Question: Please see my photos of a zeppelin cocktail set, a 1929 wedding gift to my parents. I have been told it is nickel-plated brass and made in Germany. More information would be appreciated. - M.B., Margate
Answer: The Zeppelin Traveling Bar shown in your photo is a model produced by JA Henckels Twin Works, Solingen, Germany. The company's tiny signature mark featuring Gemini twins often is seen on one of the shaker's tail fins. Offered from 1928 through the early 1930s in chrome and silver plate, the 19-piece set came with a leather traveling case and cost $24.95.
One of the most desirable figural cocktail shakers pre-sently collected, zeppelin's design echoes the streamlined form of the hydrogen-filled aircraft that in 1910 was first to carry paying passengers and later served the first in-flight drinks. In 1937, the horrific, flaming crash of the Hinden-berg at Lakehurst ended the use of zeppelins for passenger service. However, interest in your set has increased through the years.
As with all high-end collectible items, condition of your set is paramount insofar as value is concerned. Since dents, scratches, plate loss and missing pieces are particularly important, value of your set is somewhat diminished as a small covered cup used to hold dried fruits is not shown in your photo.
Cocktail shaker expert and specialist Gary Graham values your very special set at $2,000 to $3,000, based on the total amount of pieces and condition of each piece. You can visit Graham's website at
Question: I would like to know the origin and age of this knife with leather scabbard owned by my father-in-law. A Merchant Marine during World War II, he brought it home after his service on the Redbud, Bondia and L.S.T.-287 ended. The knife's figural handle may be made of ivory or jade. - J.M.
Answer: The item appears to be one of the Moro knives first made and used by members of Muslim and pagan tribes in the Philippines, particularly on the island of Mindanao. Originally fashioned by hand as farming implements and brush clearers, the portable utility tools became favorite fighting weapons of Moro and Bagabo warriors from the late 1880s through the 1920s.
Blades of most Moro knives, created in a number of shapes and styles, range from 9 to 14 inches long. Knife handles often are made of wood, bone or ivory carved to represent a ceremonial figure. Leather scabbards such as yours frequently are decorated with hand-tooled designs.
During the 1945 World War II battle of Mindanao, American soldiers and allied Filipino guerillas used Moro knives to hack through the dense grasslands and challenging forests of thick-skinned abaca plants. Since Merchant Mariner- staffed vessels were used to transport troops, equipment and supplies to Mindanao before, during and after the battle and USS Redbud saw service there, your father-in-law may have acquired the Moro knife during that time. Values of similar knives range from $40 to $75.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.