There is no denying we love our fur babies. We dress them in warm coats, feed them only the finest gourmet foods and take them with us wherever we go. Ask any dog owner and they will tell you their dog is a valued member of the family. So, it should come as no surprise that doggy collectibles have been a top collectible for many years. Whether you collect by specific items such as photos or figurines, a time period, or a particular breed of dog, you will be happy to know that the marketplace has a wealth of items waiting for you. Ready to shop? Here are a few tips to help you get the most for your money.
Dog statuettes and figurines from 1930-1960 abound in malls and antique shops at affordable prices, but know a few basic identification points before you go as reproductions are everywhere. As we entered the 1970s the market became flooded with inexpensive imports which are sometimes misrepresented as older pieces. Vintage porcelain figurines will have a smooth feel and be lighter in weight that their newer counterparts. In general they are more delicate and will often have a maker’s mark, as opposed to the reissues that will have no mark or will say “Japan.” There is nothing wrong with collecting post-1970 pieces, just make certain that you pay accordingly. Names to watch for on vintage pieces include Royal Dalton, Staffordshire, and Grainger Lee to the high end of the value range and Pacific Clay, Walker, and Metlox to the lower end.
Amateur black and white photography became a popular pastime in the late 1880s as cameras became affordable to the middle class, and the favorite subject matter in many households was the family dog. These old photos, referred to as “cabinet cards”, were printed on thick card stock and many have survived in good condition. They are available online and at antique malls where they can run as much as $50-$100 each. My advice is to be on the lookout as they do surface at estate sales for a few dollars. Condition is a large determinant of value so check for wear and fading.
Bookends were a standard household item in the latter part of the 1800s and the first half of the 20th Century. Originally intended to secure the books on the shelf, they came to be appreciated as a form of decorative art and were sometimes displayed independently. Canine figures in wrought iron, ceramic, and cast metal are the most common finds. Roycroft hammered copper from the Arts and Crafts era and bronze sets from the Art Deco years are among the most valuable. Painted bronze bookends from 1920-160 were produced from the New Jersey company Marion Bronze are gaining in value, if you can find them. If you are buying for resale note, those who collect by breed pay good money for Scotties, Retrievers and Basset Hounds.
Home entertaining in mid-20th century America often consisted of cocktails and cards. Euchre, Pinochle, Bridge and Canasta were favorite pastimes and quite often the cards used bore a likeness of the family dog. Poodles, Fox Terriers and Scotties are the most common finds, followed by bulldogs and collies. Major manufacturers from this time period include United States Playing Card Company (U.S.), Modiano (Italy), and Naipes Heraclio Fournier (Spain). Playing cards from 1930- 1960s are collected for the quality of their illustrations and can be had for $3-$5 for a loose stack or $8-$12 for an unopened pack. Cards from 1890-1930 will often sell in the $50 range.
If you are thinking of starting a canine collection and watching your budget, dog pictures done with “paint by numbers” sets are becoming of interest to collectors. These can often be found for $1-$3 and are increasing in value. Until next time…Linda
Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-258-7835.