“I’ve never seen one before, so it must be valuable!” is a common comment made by collectors. But rarity doesn’t always add to the price. Fame, beauty, workmanship, even usefulness adds to the dollars paid for an unusual piece.

A recent Skinner auction in Boston sold an 1840s-shaped sofa that was completely covered with shells — not fabric — as upholstery. The frame was made of wood and trimmed with rope. It probably was not a comfortable seat, but a unique conversation piece.

The sofa came from New Brunswick, Canada, likely from a seaside town. A talented original artist painted the wood red, then added mussel, clam, scallop, cockle, quahog, snail, starfish and other shells, as well as pottery shards. The seat was covered in net.

The sofa’s price was estimated at under $2,500, but it sold for $4,613. No doubt the buyer liked the ocean and had an independent taste in furniture.

I’m looking for information about a pair of salt and pepper shakers marked “Quaker Silver” and “506.” There also is an emblem of a Quaker on the bottom. Can you give me an estimate of value?

The Quaker Silver Co. Inc. was in business in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, by 1926. It made sterling silver, silver plate and pewter hollowware. The company was bought by Gorham in 1959.

Salt and pepper shakers marked “506” are made of pewter. They usually sell for $15 to $20.

We have a framed poster from the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” It’s signed “Best Wishes, Richard Dreyfuss.” We also have the movie script signed the same way and the music “An American Symphony,” written by Michael Kamen and signed by him and Richard Dreyfuss. We’re wondering what the value of this collection is and if we should add it to one of our insurance policies.

You can find out the value of your collection by contacting an auction house that specializes in movie memorabilia. If the value is high, you will need to pay for a written proper legal appraisal in order to add it to your insurance policy.

Condition, framing and proof of authenticity are needed to determine price. The movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” is of moderate interest, but your collection should sell for $1,000 or more.

Current Prices

Spatterware, bowl, soup, tulip, red and white, blue tips, green leaves, red border, 10 1/2 inches, $120.

Paperweight, Shaw, disk, mountains, moon, blue sea, crossing planets, 1990s, 8 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches, $250.

Paul Revere, bookend, pink, curved panels, owl on branch, Saturday Evening Girls, 4 x 5 inch, pair, $1,000.

Sampler, verse, flowers, basket, leaves, silk on linen, Sarah Jane Ham, 1826, 21 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches, $1,500.

Tip: Don’t put a hot iron pan in cold water; the pan could warp or even crack.

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.

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