April 16, 2021

Antiques & Collecting: Iron doorstop

Iron doorstops have been very popular collectibles since 1985. They were first made in England, where they were called door porters. The invention of a hinge that let a door close automatically inspired the iron figure that stopped the door from closing. Soon after, doorstops became popular in the United States.

Companies that had been making cast iron toys and other items began designing and making doorstops that resembled people, animals, flowers and other figures. Five companies were the largest suppliers, and each had a name or logo that was usually molded into the flat back. Look for Bradley and Hubbard’s “B & H” mark; Hubley’s paper label with the name across a circle; and Judd Co.’s mark, “CJO.”

In the 1980s, iron doorstops went for high prices, and hundreds of copies were made and sold in gift shops, antiques events and auctions. Fakes usually have perfect bright paint; a rough texture to the unpainted iron on the back; modern slotted screws; and, if made in two parts, a seam that is not perfectly smooth.

A 12 1/2-inch antique lobster doorstop made early in the early 20th century sold for $1,800 at an Eldred auction in Massachusetts.

I have a bar pin that pictures two clenched hands doing a “fist bump.” The pin is gold-colored metal and has a figural mallet, ax and something that looks like a block on the top. The hands, with shirt cuffs and part of the jackets showing, are on a white enamel piece attached to the metal. What does it represent?

The log, ax, mallet and wedge are symbols used by two fraternal organizations: the Modern Woodmen of America and WoodmenLife (Woodmen of the World). Joseph Cullen Root founded the Modern Woodmen of America in 1883 in Lyons, Iowa. He resigned after disagreements with other officers and moved to Omaha, where he founded Woodmen of the World. Both organizations are still in existence and provide life insurance and other benefits to members. The fist bump has been found on other unmarked pins that date from the late 1800s or early 1900s.

Current Prices

Furniture, jelly cupboard, softwood, 2 paneled doors over drawer, interior shelves, bracket feet, Pennsylvania, 50 x 50 x 20 inches, $148.

Staffordshire jug, Liverpool transfer, sailor and woman, ship, “What Should Tear Me From the Arms of my Dearest Polly,” 11 inches, $420.

Cane, whale ivory, mushroom form handle, inlaid copper 1877 Liberty coin, faceted stem, figured oak stem, 35 3/4 inches, $600.

Kitchen dipper, coconut shell bowl, carved and inlaid whalebone and wood handle, heart-shaped mount, c. 1850, 13 1/2 inches, $780.

Tip: Check stored items once a year to be sure there is no deterioration or bugs.

Terry and Kim Kovel

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.