Q: This is a picture of a metal Christmas tree stand. It was given to my grandmother by an elderly friend in the 1960s. It is in excellent condition, the top rotates and the music box plays several Christmas songs. On the side in relief is a Santa Claus carrying a tree flanked by two children and the words "TRADE — MARK — GERMANY." The bottom is wood with four small feet. There is a lever on the side to turn it on and off. The part that holds the tree trunk is cast iron, and I also have the original key to wind the music box. The overall dimensions are 14 inches in diameter by about 6 inches tall.
We still use it and hope you can tell us something about its history and approximately what is it worth.
A: J.C. Eckardt Company made your Christmas tree stand. The company was located in Stuttgart, Germany, from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The stand is metal with nickel plate. The Christmas carols are "Silent Night" and "O Sanctissima."
Your Christmas tree stand was made around 1900, and its value is in the area of $295 to $325.
Q: I have a set of porcelain coffee cups and saucers each with the enclosed mark. Also, included with the mark are the words "Hand Painted" and a crown. Twelve are decorated with pink flowers and green leaves, and 12 are decorated with purple flowers and green leaves. All are embellished with gold.
Could you tell me if they have any value?
A: Hungarian emigrant George Zoltan Lefton founded his company in Chicago, in 1941. Most of his porcelain was exported from Japan. When Lefton heard that Pearl Harbor was attacked, he immediately went to the aid of his close friend and neighbor who was a Japanese-American businessman. He arranged to have his friend's glass storefront boarded up. Before law could be restored, angry misguided mobs were threatening and damaging Japanese-American businesses. After World War II, Lefton was one of the first businessmen to associate with Japanese china factories. His friend was a huge help in dealing with the Japanese. It wasn't long before his business was booming and he became known as "The China King."
Based on your description of you cups and saucers, those decorated with pink flowers are examples of Lefton's "Heritage Green Floral" and those with purple flowers are examples of "Heritage Brown Floral."
Your set was made around 1960 and each cup and saucer would probably be worth $25 to $35.
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.