Capt. Kangaroo hops into antique foray

Remember Captain Kangaroo? He was the star of the longest-running network children's show ever on television.

The show debuted in 1955 and ended in 1984. The show was originally in black and white. It changed to color by the end of the 1960s.


Cowles Syndicate Inc. Photo

This vinyl lunchbox had a matching metal thermos bottle. The complete box, picturing Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans, Grandfather Clock and Dancing Bear, sold for $200 last year.

There were many characters on the show over the years. They included Mr. Green Jeans, Dancing Bear and the Banana Man, as well as celebrity guests like Bill Cosby, Marlo Thomas and Andy Williams. Many products were made picturing characters from the show.

Collectors who remember Captain Kangaroo from their childhood, search for Captain dolls, games, lunchboxes and toys. The vinyl lunchbox made in 1964 is one of the more expensive items. It sells for about $200.

What can you tell us about our family's mahogany table? It is heavy, with a center pedestal on four casters. The tabletop is not attached and folds open on hinges. The open top is only half-finished.

The story we heard was that my great-grandfather's furniture factory, Niemann & Weinhardt Table Co., made the table in the late 1800s. The table is not marked.

During the early 1880s, William Niemann ran Niemann & Weinhardt, one of the largest table factories in Chicago. His partners in the business were his sons, William Henry and Albert Niemann, and his son-in-law, Hermann Weinhardt.

At first the company made chairs, bureaus and other small pieces of furniture. By 1891, it was concentrating on medium-priced tables for homes, offices and stores. William Sr. died in 1886. The other Niemanns eventually left the business. The company closed in 1912.

Your table is a card table made in a style popular during the mid-to-late-1800s. The top was originally attached to the base on a support rod.

My father bought a china cup and saucer about 40 years ago at an antiques store. The design is green, blue and mostly red. If you look closely, you can see that the design is composed of tiny human faces. Can you tell us where it was made and what it's worth?

The pattern of your cup and saucer is probably "Thousand Faces." It is a traditional Japanese porcelain pattern that is still made.

The value of your cup and saucer depends on their condition and age. If they are more than 100 years old and in excellent condition, the cup and saucer would sell for at least $100.

At a local estate sale, I bought a burnt-wood carving of a Japanese woman holding a fan. The carving is on an oval piece of three-layer plywood that's 21 inches high by 15 inches wide. Around the figure, a pattern of dots is burned into the wood. The back is marked "Burnt March 1, 1905, by Mrs. J.F. Bearingir, Ely, Minn."

I paid $70 for the carving. Was that too much?

Pyrography � the art of burning a design on wood, leather or cloth � was a popular hobby in the United States from about 1890 to 1915. Companies like the Flemish Art Co. of New York sold pyrography kits with designs stamped on wood. Your burnt-wood carving appears to be homemade without a kit.

You paid a fair price. Good examples of pyrography sell for the most in New England or California. A homemade piece marked "Minnesota" would probably sell for the highest price in that state.

I have an old all-glass knife that belonged to my grandmother. It is yellow-green with a starburst decoration on the handle. Can you tell me when and why these knives were made?

Glass knives were made from the mid-1920s through the early 1940s. They were common in kitchens of the Depression era, when inexpensive Depression glass dishes were selling across the country.

Glass knives were marketed as a perfect tool to cut citrus and other fruit, pies, meringue and cakes. The blade would not stain, and neither would the food, according to ads that ran at the time.

The knives came in sizes ranging from 7 1/2 inches to 9 1/2 inches. They were made by several different companies. If your knife is in its original condition and if you have the original box, it would sell for $35 to $50.

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