Column #1221 Copyright © Rinker Enterprises, Inc. 2010 

Questions and Answers

QUESTION:  I found a Pride Washing Powder 25 pound galvanized metal pail down in our basement.  The manufacturer is “SWIFT & COMPANY, U.S.A.  How old is it?  The bucket is dirty, banged-up, and very used.  I do not suspect it has much value.  But, I would be happy to hear otherwise. – GM. Lehigh Valley, PA, E-mail

ANSWER:  Gustavus Franklin Swift, the ninth of 22 children, started his own butcher business in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1855.  Swift was 16 at the time.  Swift moved to Chicago in 1875, becoming a cattle dealer and butcher.  He incorporated Swift & Company the same year.

Swift’s goal was to ship butcher beef to the East via the railroad.  He approached various railroads asking them to provide refrigerator cars.  The railroads refused.  They had a large amount of capital invested in cattle cars used to ship live beef to the eastern seaboard.  Swift countered by building his own refrigerated cars, securing several patents on the design and mechanism.  By 1900, Swift expanded his operations to England.  Swift’s success contributed to Chicago becoming as Carl Sandburg proclaimed “Hog-Butcher to the World.”

Swift diversified.  By 1915 the company was offering a line of soap products.  Swift’s 1925 product line in addition to fresh, cured, and smoked meats such as bacon, dried beef, frankfurters, ham, and pork sausage, also included: Arrow Borax Soap; Brookfield Butter, Cheese, and Eggs; Buttercup Cheese; Classic Soap; Gem Nut Margarine; Maxine Elliot Toilet Soap; Quick Naptha; Red Steer and Vigoro fertilizers; Sunbrite Cleanser, Swift’s Jewel Shortening; Swift’s Premium Oleomargarine; Swift’s Pride Washing Powder; Swift’s Silverleaf Brand Pure Lard; and, Wool Soap.

TRIVIA QUIZ:  Finish this sentence from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle: “‘They don’t waste anything here,” said the guide, and then laughed and added a witticism, which he was pleased that his unsophisticated friend should take as his own: ‘They use everything about the hog_______________.’”

By 1926 Swift had a fleet of over 5,000 refrigerator cars.  Swift continued to expand during the Depression, but it appears the company dropped some of its secondary product lines.  I was not able to determine when Swift ended the production of its Pride Washing Powder.  Based on the graphics on boxes offered for sale on the Internet, one of which contains a coupon offer for a Primrose pattern silver teaspoon, it appears the product survived until the late 1930s.

Your pail’s value rests primarily with its advertising/display value as opposed to its collecting value.  Given this, its condition is a detriment.  Your pail’s secondary market retail value is between $10.00 and $15.00.

QUESTION:  I own a copy of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Street Survivor’s” album with the flame cover.  It still has the cellophane over the cover, but it has been cut along the edge to allow the record to be removed.  What is it worth? – R, Elk City, OR

ANSWER:  Lynyrd Skynyrd, an American rock band with strong Southern roots, began as “The Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964.  It shortly became “My Backyard,” consisting of Bob Burns, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom, Gary Rossington, and Ronnie Van Zant.  In 1968, the group won a Battle of the Bands and opened for the Southeast tour of the Strawberry Alarm Clock.

In 1970, Van Zant changed the group’s name to Leonard Skinnerd, a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School who enforced a strict policy against long hair.  The band continued to perform throughout the South.  Members changed.  Burns and Junstrom left, replaced by Rickey Medlock and Greg Walker.  Burns returned when Medlock and Walker left to join Blackfoot.

In 1972, Leonard Skinnerd became Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Their first album was released in 1972.  “Second Helping” appeared in 1974, “Nuthin’ Fancy” in 1975, and “Gimme Back My Bullets” in 1976.  “Street Survivor,” the band’s fifth album, showcased Steve Gaines, the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist.  The album was released on October 17, 1977.

On October 20, 1977, while on a plane flight from Greenville, South Carolina, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Convair 240 ran out of fuel and crash landed in a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi.  Steven Gaines, Cassie Caines (Ronnie Van Zant’s sister), Dean Kilpatrick (assistant road manager), and Ronnie Van Zant, were killed on impact.  Other band members suffered serious injuries.

The first cover of “Street Survivors” featured seven members of the band with flames rising above and behind them.  Steven Gaines appears engulfed in flames.  MCA immediately withdrew the album at the request of the Gaines family.  The album was rereleased with the same image of the band on a black background.  Lynyrd Skynyd disbanded.

America was not yet collecting conscious in 1977.  As a result, there was no great rush to acquire the original album before it was recalled.  Those who owned copies of the album retained them for their play value.

Tim Neely’s Goldmine Record Album Price Guide, 4th Edition (KP Books, 2005) values the flame cover album at $25.00 in near mint condition.  Amazon.com has six listings of the album ranging from “like new” to “very good condition” at values beginning at $49.99 and ending at $117.95.  The West Texas Insomniac Web site speculated that the value of a mint copy was $250.00.  Value is what someone is willing to pay.  Based on my analysis of the above, the value of your album is between $60.00 and $70.00.

QUESTION:  I have a CK Musical Jolly Chimp.  The period box is missing.  In doing research online, I noticed that some examples use a black plastic latch to secure the battery cover.  Mine appears to have an older metal latch.  Does this make it more valuable?  Further, eBay and other Internet prices cover a wide range.  What is my example worth? – JY, E-mail Question

ANSWER:  The battery operated cymbal banging monkey arrived on the toy scene in the late 1950s.  Daishin, a Japanese manufacturer, created this classic two cycle toy—the arms come together causing the cymbals to bang and the mouth moves to show the chimp’s teeth.  The action is trigger by pushing a button on the monkey’s head.

Success results in imitation.  Toy companies in Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States created look-alikes almost immediately.  The costume was changed.  Even Daishin created costume variations.  Actions varied from head bobbing to back flips.  Many examples have a red ring painted around the eyes creating a facial expression that exhibits broad appeal to movie, music, television, and video scriptwriters and producers.  Movie appearances include: The Devil’s Gift; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; The Simpsons Movie; and, most recently in Toy Story 3 (a Jolly Chip monitors the security cameras at Sunnyside Daycare watching for any toys that try to escape).

Charley Chimp, Clock Work Musical Monkey with Clashing Cymbals, Magic Monkey, Musical Jolly Chimp, Musical Monkey, Pepi Tumbling Monkey with Cymbal (Yano Man Toys), and Wind-up Monkey Playing Cymbals (Russ) are among the names used to market the cymbal-banging monkey.

Toys & Prices 2010 (KP, 2010), edited by Justin Moen, values Daishin’s 10 1/2in Musical Jolly Chimp at $50.00 in excellent condition, $75.00 in near mint condition, and $110.00 mint in its package.  The prices appear consistent with what Daishin’s Musical Jolly Chimp realizes on eBay.  As one might suspect, there are some “Buy-it-Now” prices that exceed these numbers.

Your e-mail does not provide several key pieces of information needed for me to make an evaluation.  Does your Musical Jolly Chimp work?  Both actions need to work flawlessly.  What is the condition of the battery chamber?  Are there any signs of rust?  Has the coloring of the clothing faded?  Finally, are there any condition problems?

When using any price guide, you need to understand its value criteria.  In the case of Toys & Prices 2010, the lowest price is for a toy in excellent condition.  At the minimum, this is a toy that is complete, in working order, and with no arm-length signs of play (wear, tears, etc.).  Because of the high survival rate of this toy, most collectors will not buy examples in lesser condition.  Thus, an example in very good condition is not worth half that of a toy in excellent condition but rather a quarter of this value, in this case $12.50.

The metal battery case closure suggests your Musical Jolly Chimp is an early example.  However, this variation has no impact on value.  Condition is the key.

Assess the condition of your example.  Be honest.  Owners tend to be overly generous in their favor.  If done honestly, you have enough information to value your Musical Jolly Chimp.

QUESTION:  I have a Sears Silvertone cabinet Hi-Fi stereo and radio that was left behind in a house I purchased in 1981.  It takes up a lot of space.  Is it worth anything or should I just toss it?—DS, Lehigh Valley, PA, E-mail Question

ANSWER:  Silvertone was a brand name used by Sears & Roebuck Company for its musical products that included amps, guitars, and home electronics such as phonographs and Hi-Fi equipment.  The Silvertone label was introduced prior to WWII and remained in use through the 1970s.

The style of the cabinet as illustrated in the pictures attached to your e-mail indicate your Silvertone cabinet record player and radio combination was made in the early to mid-1960s.  Although you do not so state, I assume the unit still works.

When people move, they leave behind things they no longer value.  It is cheaper to do this than haul them to the landfill.  Your Silvertone cabinet unit is garage sale fodder.  Most individuals who acquire them either obtain them for free or pay a minimal price.  Start the unit at $25.00 and do not turn down any offer that includes a willingness to haul it away.

If this fails, you can leave it at the back door of your local historical society in the middle of the night.  I am kidding.  However, when I was executive director of the Historical Society of York County (PA) in the early 1970s, two parlor pianos did arrive in this fashion at the Society’s back door.

As a last resort, offer it to a local theater company.  Many companies maintain a prop house.  Its strong period style may prove of interest.

TRIVIA QUIZ ANSWER: “except the squeal.”

Harry L. Rinker welcomes questions from readers about collectibles, those mass-produced items from the twentieth century.  Selected letters will be answered in this column.  Harry cannot provide personal answers.  Photos and other material submitted cannot be returned.  Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5093 Vera Cruz Road, Emmaus, PA 18049.  You also can e-mail your questions to harrylrinker@aol.com. Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered.

You can listen and participate in WHATCHA GOT?, Harry’s antiques and collectibles radio call-in show, on Sunday mornings between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM Eastern Time.  If you cannot find it on a station in your area, WHATCHA GOT? streams live on the Internet at www.gcnlive.com.

SELL, KEEP OR TOSS?: HOW TO DOWNSIZE A HOME, SETTLE AN ESTATE, AND APPRAISE PERSONAL PROPERTY (House of Collectibles, an imprint of Random House Information Group, $16.95), Harry’s latest book, is available at your favorite bookstore and via www.harryrinker.com.

back to top back to columns page