Century-old coffee mill fetches $265 at auction

Morning coffee has been a necessity for centuries, and there have been numerous patents for coffee-making machines. The first American patent was given to Thomas Bruff Sr. in 1798.

Coffee grinders, also called coffee mills, were needed to grind the coffee beans to cook with water to make coffee. The mills were hand-cranked until 1938, when the first electric models were made.

Most collectors search for early wall-mounted or box-type mills. They were made of wood or glass with a cast iron crank. Coffee-mill companies also used ceramics, plastic or attractive metals later in the 1900s.

Most coffee mills had the name of the brand of coffee on the front or at least the word “coffee.” “Koffee” is not a misspelling; it is the German word for coffee. On the back or side of the coffee mill, there usually is a serial number that can be dated with the help of information found online or in “The MacMillan Index of Antique Coffee Mills,” a book by Joseph E. MacMillan.

There also may be colorful pictures like the ones seen on a patriotic coffee mill, which was decorated with a flag and a picture of Theodore Roosevelt on his horse. It sold recently for $265 at a Hess auction.

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Q: I have a stool by Wallace Nutting that was purchased many years ago. The wood is dark, the seat is shaped and the legs are turned. Could you give me some information, including the date it was made and its value?

A: Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) was a Harvard-educated Congregational minister who is best known for his hand-colored photographs, which replicated an idealized colonial life. His interest in reproducing scenes from the 17th and 18th centuries led him to find original furnishings to serve as props for his photographs. He assembled an encyclopedic collection of early American furniture. He decided to start a business manufacturing and selling reproductions of the pieces in his photographs. These pieces were expensive, and they were sold in department stores across the country. Recently, their prices have dropped. Your stool is worth $50 to $100.

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Q: I’m looking for a replacement for my cut-glass punch bowl. I put hot water in it and it cracked. It is 16 inches in diameter. Any idea where I could find one? I’m not looking for an identical one, just a similar size.

A: Your punch bowl must have been cold when you put the hot water in it. The change in temperature stressed the glass and it cracked. You should be able to find something similar, but it will take work. Go to antiques shops in your area and let them know what you are looking for. Look at online cut-glass sites. Check the auctions on a site such as liveauctioneers.com or Ruby Lane to see who sells cut glass and to get an idea of what it costs. You will have to register on the websites in order to bid on an item. Be sure you know what the buyer’s premium and shipping charges are before making a bid.

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Q: I’ve had a black panther ceramic figurine for years. I can’t find any name or mark on it, but there are some numbers. Is it worth anything?

A: The best-known black panther figurines probably are the ones made by Haeger Potteries Inc. of Dundee, Illinois. Panthers were popular in the 1950s. Haeger started making bricks and tiles in 1871. Artware was first made in 1914. The sleek black panther figurine was introduced in 1941 and was made in three sizes and different colors. Several versions were altered to be lamps for the top of the TV set. Most Haeger figurines are marked. A black figurine probably was marked with a sticker that has fallen off. Other potteries copied the popular panther figurine, so it isn’t possible to tell if your figurine is from Haeger or another company. Haeger closed in 2016.

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Q: I found an old Mountain Dew bottle and brought it home and washed it. There is a misprint on it. It reads “it’ll tickle yore nnards.” Does that make it valuable?

A: The Pepsi-Cola Co. introduced Mountain Dew in 1964. “It’ll Tickle Yore Innards” was part of the slogan used on bottles and cans from 1965 to 1969. Error bottles are not rare, and the error doesn’t add to the value. Mountain Dew bottles with that slogan sell for about $5.

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Q: I found a little silver dish in my mother’s belongings, and I was hoping to find out more about it. It’s about 3 inches in diameter. On the bottom it reads “Sterling A4780 Mermod & Jaccard’s.”

A: Mermod & Jaccard, a jewelry company, was founded in St. Louis about 1845. The company name was Mermod Jaccard & Co. until 1883, when it became Mermod & Jaccard Jewelry Co. Goodman King joined the company in 1865 and it became Mermod, Jaccard & King Jewelry Co. in 1905. The company became a division of Scruggs, Vandervoorth & Barney in 1917. The mark on your dish indicates it was made between 1883 and 1905.

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Q: How much is my Brownie 8 movie camera worth? It’s marked “Kodak limited London.” The camera has an F 2.7 lens. I also have the instruction booklet and leather shoulder carrying case.

A: Kodak introduced the Brownie 8mm movie camera in 1951. The camera was exported to England in 1955 and made in England beginning in 1956. It was a low-priced movie camera. It was advertised for $44.50 in a 1951 pre-Christmas ad. It’s value today is very low, often below $30.

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Tip: Clean a silver chain with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Rub the mixture on the chain with a toothbrush or a towel. Rinse.