Antiques & Collectibles: Vanity jars fascinate various collectors

Specialist collectors pre-sently pay $50 to $85 for a single jar and as much as $200 for a matching pair of these sterling silver and cut glass vanity jars made at the turn of the last century.

Question: My photos show a round, cut glass jar with a hole in its silver lid and another lid without a hole which covers a matching jar. The jars are part of an old seven-piece bureau set. Both lids are marked with a deer's head, "R.W. & S." and "Sterling." I would like information about the jars, especially the one with the unusual lid. - F.A., Oceanville

Answer: Jars such as yours were often part of ladies' vanity sets during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Sizes of the sets ranged from a simple hand mirror, hairbrush and comb to an expanded collection of items including clothes brush, shoe horn, button hook, nail tools and matching cut or engraved glass cologne bottles, pomade box, powder jar and hair receiver. Your jar with the solid silver lid is a powder jar and the one with the holed lid is a hair receiver.

Made of ceramics, glass, metal and celluloid, such receivers were used to store hair which milady removed from her hairbrush after vigorous stroking of her fashionable long locks. Deposited through the opening in a hair receiver's lid, accumulated strands were stored and then frequently plaited or woven into bracelets, locket chains or other hair jewelry by women who enjoyed the era's popular hair-crafting hobby.

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The elk mark on your lids and their daisy motif within an art nouveau whiplash border indicate they were made by Wallace Silversmiths circa 1890 to 1914. Founded in 1835 and located in Wallingford, Conn., until 1986, the company enjoyed a widespread reputation for production of sterling flatware and hollowware decorated with beautiful three-dimensional motifs. The pictured jar's combination of miter cuts, zigzag stars, single bottom star, diamond cut kite figure and trio of bull's-eyes is found on late American Brilliant cut glass produced from 1899 to 1914.

Folks who collect antique cut glass or daisy motif items as well as others who search for pieces that will complete a vanity set currently pay $50 to $85 for one jar such as yours and as much as $200 for a matching pair.

Question: Our pictured clock, a wedding gift to my grandparents during the 1930s, is 81 inches high and was made by a company named Junghans. Please tell us about the clock's maker and value. - J.C., Asbury Park

Answer: The Junghans clock factory, located in the Black Forest area of Schramberg, Germany, was founded in 1861. It eventually became that country's largest clock, watch and chronometer producer and an important clock making name throughout the world. In addition to alarm, kitchen and living room clocks, the company was a pioneer in both the wristwatch and quartz watch industries. Junghans continues to manufacture an extensive variety of innovative timepieces renowned for quality, precision, reliability and design.

Your Art Deco style grandfather's clock featuring a rounded top, squared half columns and rope twist base rests on bun feet. Its handsome wood case, brass weights, pendulum and face are examples of the high quality and impressive design for which Junghans is renowned.

Presently, Junghans antique wood regulator wall clocks are the company's most popular models sought after by collectors. However, Junghans 1930s Art Deco grandfather clocks such as yours are selling for $250 to $400 when in working condition.

Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email:

Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.

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