June 10, 2023

Antiques & Collecting: Tramp art

The most heartfelt things are made by hand. This picture frame can surround a loved one with colorful hearts. It’s an example of American folk art known as “tramp art.”

Tramp art emerged after the Civil War and continued its popularity through the Great Depression. Frames were made from reclaimed wood, usually cigar boxes or shipping crates and carved with everyday tools like penknives.

Tramp artists made all kinds of items, from small decorative boxes or picture frames to functional pieces of furniture.

As a form of folk art, there are no strict rules or established patterns, but the most famous pieces are made with chip or notched carving and are not painted.

This frame, which brought $315 at a Pook & Pook auction, is unusual. The characteristic notches can be seen around the circles in the corners and on the exposed ends of the wood pieces, but the frame also features smooth-edged hearts painted red and yellow.

I was given a box of old perfume bottles. One has dark blue glass, and the label reads “Evening in Paris.” The cap and label are silver. Can you tell me about this perfume and are the bottles valuable?

The French cosmetics company Bourjois made “Evening in Paris” (Soir De Paris) in 1928. It was one of the most popular fragrances sold in the United States through World War II. The perfume was discontinued in 1969.

Perfumer Ernest Beaux created the fragrance for Bourjois. He is also known for creating “Chanel No. 5.”

The cobalt blue bottles of “Evening in Paris” are collectibles. A set of four empty bottles like yours recently sold for $59.

Tip: To remove a glass stopper stuck in a narrow-necked perfume bottle or decanter, put the bottle in warm water, then gradually add hot water and gently try to loosen the stopper.

Current Prices

Advertising, sign, Miller High Life (beer), bowtie shape logo, neon, blinking pattern, 1970s, 16 x 22 inches, $185.

Toy, Gypsy Fortune Teller, tin, plastic, cloth, holds crystal ball, fortune cards, battery operated, reproduction box, Japan, 12 inches, $630.

Furniture, planter, Aesthetic Movement, oak, square, flat top, four sides with inset glazed ceramic tiles by Clement Massier, tin liner, c. 1890, 12 x 13 x 13 inches, $875.

Clock, ship’s, brass, from the submarine USS Blueback, round, mounted on wood, brass label, dial marked, Chelsea Clock Co., 1959, bezel 11 inches, $1,185.

Furniture, rocking chair, walnut, carved and sculpted, curved crest, nine shaped spindles, shaped arms, inscribed “An Original Furniture Design by Robert Whitley, Bucks County, Pa.,” c. 1985, 40 3/4 x 26 x 28 inches, $2,000.

Terry and Kim Kovel

For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit www.Kovels.com. © 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.