Children have played with dolls for thousands of years. The most popular, from a child's point of view, is the most familiar -; a doll representing a baby, a teenager, a cartoon character, an activity or a mother or father.
If Dad is a golfer, what better present than a golfer doll? One of the earliest was a cloth doll dressed in plaid knickers, sweater and cap. The doll, made in the early 1900s, was labeled "Babyland Rag Golfer," so we're sure it really represented the look of a golfer in those days. The 14-inch doll, made by Horsman, has a printed face, blond hair and mittlike hands.
Edward Imeson Horsman started his doll company in New York City in 1865. Horsman's Babyland cloth dolls were made from 1895 to 1912. Faces were painted on at first, but in 1907 Horsman started printing the faces on the fabric.
The dolls originally sold for prices ranging from 24 cents to $2. Today, the golfer is worth $550.
Queries from readers
Q: I have a 42-inch round oak table with the original label still intact. It reads, "No. 1545-6, M.W. Savage Facts., Inc., Minneapolis, Minn." Any idea of its age?
A: M.W. Savage Factories was one of the first mail-order furniture houses. The Minneapolis firm was incorporated in 1912 by Eric B. Savage. There were few furniture stores, so Savage decided to offer his furniture to distant customers who mailed back orders. By 1923 it had hundreds of thousands of customers and several hundred employees. Like Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, its two competitors, M.W. Savage supplied not only furniture, but also machinery and all kinds of merchandise to farmers and homeowners by mail.
Q: My friend has a large planter decorated with mermaids. It was made by the American Terra Cotta Co. I'd like any information you have on the company.
A: The American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Co. was founded in Terra Cotta, Ill., by William D. Gates in 1887. It was sometimes called Gates Potteries. In addition to architectural terra-cotta bricks, drain tile and plain terra-cotta vases, the company made art pottery, including the Teco line introduced in 1902. The company was sold in 1930 and renamed American Terra-Cotta Co. It produced architectural terra cotta, ceramic wares and some ornamental pottery until it closed in 1966.
Q: My large collection of Depression glass includes some hard-to-find ashtrays. One of my rarest pieces is a Hazel Atlas black glass ashtray with gold-highlighted clover leafs on the rim. Were these made in other colors? Also, did they make other items in this pattern?
A: Hazel Atlas Glass Co. was in business from 1902 to 1964 and had factories in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The cloverleaf-pattern dishes were made during the Depression, from 1930 to 1936. The dishes, all with rims or bands of three-leaf clovers, were made in pink, green, yellow, clear or black glass.
But the ashtrays, which came in diameters of 4 or 5 3/4 inches, were made only in black. Some black dishes, such as your ashtray, were highlighted with gold clovers. The smaller ashtray sells today for about $65 and the larger for $85.
Tip: Iron cookware
If your iron cookware becomes rusty, clean it with a scouring pad, wash it in soapy water and season it again. Do not store food in a cast-iron pot in the refrigerator. The pot's seasoning will be harmed by food or moisture.
Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.
--"On Top of Old Smoky" movie poster, Gene Autry, 1953, Columbia Pictures, 27 inches by 41 inches, $85.
--Tinware teapot, globe form, hinged lid, black with red-and-yellow floral design, circa 1865, 5 1/2 inches, $325.
--Poplar chest over drawers, red stained, two thumb-molded drawers, ring-turned legs, circa 1800, 53 inches by 37 inches by 17 inches, $2,115.
Ralph and Terry Kovel answer as many questions as possible in this column. Personal answers and appraisals are not available. Write to The Kovels, The Post and Courier, c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.