the company often used the mark “Mintons.”
Ice stands were pictured in the company’s 1851 catalog. They were tall pieces meant to be used as spectacular centerpieces on a dining table. Each was a tall pedestal with a vase or dish-shaped piece at the top, a large “stem” and a group of small bowls or plates surrounding the pedestal, sometimes at two levels. The stands held ice or ice shavings and sauces for dessert. But as one expert has said, they were “more ornamental than functional.”
An 1865 Minton ice stand decorated with stag heads, wolves and pine cones sold for $8,610 at a May Neal auction in New Orleans.
Q: For years my family has owned an antique spool bed (the kind with spool-turned head and foot boards). Everyone always called it a “Jenny Lind bed.” Please tell me why.
A: Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a world-famous opera singer known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” She became a huge celebrity in the United States when she toured here in 1850-52 at the invitation of P.T. Barnum, a master promoter. American advertisers used her to promote everything from hats and gloves to pianos and beds. Lind is said to have slept in a spool-turned bed while on the tour — so furniture makers started calling the popular style a “Jenny Lind bed.” The style still is often advertised that way.
Q: I have inherited a picture of what looks like an oil painting. There are two buildings in it, one with a “Morton Salt” sign. The picture is signed “H. Hargrove” and has a round seal on the back with a number and the phrase, “Collectors Corner, Inc., Certificate of Authenticity.” Is it worth much?
A: “H. Hargrove” is a name used by painter Nicolo Sturiano. He was born in Italy in 1941 and came to the United States in 1964. He worked as a winemaker at a New York State vineyard while he began painting as a hobby. When his nostalgic American landscapes became popular, he left the vineyard and moved to Greenwich Village in New York City.
Collectors Corner of Indianapolis sold Hargrove prints in the 1980s through a home party plan. Hargrove is still working and has a studio in Toms River, N.J. Your limited-edition print sells for $25 or less.
Q: My father-in-law died in 1962 and left a bottle of Chivas Regal 12-year-old blend. It has never been opened and has all the stamps required at the time. Does it have any value other than the normal price today?
A: James and John Chivas began making blended whiskey in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the mid-19th century. The Chivas Regal 12-year-old blend was introduced in 1938. The Chivas Regal brand was bought by Pernod Ricard, a French group, in 2001.
Full bottles of liquor should be kept in a cool, dark place, but even with proper storage, the liquor may deteriorate after a few years. Full bottles can’t be sold privately in some states.
You could open the bottle and drink the whiskey, although if it was stored in a hot or sunny place, the taste may have changed. Modern liquor bottles have very little resale value.
Correction: A reader noticed that in a question run several weeks ago about the Shmoo character in the Li’l Abner comic strip, we wrote the plural incorrectly. A group of the friendly creatures is a group of “shmoos.” They live in the Valley of the Shmoon.
Terry Kovel’s column is syndicated by King Features. Write to: Kovels, (Las Vegas Review-Journal), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.