Question: The 4-inch high pitcher shown in my photo was part of a set of glass dishes originally owned by my great-great grandmother. I would like to know its age, maker, pattern, value and if it is ruby flashed or ruby stained glass. - P.T., Hammonton
Answer: Your cream pitcher was made by McKee and Brothers Glass Works of Pittsburgh and Jeannette, Pa., (1853-1961). It is a part of the company's ruby stained, pressed glass Heart Band pattern table service. Introduced in 1897 and popular until about 1910, the set consisted of plates, tumblers, milk and water pitchers, salt shakers, a syrup pitcher, creamer and sugar bowl, celery vase and butter dish as well as spoon and toothpick holders.
Named parti-colored glass by Victorians, ruby-flashed and ruby-stained glass often are confused and interchanged. Ruby-flashed items were produced by dipping glass objects in molten red glass which formed an actual top layer of ruby glass.
Ruby staining, an inexpensive imitation of flashing, was achieved by coating glass with a chemical fluid whose color is developed when the glass is heated. The stain often was applied to an item's raised surfaces, leaving depressed areas of clear glass such as that visible on your pitcher.
While interest in parti-colored glass tableware diminished during the early 1900s, popular ruby-stained novelties and souvenirs were produced until the 1920s. Although asking prices for cream pitchers such as yours currently are as high as $45, many folks who collect ruby-stained Heart Band tableware are paying $8 to $12 for a mint example.
Interestingly, an early 20th century Cincinnati Fair Car-nival souvenir variation of the same pitcher recently sold for $100.
Question: My late uncle's Royal Doulton Winston Churchill character jug is dated 1992. What can you tell me about this collectible and its current value? - S.W., Port Norris
Answer: Founded as a London partnership in 1815, Doulton pottery made tableware and collectibles before expanding to a Burslem, Staffordshire factory and receiving a Royal Warrant during the late 19th century. Since 2009, the company has been part of WWRD Holdings Ltd., a distributor of Wedgwood, Waterford and Royal Doulton products.
Your 7-inch high piece, featuring Winston Churchill's bust enhanced by an unusual Union Jack and bulldog handle, was modeled by Doulton designer, Stanley J. Taylor. Named the Royal Doulton Character Jug of the Year, this Churchill special edition was introduced in 1992 and discontinued at the year's end.
Valued at $325 from 1995 to 1997, prices of the jug had dropped to the $160 to $180 range by 2003. However, a number of mint examples complete with certificate of authenticity have sold for $240 to $370 during the last two years.
Additionally, a rare piece - one of several pilot or trial samples taken from the master mold before production - recently fetched $800.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist whose consulting firm, Treasures Unlimited, is based in southern New Jersey. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email: email@example.com
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.