October 19, 2021

Antiques & Collecting: Civil War picture frame

By 1861, when the Civil War started, there were already several ways to take a picture. The first photos of a war were taken during the Mexican-American fight from 1846 to 1848. The Civil War (1861-1865) was the fourth.

Matthew Brady was a determined photographer who collected his and other photographers’ war photos by buying negatives from others. Most of the pictures in museums today are part of the record saved by Brady, but not all were taken by him.

There are ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, albumen prints and a surprising number of stereo pictures of the war. Many were portraits of soldiers in uniform posing in a studio, but there are also many pictures of battlefields after a fight showing the dead. The portraits were framed and displayed just as we do today.

An unusual painted iron picture frame was offered in an Eldred auction with an estimated price of $500 to $1,000. It held two pictures, and the small glass circle at the top of the frame beneath an eagle was meant for a picture of President Lincoln.

The large circle surrounded by American flags and a Union shield held the portrait of a soldier. The frame was marked as “design patented Nov. 25, 1862” and was probably made for years after that.

When I was little, my mother sent away by mail for a Little Orphan Annie mug for me. It has a picture of Annie on the front saying, “Didja Ever Taste Anything So Good As Ovaltine? And It’s Good For Yuh, Too” and her dog, Sandy, on the back. I also have “Little Orphan Annie’s Song” sheet music. I’m 95 years old and don’t know anyone who wants these things. What I should do with them?

Harold Gray created the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” in 1924. The Little Orphan Annie radio series debuted in 1931. Ovaltine sponsored the show from 1931 to 1940 and offered several premiums.

The sheet music, a 1931 Ovaltine premium, sells for $10 to $35 depending on condition. This mug is from about 1932, sells online for $20 to $30. You can see if a local consignment shop will sell them, or just donate them to charity and take the tax deduction.

Current Prices

Tobacco jar, humidor, silver, wood liner, Georg Jensen, 5 x 3 inches, $810.

Doll, French Bebe, bisque head, blue paperweight eyes, brunette mohair wig, jointed wood & composition body, 1890s dress, Steiner, 25 inches, $1,090.

Purse, crossbody bag, quilted fuchsia snakeskin, front flap with embossed CC logo, outer crescent pocket, entwined chain & leather strap, Chanel, 6 x 7 1/2 inches, $2,320.

Advertising sign, Drink Blatz Beer, porcelain, die cut, neon, lights up, Artcraft, Milwaukee, 32 x 72 inches, $6,000.

Tip: Marble will eventually react to rain and deteriorate. Keep marble ornaments out of the rain and frost.

Terry and Kim Kovel

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