Antique Answers

Rin-Tin-Tin Items Have Value

Larry Cox, April 2017

Q: When I was a youngster growing up in Illinois, I was quite the fan of Rin-Tin-Tin. I ate Nabisco Shredded Wheat since the company sponsored the television series. I have the “Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin” board game and the magic brass-ring set. I am not interested in selling, but I have wondered what they might be worth. Incidentally, I had a dog that I named Rin-Tin-Tin. — Carl, El Paso, Texas

A: Warner Brothers introduced The Wonder Dog in 1923, and the talented German Shepherd became an instant star and generated so much money that he actually saved the studio from bankruptcy. Rin-Tin-Tin starred in 19 films for Warner Brothers between 1923 and 1930. He was also featured on both radio and television.

Your board game is valued in the $50 to $150 range, depending on condition, according to Ted Hake, author of the “Price Guide of Character Toys.” If your brass-ring collection is complete, Hake believes it could be worth as much $600.

Q: I have a copy of “The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896” by William Jennings Bryan. It was either a first or early edition, and I would like to know its value. — Jeanne, Albuquerque, N.M.

A: I found a number of copies of the 1896 edition online at, most for less than $10 each, with the highest being a first edition with no dust jacket for $21. To the dozens of people who contact me every month about older books, this is my favorite Internet place to determine the fair market value of older and out-of-print books.

Q: In my mom’s laundry room I found two clothes sprinklers that I remember her using when I was a child. One is a ceramic Dutch boy that fits on a soda pop bottle filled with water. Is it worth keeping? — Barbara, Pine Bluff, Ark.

A: Before steam irons, clothes requiring ironing had to be manually dampened with water. Sprinklers came in many designs. For example, I have seen ones featuring cats, dogs, a rooster and even a monkey. Typical prices for some of the more unusual ones are: elephant with shamrock on tummy, $150; an extremely rare Dachshund, $500; Mary Poppins, $100; and “Dearie is Weary” in yellow dress, $350. Even common ones generally sell in the $10 to $25 range, so the answer to your question is yes, your sprinklers are worth keeping.

Q: I have two 78-rpm records, “Like a Dream” recorded by Caruso, and “Song of India” as cut by violinist Fritz Kreisler. Could you please tell me if they have any value and, if so, where I can sell them. —

Robert, Daytona Beach, Fla.

A: Your 78s are worth about a dollar each. Despite rumors to the contrary, most of the Victor Red Deal recordings by Caruso have very little value. Serious collectors are more interested in his more scarce sessions, such as the ones he had at Zonophone.


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