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Tea Cups and Saucers Were a Tradition on Petticoat Lane.

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Q: I have two small "dolls' tea party" porcelain cups and saucers. They are from the Emery, Bird, Thayer department store located in Kansas City, Missouri. It was an upscale department store, where it was a tradition to take young girls to tea in the restaurant. The tea parties were for girls and their dolls in the elegant tearoom and provided an opportunity for them to learn manners and social graces. My mother, who was born in 1907, participated in the events around 1916. One teacup is marked "Emery, Bird, Thayer — Kansas City Dolls' Tea Party 1916." Both cups are approximately 2 1/4 inches tall by 2 1/4 in diameter, and each saucer is about 4 1/4 inches in diameter. Both are decorated with Asian designs and figures. Emery, Bird, Thayer began in 1863 and continued through the 1920s and 1940s as the Petticoat Lane drew crowds to downtown Kansas City. Its success of the shopping area was attributed to transportation that was available to the hub of the Midwest. One could get to Kansas City by train, and then proceed downtown by trolley, electric street car or motor bus.

Would my teacups and saucers have a value, and where might I find a market? I'm downsizing and only have uninterested men in the family.

A: Teacups and saucers souvenirs from the Emery, Bird, Thayer department store tea parties are collectible. They are a lovely reminder of an era that valued good manners. According to one source, there is an Emery, Bird, Thayer restaurant that displays memorabilia from the store.

"Petticoat Lane" is the name given to Main Street, where the stores covered an entire block with a variety of shops. The capricious prairie winds would often catch ladies' skirt hems and reveal their petticoats, thus the name.

Each cup and saucer set would probably be valued around $25 to $75. Donating the cups and saucers to the Emery, Bird, Thayer restaurant collection is an option.

Q: I have enclosed the mark that is on the back of six Flow Blue luncheon plates that I bought over 40 years ago from an antiques shop. Each dish is decorated with a border of roses against a white background. They are in perfect condition

What can you tell me about their value today?

A: W.H. Grindley and Company, Ltd., made your plates in Staffordshire, England. They have made ironstone and earthenware since 1880. "Beauty Roses" is the name of the pattern, and they were made around 1922.

Each plate would probably be worth $50 to $75.

Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

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