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    Column #931 Copyright © Rinker Enterprises, Inc. 2004 

    Questions and Answers

    QUESTION: I recently purchased a Lu Ann Simms doll with its period hang tag and mint in its box for $150.00 at Dotta’s Doll Auction in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  Although I knew nothing about Ms. Simms, I purchased the doll because I thought it was beautiful.  The tag and box states that Lu Ann Simms was a CBS television star and friend of Arthur Godfrey.  I never heard of her before and was wondering what period of time she was on TV and which CBS show?  I am assuming she was a singer.  Any information you would provide would be helpful.  --  E-mail Question, BH, Schnecksville, PA

    ANSWER: The website, www.museum.tv, provides this information concerning Arthur Godfrey’s television shows:  “Arthur Godfrey’s shows helped define the first decade and a half of TV history in the United States.  While there were a number of television shows on which Godfrey appeared, his fame, fortune, and pioneering activities centered on two variety shows presented on the CBS-TV network: Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends….which premiered in January 1949.  On Wednesday nights Godfrey hosted this traditional variety show, employing a resident cast of singers which over the years included Julius La Rosa, Frank Parker, Lu Ann Simms, Pat Boone, and the Cordettes.  Tony Marvin, as he was on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, served as both announcer and Godfrey’s ‘second banana.’….”

    Arthur Godfrey and His Friends was last broadcast on June 1957.  Lu Ann Simms was a guest on the show from 1952 through 1955.

    I found only a minimal amount of biographical information about Lu Ann Simms on the Internet or in my reference books.  She was apparently married twice, first to Loring Buzzell, a music publisher, and second to Cooper Stolt.  Her records appear on numerous records-for-sale sites on the Internet, but I found her records referenced in only one record price guide.

    To my surprise, I did find a reference in an article by Geoff Gehman entitled “Best scenes happened backstage” that appeared in the August 25, 2002, issue of The Morning Call (Allentown, PA).  The article focused on performers at the annual Allentown Fair.  Merv Griffin visited the 1956 fair. “Strangely, Griffin wasn’t at the 1956 fair to perform.  He came to visit Lu Ann Simms, a ‘Your Hit Parade’ regular who was singing at the grandstand.”  I checked several reference books and was not able to confirm that Lu Ann Simms was a regular on “Your Hit Parade.”

    Apparently, there were several different Lu Ann Simms dolls.  Polly and Pam Judd’s Hard Plastic Dolls: Identification & Price Guide, Third Revised Edition (Hobby House Press, 1985, 1993 price update; $14.95) identifies the E. T. Horsman Company as the maker of a hard plastic Lu Ann Simms doll utilizing the company’s Cindy mold and described as: “teen type, 18in (45.7 cm); open mouth with four teeth and felt tongue; pin jointed walker with painted pins; individual fingers; long brunette wig with upswept hair in front and full in back; blue eyes; yellow piqué dress; green rickrack trim; circa 1953.”  The Judds further note: “Horsman made many dolls for other companies.  Often the collector will find Mollye, Valentine and other dolls with Horsman traits…In Illustration 235 all three dolls look alike; circa 1953.  The doll on the right is a Lu Ann Simms doll, and the doll on the left is an identical Horsman with a different wig and clothes.  The doll in the middle is a Lu Ann Simms by Valentine.  Both the taller 18in (45.7 cm) dolls have the mark: Horsman 180.  The smaller doll, by Valentine, has the marks: “Made in U.S.A. Pat. Pending,” on the back.  The larger dolls have blue eyes and the smaller doll has brown eyes….Lu Ann Simms has also been used with a Roberta wrist label and ‘180’ marking without the Horsman.”  A 1953 trade advertisement for the Roberta Lu Ann Simms walking doll, which appeared for sale on eBay, indicates the doll came in three sizes.

    The $150.00 you paid for the doll is in the ballpark.  I found one price guide listing suggesting a value over $200.00, albeit the balance show the value between $175.00 and $200.00.

    QUESTION: I came across a Mersman coffee table, #7303.  Can you tell me anything about it and what its approximate value would be?  --  E-mail Question, SN

    ANSWER: Robert and Harriett Swedberg’s Furniture of the Depression Era: Furniture and Accessories of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s (Collector Books, 1987, 1994 value update; 143 pages, $19.95) contains this information: “Mersman, a manufacturer located in Celina, Ohio, produced a good quality brand a family with a moderate income could afford.  All of their table tops are of five-ply construction.  Among the woods most used for table tops, veneers and trims were brown mahogany; plain, burl, rotary-cut and butt jointed walnut; rosewood; blistered maple; bird’s-eye maple; zebrawood veneers; ebony; redwood burls; satinwood and Russian oak.  Marquetry inlays were frequently incorporated in their designs.”

    Mersman advertised in the 1928-1929 Furniture Dealers’ Reference Book, published as American Manufactured Furniture (Schiffer Publishing, 1988; 407 pages plus price guide, $29.95).  At the time, the company had exhibits and sales rooms in Boston, Chicago, High Point (NC), Minneapolis, New York, and San Francisco.  Mersman’s line of tables included coffee, Davenport, Davenport extension, decorated, end, gate leg, library, occasional, and radio table cabinets.

    I found an “Ask Auctioneer & Appraiser” response on the www.sunrise-antiques.com website that read: “The alleged invention of the modern, low coffee table in the 1920s was claimed by Imperial Furniture Co., of Grand Rapids…With its shield and crown logo it is very recognizable, but in some cases the quality may be less than that found in Baker or Berkey & Gay.

    “The same can be said of the ubiquitous Mersman table, which can be found in almost any store that has more than three pieces of Colonial Revival furniture.  Mersman claims that during the 1920s, one table in 10 in American homes was theirs…”

    Mersman tables appear for sale weekly on eBay.  Unfortunately, you did not provide a detailed description of your table, thus allowing me to determine its design style.  Mersman produced a wide variety of coffee tables in Colonial Revival and modernist styles.

    If your coffee table is a pre-World War II Colonial Revival piece, its value is between $35.00 and $45.00, assuming it is in very good or better condition.  If it is a post-World War II Colonial Revival example, deduct $10.00.  If the coffee table is in a post-1945 modernist style, its value jumps to the $65.00 to $75.00 range.

    QUESTION: I have a Royal Albert teacup and saucer.  The bottom is marked:  “MOSAIC / ROYAL ALBERT / a crown symbol / CROWN CHINA / ENGLAND.”  There is also an “X232X” painted along the inside bottom rim.  The pattern is primarily white with a motif of gray flowers attached by a gray line.  Each flower features a turquoise dot at its center.  The cup and saucer also have a gold rim.  What can you tell me about my cup and saucer?  --  E-mail Question, GK

    ANSWER: T. C. Wild used the Royal Albert trade name for marketing its fine quality bone china.  Thomas Clark Wild established his pottery in England’s Staffordshire district around 1894.  In 1917, “& Sons” was added to the firm’s name.  The company was incorporated in 1933 and the name changed to T. C. Wild & Sons Limited.  In 1970, the name was changed once again to Royal Albert Limited.  The Royal Doulton Group purchased the company in the late 1980s.  Royal Doulton moved production of Royal Albert dinnerware from England to Thailand in December 2002.

    Your mark description suggests your piece was made between the late 1920s and mid-1930s.  Mosaic is the pattern name.

    Your cup and saucer is valued at $10.00 to $12.00.

    QUESTION: I have a Mother Goose Melodies paper book with a 1903 copyright by McLoughlin Brothers of New York, New York.  It is nicely illustrated.  The cover has problems, i.e., pencil marks and some deterioration, but the rest of the book looks good.  How much is it worth?  --  E-mail Question, SV

    ANSWER: John McLoughlin began publishing children’s books in 1828.  When John and his partner retired in 1848, John, Jr., and Edmond, John’s sons, assumed control of the business.  The company became McLoughlin Brothers at the end of the 1850s.  By the end of the nineteenth century McLoughlin Brothers were a leading manufacturer of blocks, books, games, jigsaw puzzles, paper dolls, and toys.  The company was a pioneer in chromolithography.  Following the death of John McLoughlin, Jr., in 1905, the company lost its leadership position.  Milton Bradley bought McLoughlin Brothers in 1920.

    While your book has some value, the bulk of its value is gone because of the cover damage.  McLoughlin Brothers’ children’s books are bought primarily for display purposes.

    McLoughlin Brothers’ Mother Goose Melodies was printed in several different versions.  In fine or better condition, your edition lists between $35.00 and $50.00.  A later version featuring the illustrations of F. Schuyler Mathews lists between $175.00 and $225.00.

    The value of your book is between $12.00 and $15.00.

    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 rinkeron@fast.net.  Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered.

    Home & Garden Television (HGTV) currently lists COLLECTOR INSPECTOR as on hiatus from January 1 through March 30, 2005.  Whether or not it returns as reruns in April depends entirely on HGTV.
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