Q: Today’s column involves a mystery. All that arrived were two photos of a Native American silver necklace plus a blank sheet of paper, probably to protect the photos. That’s all.
The backs of the photos are handwritten, “Stamped Nezzi squash blossom.” I can only figure that the reader wants info on the necklace.
A: J Nezzi is the stamp of Jimmy Nezzi, an Arizona Navajo silver artisan who worked, approximately, in the 1970s. That places his jewelry as vintage, not in the more desirable early phase of Navajo silver.
That said, the necklace is a handsome piece. Not a classic squash blossom, it is centered by a large flat silver eagle with inlaid turquoise and coral wings outspread in traditional pattern. Birds and avian themes, certainly the eagle, are important to Southwestern natives.
Eight smaller eagles, shown in flight, are mounted on double rows of silver beads at each side.
While the necklace incorporates traditional themes, it’s more artistic than ceremonial or traditional.
Looking on databases of finished auctions and sales, we could not find a similar or comparable J Nezzi necklace. On liveauctions.com, we saw a stamped silver bracelet with inlaid turquoise and coral that sold for $150 in June of this year. A stamped bolo tie sold on eBay for $72.55.
When we checked, eBay had a number of active auctions for J Nezzi pieces. Completed sales ranged from $19.99 to $675. A traditional squash blossom necklace brought $199.99.
If the reader’s aim is to sell, he/she must place the necklace where it will sell best. I suggest shopping it to auction houses that have a record of good results selling Native American jewelry. Online is the way to research that; contact info is usually provided.
Q: I bought this plate from a lady who lived in London for a long time. Can you tell me about it? I’m very fond of it.
A: I’m so glad to learn that you like your blue-and-white Delft-style plate. The truism in collecting is to like what you buy, because you may live with it for a long while. Buying for investment is not for “normal” folks.
Also, thanks for great photocopies of the plate’s front and back. By the way, that’s exactly how sellers like to view plates, too.
The transfer design on the front showing a frozen river with a sledge and a skater tying his skates is Delft in style. The back stamp reading “Delfts, Made for Royal Sphinx, by Boch” tells the rest. Smart collectors know that wares marked “Delfts” are recent.
Royal Sphinx produced Delft tableware in Holland up to World War II. From 1969 to 1979 the company had Boch, a Belgian company, make Delftware for it. Your plate dates to that period.
The 15-inch plates were made in several different scenic designs. Because the reader’s transfer is artist signed, some sellers ask more for that version. We found similar plates on eBay touted as “signed by the artist” listed for $250 to $79.99. Sold plates went for $56 and $55.
MORE: We send all readers best wishes for a healthy, happy and sane 2012. You are the best. Thank you for reading “Smart.” I appreciate you all.
BOOK IT! In “Charles Faudree Details” (Gibbs Smith, $40). The Oklahoma designer’s vision is eclectic and worldwide. Organized by theme (tablescapes, fabrics, mantels, lighting, etc.) he shows how to mix and match disparate items to create a look that’s high style and lush but not limited to any period.
Auction Action: You know you’re in rare territory when used handbags sell for six figures. Luxury sold very well this holiday season as a Hermes Exceptional Collection Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile 30cm Birkin Bag with Solid 18K White Gold & Diamond Hardware (that’s the official name) brought $203,150 in a sale of luxury accessories at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
A week later, a collector’s edition multicolored crystal Ganesh minaudiere by Judith Leiber sold for $7,500 when a private collection of 266 Leiber handbags and accessories went on the block. A collector’s edition Dalmatian minaudiere with a red crystal heart pillbox fetched $5,625.
Gifts from a U.S. husband to his wife, the pieces were 100 percent sold. When everything sells, the event is called a “white glove” sale.
Q: Working with old and vintage family fabric scraps is a quilting tradition. The results are called memory blocks. When using old fabrics, what’s the best way to remove smoke smells?
A: Put an unwrapped bar of white Safeguard soap wrapped in a white paper towel in a sealed plastic bag with the fabric. Several days should do it. Source: “A Quilted Memory: Ideas and Inspiration for Reusing Vintage Textiles,” by Mary Kerr (Schiffer, $19.99).
Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.