How to sell tea cups

Lisa asks:

What do tea cup collectors look for? I have 2-3 groups of tea cups of about 6 complete tea cups and saucers. Is it better to sell sets separately or as a group of 6.


Hi Lisa,  

Like most other collectors, tea cup collectors usually want unusual examples in excellent condition. If they're older and rare, that's good too. Among the most valuable tea cups are those made by Shelley, they are among the most valuable.

As far as selling them goes, excuse the pun, but it's 6 of one and half a dozen in the other. It really depends how valuable they are and what you think your time is worth. Overall, you will probably get more money if you sell the sets individually, but if they are of lower value, it may not be worth your time.

I would think that eBay would be the best way to sell them.  

Good luck! 

What kind of chair is this?

Morrischaircolonial creations.jpg

Lisa asks:

I recently bought a chair at a flea market. I was going to put it on my deck until my neighbor told me I better do some research on it. I can't seem to find anything online that would help me date it or what it is called. It has Stickley Bros Grand Rapid Mi on the bottom and the number 1472 1/2 . It is what I would call a reclining chair as the back is adjustable with a brass fixture and rod. The cushion I am guessing have been redone because they look fairly new. Any info you could give me would be appreciated as I am not having much luck finding another that resembles it.

Thank You, Lisa

AW says: Thanks Lisa, this is called a "Morris Chair" it's from the Colonial Creations line by the Stickley brothers. Circa 1930-44

Penquin from Phillipines: Can you dear reader, help?

 Charles asks:  I purchased this penguin at a yard sale about a year ago and since that time I have not been able to find out what it is made of. It was hand made in the Philippines. This piece feels cold at the touch so I think it is made of some kind of stone. This piece is 12” high and 5” at the base. As you can see in the pictures it looks like it was put together like a puzzle.


Penguin from Philipenes

Penguin from Philipenes

AW says: I'm not familiar with this stone bird, so if any readers out there would like to help. Please contact me via email or here in the comments section. Let's see if we can help Charles out. eh?



Reader has Lenox china for sale

Colleen says:

Hello, I have a complete set of 8 (plates, saucers, teacups, medium plates, wine glasses etc) Lenox eternal. I would like to sell it. I also have miscellaneous items: Christmas set, vase, bowls, chargers. Thanks, Colleen

AW says: Thanks for reaching out Colleen, if any readers contact me, I'll forward your info about the Lenox China for sale. Interested parties may contact me via email or through comments here.



How to get a collection of beer steins appraised and sold

John asks:

I have a large collection of beer stines that I have inherited and want to sell them. What are the steps for getting them appraised or sold. Thank You, John

 AW says:

Thanks John, I can help you in both areas, to get your steins appraised, see the details at

If your collection is too large to be cost effective to have them appraised at those rates, let me know how many you have, I'll email you back if I can do them at a better rate.

Also, if you want to sell your collection, that depends on how fast you wish to sell them, and how close to retail you need to get. For the fast cash, I always recommend going to to research auctioneers in your local area. The site is free to use and a great resource. 

There are other ways to sell them, of course, but the best method depends on what you have and how valuable they are.

Good Luck and let me know if I can be of further assistance.

What to do with art deco fireplace mantle mirror

Carol asks:

We are remodeling a rental home and would like to know where to sell a large cobalt blue art deco mirror. It was the surround above and beside a fire place mantel in a very fine old home. I do not find many to compare to and who might like to buy this sort of item. I would be very hard to ship I think. Thanks, Carol

AW says: Hi Carol, I've just included a new upload file option and if you want to upload a picture I may be able to be of more assistance. To be honest, if this is a grand mirror, you'll want to either try to retail it or send it to an appropriate auction which has like items on it's current slate.

For retail I recommend using craigslist or eBay. To research auctions, try

Thanks for your question and good luck!


Are old lawn mowers worth anything?

Bill asks:

Under my house I found an old reel mower. It's all wood, it has steel wheels and steel blades. We bought the house from the original owner who built in 1935. It looks like this would be from 50's - 60's. wondering if there is any value to something like this.  
 AW says: These mowers are most often called push mowers, and are seldom worth very much. Most of the time they are unsalable.

Is this Victorian sofa complete?

D  asks:

Hello Wally!

 I hope you are well… My name is Daphne S. Greetings from Queens, NY! Nice to meet you! Your website was referred to me for a place to get information on antiques.  I am in the process of considering whether to purchase the couch.

The price is very low and I don’t really intend to resell it, so I am not particularly interested in the monetary value of the piece. I am however, interested in its authenticity/completeness. The owner received the piece from a friend who claims it was built (presumably in the US)  around the time of the civil war.  The frame has been refinished, but the horsehair upholstery is still intact, with possibly a worn spot or two. The owner claims the springs will need to be retied, as the seat is somewhat “lumpy”.  The white spots on the front appear to be stains that are “in” the material according to the buyer, but I am asking for a closeup to assess whether these can be (very gently) removed.  A front view of the item is attached.

Why someone would give away a Victorian couch unless there was something horribly wrong with it, is beyond me- so I have a few questions.

1.  Is this a real Victorian couch?  What can you tell me about it? The design is very unusual.
2. To add- many pieces I have seen from the period also have upholstery on the outside. This couch appears to be bare. Should it also be upholstered on the outside/back, as well? - This may account for the lower price.

Please help!



victorian sofa

AW says:

The date and wood match up with what you were told, however:

You are correct in your assumption that this should have upholstey on the back and sides. In my opinion, this sofa is worth about $200 at the most in this condition. In most places it would be a tough sell even at that price. The value of large furniture is down in the market right now.

Good Luck,


What is this piece of farm equipment called?

Beth asks:
Walt, would you have any idea what this piece of farm equipment is called?  My brother came across this piece while cleaning out an old barn in Arkansas and we were wondering what it is so that we could get some kind of idea how old it is and the value. 
Thanks so much for your time!
antique farm equipment
Beth, I have to admit I don’t know what this is called. But I’ll bet someone who reads this blog does! What do you say folks, does anyone know what this is called?

What kind of mirror is this?

Hi my name is Robert L. I just moved into a house in upstate NY. I found this mirror in the basement. Any ideas what kind it might be?

eastlake wall mirro

AW says: This is an Eastlake style mirror made in the American Victorian period, circa 1870-1890. It’s frame is made of Black Walnut.  Your’s appears to have the original finish.

Best of luck and thanks for your question.

How do I get my old newspapers out there?

Daniel asks:

I have tons of old newspapers starting from the 1930s and 40s. They are all original copies and i was wondering how i could get them out there. Or if you were interested. Anything helps.

AW says: 

Hi Daniel, if by getting them out there, you mean selling them, there are a few ways you can do this. 

First, make sure what you have is interesting enough to spend time on the process. Many old newspapers are very common and worth little. Visit this page for a guide to what may be valuable. Historic sporting events are among top sellers. 

Next, if you’ve found some that are worthy of selling, take some good clear pictures of what you have, and list them on eBay. Be sure to use good keywords in the title and description as this will help your papers to get found by more potential bidders. 

I don’t recommend trying to sell your papers to a dealer.

Best of luck,


How can I tell if April 15th, 1865 NYT Lincoln Assassination newspaper is a reprint?

Mary asks: 

We have a copy but not sure if reprint re: assassination of President Lincoln…how can we find out if it’s real & original? Appreciate any assistance…

AW says: The first and most obvious choice is to look for the word reprint or a phrase such as …reproduced by etc.  Believe it or not, most reprints actually have an indication that they are a copy on the front page in plain sight. However the absence of such an indication does not automatically qualify your paper as an authentic one either. Size, texture and coloration are all things to take into consideration when authenticating such a piece. 

Since you didn’t send a picture, of the paper, there’s very little to go on. After reading my statement above, if you still have thoughts that your paper is legitimate, you’d need to bring it to an expert to view it in person. 

There are hundreds of thousands of antique newspapers around, some a very valuable, some are not. There are some basic rules of thumb you can use to find out if what you have is worth anything.

Good Luck,


What is an absolute auction?

hoosier cabinet

An absolute auction is one which the item is sold to the highest bidder without reserve. They are a bit of a gamble, but by far the most popular type of auction with auction buyers, and have the highest sell-through rate. 

Although some sellers are leery of selling via the absolute method, it is the absolute method that, when advertised and conducted properly, will bring the highest auction price the market will bear. 


I found this in a storage auction. What is it worth?

Can you tell me what it is i have. I got this from a storage unit and do not know its worth.


magnavox console tv

AW says:

This is called a “console”. It’s circa 1960s and looks to have a fine maple cabinet. In it’s day, this was quite a desirable piece. It’s no longer it’s day. These units are not very salable anymore, but sometimes those with a creative bent will salvage the wood cabinet to make another piece of furniture.

Good luck,


Why must this doll lose it's head?


kestner antique german doll #167

This is an antique 18” Kestner doll #167 Made in Germany, and I have to decapitate her.

Having four older sisters and no other boys in the family except for my Dad,  I’m sure at one time or another, I must have separated one of their beloved Barbie doll’s head’s from it’s body. Maybe even more than once,

BUT… I wouldn’t do such a thing today, …at least not out of anger;)

Take a look at this Doll. Do you know WHY I must separate it’s head from it’s torso?  (Hint) It’s not because of anything you can’t see in the pictures.

The first person with the correct answer will win an evelelpe with vintage ephemera. Enter your answer in the comments section below.

Now of course, I’ll need a way to get that package to the winner, so I’ll contact the first person with the correct answer to get your snail mail addy.

As I said earlier. the prize is a neat collectibles surprise envelope which includes things found in a recent estate purchase I made. Things likely to be in said envelope are vintage postcards, ephemera, books, old photos and who knows what?

(The contest is free, but you must a AW newsletter subscriber to win. )



What is it? Heywood Wakefield piece info

Amy asks:

Hi Wally,
I can’t tell you much more than the pictures show.  Really old Heywood Wakefield piece that I’m not even sure what it is called! My best guess is that is was some sort of work bench or knitter’s seat. It has a pull-off organizer tray that exposes compartments and a pull out drawer.  It does have the branding inside as the picture shows.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Amy Frasard

heywood wakefield cobbler's bench

AW says: I Amy, I know exactly what that is. It’s a “Cobbler’s Bench” it’s made of Maple and is a Colonial revival piece that HW made in the 1940s.

These are very durable and useful to a great many crafters. The tray on top would be for the various size nails a cobbler would use, the drawer for tools.


How to get that musty smell out

Hi Wally,

I just sent a question about magazines, but here’s another magazine question. What can I do about musty smelling magazines?? Will it affect the cost?? I’m trying to air some out but to little avail.

Thanks again,


AW says: Yes it will affect the value. One of the best ways to get the smell out of magazines and almost anything else, is to put them in a plastic bag with fresh charcoal. The charcoal is a great odor absorber. You may have to suffle the pages somewhat every few days. But it usually works pretty good.

This is a great method for clothes, but I’ve had success with it on old books too.

Good luck


What are vintage magazines worth?

Hi Wally,

I have a bunch of vintage magazines and was wondering what makes one more valuable than another? I know a few basic things that do make a magazine valuable such as the cover illustration and how well-known the illustrator is. What else can you tell me about the valuations of magazines?




AW says:

Boy that is a answer that could take up pages, but I’ll see if I can provide a few of the basics.

  • Life and Look before 1975 have SOME value. Issues with the Beatles and Elvis are good.
  • Condition is very important
  • Address labels detract from value
  • Attractive ads inside ad value
  • Runs are good. For example a complete year of publication
  • Some people collect attractive magazines from their birth month
  •  Primary colors are a good thing. Those bright yellows, blues, greens and reds from the 30s-50s are great.
  • Early rock and roll, hot rods, muscle magazines from the 1950s are good.

Another good source would be a site that my friend Mitzi Swisher maintains.