Q: What can you tell us about our cake platter inscribed Tiffany and Co.? How can we sell it for more than just the weight of the silver?
A: Seen in images sent, the piece is an attractive round silver cake plate with pedestal base, decoratively pierced and with a fancy high-relief scallop border at the plate edge. The mark is similar to those on Tiffany pieces of the 1930s and ’40s.
This is not a platter, as platters are flat. Call it a cake plate, a footed cake plate or a tazza (a shallow dish set on a pedestal foot), and you’d be correct.
Now, this is an attractive piece, and quite appealing as a decorative item. It is sterling — Tiffany sold only sterling — and no doubt heavy. Old sterling pieces are weightier than recent products. So far, it’s all good.
Since the reader expresses concern about getting more than scrap value for the plate, I suggest a look at monex.com, a site that tracks up-to-the-minute pricing for silver and other metals. First, weigh the cake plate. You may need to convert to troy ounces for the quote. Now you have a baseline for value as scrap.
But the piece is Tiffany and that name is as good as gold — pardon the pun. Cachet might well drive the final take above scrap.
Looking at auction results for raised Tiffany cake plates on liveauctioneers.com, we found that similar but plainer examples brought $550 on Nov. 10, $325 on Jan. 11, and $750 on April 3. But — and this is significant — another sold for $900 on Sept. 11. That’s after the rising tide of silver bullion boosted auction prices for good sterling.
If I owned the cake plate, I’d shop it to auction houses known for selling luxury silver. Certainly hit the house that realized $900. Weigh responses from all that you contact. Check the scrap rate one last time, and then make a smart decision.
Q: Is my “Windtalkers” movie poster worth anything? It’s signed by two of the original code talkers. I had it framed.
A: To clue readers, “Windtalkers” is a Nicolas Cage movie from 2002. The plot involves two U.S. Marines hired to protect Navajo Marines, code talkers who use their native language as code.
When we looked, an unsigned used poster was available from amazon.com for $7.99. Other online sources offer original posters for $17.99-$24.95. Made in several versions with different art, some posters may be more wanted than others.
The reader’s poster is special because it is signed by those on whom the film is based. Plus, it is framed. All that should make it of interest to a potential buyer.
Knowing that, our reader needs to think, “Who is my target buyer?” Obviously, it will be someone who wants the poster. And it will be a buyer who appreciates the signatures and framing. That’s a specialized target.
To reach the most likely buyers, try selling online. We found 28 “Windtalkers” posters for sale on eBay, posted at $1.55-$49.95. One signed by two principal actors, not Cage, started at $39.99.
List at a price you can live with. See what happens; you can always relist at a lower starting price.
FYI: Only nine days after the death of Whitney Houston, a vest and faux-pearl earrings she wore in “The Bodyguard” plus a black floor-length velvet dress that belonged to the singer were announced as part of an upcoming “Hollywood Legends” auction. The sale is set for late March at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. Looks like someone spotted an investment.
An important needlework sampler by Mary Antrim of Burlington County, N.J., dated 1807, sold for $1,070,500 recently at Sotheby’s New York because it was the best of an increasingly wanted type and because it came from an important, known collection. Worked in silk and painted paper on linen and signed by the maker in 2 places, it earlier came from the famed Garbish collection of Americana sold at Sotheby’s in 1974. Measuring 17 inches high and 16¾ inches wide, the sampler belongs to a recently recognized important group made by girls of Burlington County in the early 1800s. The frame is original.
Q: Which of these images is less commonly seen than other themes in Bakelite jewelry of the 1940s? Fruit, patriotism, people, hearts, armed services or food?
A: Figurals (people) and food are seen, but less often than the others. Source: “WWII Bakelite Jewelry: Love and Victory” by Bambi Deville Engeran (Schiffer, $24.99). A colorful look at the author’s collection.
Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.