Ticker tape machine brings more than $2K


Collectors are searching for antique and vintage items related to discontinued technology -— old computers, transistor radios, early television sets, computer games and even old typewriters, fans and ticker tape machines.

A recent auction featuring furniture, cigar cutters, stoneware crocks, Chippendale furniture and maps also was offering an antique stock ticker. The 11-inch-high machine had a metal label explaining that it was designed by Thomas Edison in 1870. It was used for about 80 years for getting stock and commodities quotes from exchanges. The estimated auction price was $1,000 to $1,500.

Printed letters could be sent by telegraph as early as 1846, but machines were fragile and difficult to use. Telegraphic printers were improved, and by 1867 a stock price ticker system was being used in New York City. Edison's invention came next. It was the first one to use letters and numbers, not Morse code.

By the 1880s, thousands of stock tickers were in use in New York that made stock trades accurate and almost instantaneous. Ticker tape machines recorded information on long thin strips of paper that were discarded. When there was a parade in Manhattan to celebrate a holiday or championship, the tapes were torn and thrown at the parade from open windows. Soon the events were called ticker tape parades. The name still is used, although now the paper comes from the paper shredders.

An antique ticker tape machine attracted technology enthusiasts at a 2014 Pook and Pook auction in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Collectors bid until the rare Edison machine sold for $2,460.



Q: I have a copper box with a hinged lid that is marked "Craftsman Studios" above a hammer striking an anvil. The words "Hand Made" are on the anvil and the words "Laguna Calif" are below it. There is a repousse long-stemmed rose bud on the top of the lid. When was this made and what is it worth?

A: Carl Wirths started Craftsman Studios in Brooklyn, New York, in 1919. Jewelry and desk accessories were made. Wirths moved to California and opened a studio in Los Angeles in 1920. Clyde Hall took over ownership in the studio in 1924. The studio was moved to Laguna Beach in 1929 and was in business until the 1950s. Hand-hammered desk accessories, vases and other items were made at the California studio. Variations on the name of the workshop were used, including "Studio" instead of "Studios," and "Craftsmen" instead of "Craftsman." The name and location marked on your copper box indicate it was made in 1929 or 1939. The realistic rose on top of the box is not a typical Arts and Crafts design, so your box is not a type popular with Arts and Crafts collectors. It would sell for $75 to $100.



Q: A baseball team gave me a Falstaff beer clock for my birthday in 1957. The numbers 3, 6, 9 and 12 are on the clock face. There is a large shield-shaped Falstaff Beer logo and two beer mugs that move on the front. There is a light inside that lights up the clock face. What is it worth?

A: Beer was produced under the Falstaff name from 1903 until 2005. Several Falstaff beer clocks in a variety of styles were made over the years. Most of them sell for $50 to $60. Your "toasting" beer mugs make it more attractive, so it might be $150-$200.


Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. Write to Kovels, Tyler Morning Telegraph, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, New York, 10019.



THIS STRANGE BRASS object is an early stock ticker tape, a very unusual collectible that can be displayed like a piece of sculpture. It auctioned for $2,460.









Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Buffalo pottery bowl, willow, cobalt blue, house, birds, footed, 1922, 4 x 8 x 3 inches, $50.

Bottle, soda, stoneware, cobalt blue dipped spout & neck, P. Pfannebecker, c. 1870, 9 1/2 inches, $60.

Coca-Cola, tray, 1916, girl, yellow dress, rectangular, 19 x 8 1/2 inches, $120.

Doorknocker, cast iron, shaped like ship, sail masts, 1929, 9 1/2 inches, $165.

Baccarat crystal ice bucket, faceted rim, indented center band, vertically paneled tapering sides, 9 x 7 1/2 inches, $185.

Silver-plate coaster, wine bottle, reticulated lion mask, gadrooned, England, c. 1860, 5 x 7 1/2 inches, 4 pieces, $405.

Ideal doll, Mary Hartline, hard plastic, blonde wig, red marching uniform, batons, hair curlers, box, 16 inches, $450.

Jewelry, cocktail ring, 18K yellow gold, square emerald, star, diamonds, c. 1940, size 7, $720.

Crown Milano vase, multicolor flowers, white, pink ground, pulled ear handles, Colonial ware, marked, 9 3/4 inches, $1,060.

Chair, Queen Anne, walnut, carved shell crest, slip seat, Philadelphia, c. 1780, 38 x 18 inches, $1,875.

New! The Kovels.com Premium website is up and running. In addition to 900,000 free prices of antiques and collectibles, more than 11,000 with photographs, premium subscribers will find a dictionary of marks for silver and another for ceramics, with pictured marks and company histories. Premium membership also includes a subscription to the digital edition of our newsletter, ‘Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles,' and its archives, where you'll find hundreds of articles about almost anything you might collect. Up-to-date information for the savvy collector. Go to Kovels.com and click on ‘Subscription' for more information.

(Cutline for March 29, 2015)


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