Footstools, also called footrests, are not a new idea, but there are many different types, shapes and sizes. The most popular style today is the small, short, four-legged rectangular stool, often padded and upholstered, which is placed in front of a chair.

The footstool raises the legs of the person in the chair to help blood circulation and add comfort. A child might want to use a footstool because his or her feet do not hit the floor.

Early footstools also were used in ancient Egypt as a ladder to reach chairs on high platforms. Each century had a new shape for the footstool.

During the 18th century, there were long and low footstools to put in front of the fireplace to be used by the family.

Small round footstools upholstered with fabric or needlepoint to match the sofa were popular with short women in Victorian times.

There also were many chairs that came with footstools that looked like extensions of the seat, or even some that could be pulled from under the seat where it was stored.

Modern designers liked seats made long enough to form a lounge chair with space for raised feet. And by the 1980s, there were long seating pieces that had hidden pullout pieces as footrests.

Vladimir Kagan (1927-2016), a talented designer, made a famous chair in the 1950s that had a sloping back, arms and a retractable footrest that was partially hidden.

One of Kagan’s walnut adjustable lounge chairs, 39 by 27 by 40 inches with a retractable footrest, was sold by Rago auctions for $6,875. It was manufactured by Kagan-Dreyfuss.

I used to save beer coasters from bars. They’ve been in a box for years. Most are made of cardboard or thick paperboard. Are they worth anything?

Cardboard beer coasters were first made in Germany, a country known for its beer, in the 1880s. Beer coasters also are called beer mats, and the collecting hobby is called “tegestology,” from the Latin word for mat. Collectors specialize in coasters advertising brands or picturing interesting subjects.

There is a website,, where members keep an inventory of their collections and trade with other collectors. Most beer coasters sell online for 50 cents to less than $5. A few sell for more.

Current Prices

Quilt, patchwork, crazy caterpillar, flowers, handmade, silk, velvet, cotton, 63 x 76 inches, $70.

Plate, gaudy Dutch, dove, green, yellow leaves, 8 3/8 inches, $110. Kitchen, butter paddle, maple, shield-shaped bowl, carved dog head, heart, cross, 10 1/2 inches, $540.

Map, New Orleans, Norman’s plan, key references 80 points, 1845, 24 x 18 inches, $1,920.

Tip: Clean a silver chain with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Rub the mixture on the chain with a toothbrush or a towel. Rinse.

Have a collector on your holiday shopping list? The 51st edition of “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2019” makes a great gift. The 528-page softcover book features 16,000 listings and more than 2,500 full-color photographs. For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit © 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.


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