April 16, 2021

Antiques & Collecting: Pottery sandwich

Sometimes modern art is hard to understand, and often it is meant to be a joke. David Gilhooly (1943-2013) was a successful contemporary artist who often included big or small realistic or comic frogs in his sculptures. He is known as the founder and father of the Bay Area Funk Art group in the 1960s.

Although he had dozens of exhibitions and made art from papier-mâché, plastic, clay and trash, he is best known for the green frogs. His most controversial sculpture is a crucified frog, now in a museum collection.

Almost all his sculptures were fantasies, meant to be funny or have a satirical message. He sculpted frogs in salads, wedding cakes, pizzas, frying pans and with hats.

An 8-inch-high Gilhooly sculpture that sold for $2,125 featured a realistic-looking sandwich with tomato, cheese, lettuce, pickle and onion on a sesame seed bun and — April Fool! — don’t forget the bright green frog.

What can you tell me about a Red Comet Fire Grenade salesman’s kit that dates to 1943. It’s complete with lightbulb shape bulbs, testimonials from users, price list, training manuals and liquids to start small fires and put them out in customers’ homes.

The Red Comet Co. started in Denver in 1919. It made several different types of fire extinguishers. The glass bulbs are called grenades. Metal brackets fastened to the wall held the grenade until it was needed. When the grenade was thrown on the fire, it broke open and tried to put the fire out.

The company also made heat-activated brackets with spring-loaded triggers that could break the glass bulb to release the liquid. Early grenades were filled with saltwater. Later, carbon tetrachloride was used. That substance was banned in 1980.

The U.S. military used Red Comet fire extinguishers doing World War II. After the war, the company hired salesmen to sell Red Comet fire grenades door-to-door.

The company is in business, now in Englewood, Colorado. It no longer manufactures fire extinguishers, but sells and services other brands of extinguishers and equipment.

Current Prices

Purse, quilted, black lambskin, leather strap, gold CC logo on turning closure, Chanel, 1997, 5 x 10 inches, $1,625.

Star Wars, toy, action figure, Luke Skywalker, holding lightsaber, on 12-Back Card, Kenner, 1977, $1,770.

Tiffany silver tray, rounded rectangle, gadrooned rim, shell and scroll corners, stirrup handles, c. 1975, 26 1/2 x 16 3/4 inches, $3,250.

Coca-Cola, advertising sign, Woman on boat, holding bottle, It Cools You, cardboard, A. Loomis, 1936, wood frame, 38 x 21 inches, $6,150.

Tip: Try to keep your paper collectibles out of the light. If you frame and display some pieces, keep them on the dark side of the room, away from sunlight and direct lamp light.

Terry and Kim Kovel

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