Antique Answers

Vintage Lunch Box is Worth More Than he Thought

The Ericofon by Ericsson Company of Sweden was discontinued in 1972.
Larry Cox, July 2017

Q: I started going to school in Pittsburgh in 1953, and one of my prized possessions was a Hopalong Cassidy lunchbox with thermos. Hoppy was my hero and I still have the lunchbox. I have been offered $200 for it, but think it might be worth more. I have no plans to sell regardless of the offer. — Roger, Atlanta, Ga.

A: Hopalong Cassidy was the first movie/radio character to be featured on a metal lunchbox. Your lunchbox was probably issued in 1950 by Aladdin Industries of Nashville, Tenn. Although it is valued in the $500 to $700 range, one sold at auction for $1,200. The artwork on both the lunchbox and thermos is the work of designer Robert Burton.

Q: I have a Hummel plate from 1973 called “Globe Trotter.” I think I originally paid $32 for it, and it remains in its original box. Is it worth keeping? — Beth, Albuquerque, N.M.

A: I found your plate referenced in “M.I. Hummel” by Robert L. Miller, which I think is the essential price guide for Hummel figurines, plates and miniatures. Miller values your plate in the $150 to $200 range. He points out that the other plates in this series have 33 stars around the border, but for some reason this issue has only 32 stars.

Q: I have a Ericofon from about 1967 and wonder if it has any value. At the time it was incredibly modern and still is. — Robert, Titusville, Fla.

A: The Ericofon is a stylish one-piece plastic telephone created by the Ericsson Company of Sweden during the late 1940s. It was the first commercially marketed telephone to incorporate the rotary dial and handset into a single unit. The dial is under the base. The Ericofon was discontinued in 1972 and probably is valued in the $100 to $150 range.

Q: I have a very old coin, a 2-cent piece dated 1864. I understand that it might be quite valuable depending on whether it has a small motto or a large motto. What does this mean? — Dorothy, Tulsa, Okla.

A: I consulted my U.S. Coin Digest: The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, edited by David C. Harper (Krause Publications, $18.99), and discovered there was a modification of this coin during the year of its issue. The motto “In God We Trust” was changed, resulting in a small motto and a larger motto. The coin with the small motto appears to be much more valuable. I recommend you contact a reputable coin dealer, since value will depend on various factors, including condition and demand.

Q: I have a lamp that first appeared to be glass-leaded. On closer examination, I decided the pieces of the shade might be plastic. I am enclosing a picture for your opinion. — Brenda, Marion, Ind.

A: Your shade is made of capiz shell, a close cousin of the oyster.


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