A paperweight that looks like a forgotten mound of gold coins is a vintage puzzle that has been solved. A pristine example was offered for sale recently with the original box.
There is an inscribed leather patch on the bottom, and a small leaflet describing the coins and their history. The leather patch had a message: “Your friendship is more precious than gold.”
The paperweight was made by the Johnson Bronze Co. of New Castle, Pennsylvania. The weights were sold to companies who gave them to customers as gifts.
They were very popular with banks, insurance agents, stock brokers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and other companies that dealt with coins and money.
The paperweight is called the “Pile-O-Gold,” and the coins picture presidents, captains of industry, scientists, inventors and engineers. Some of the coins have quotes, and all have the name and embossed head of the honored person, plus the name of the job that brought the person fame.
A vintage example sold recently for about $50. We are told the pile of gold coins on a desk often fools visitors.
A friend just told me that a 12 1/2-inch round wooden plate with a center “well” and nine smaller carved wells surrounding it is a gaming board — not an oyster plate like I thought. It is decorated with painted playing cards so that might be true. Any suggestions?
It can’t be an oyster plate. The food and the washing would destroy the painted cards, and oyster plates usually have four to six wells. That is a generous portion for dinner.
There is an old English card game called “Pope Joan” that uses a board like yours. It was known in the 16th century and still is played today by three to eight players.
The game was very popular with families in Victorian times and first recorded in the famous book of card and board game rules by Hoyle in 1814. The game uses the 52-card deck minus the eight of diamonds and making the nine of diamonds an important winning card.
All antique game boards are selling well today, and a rare round wooden Pope Joan board sold at auction for a little over $1,000 a few years ago.
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Tip: If your electric clock stops, turn it upside down for a day. The oil inside may flow into the gears and the clock may start working again.