Question: The ceramic figurine shown in my photo is

5 inches long and 2 inches high. Purchased for $3 at a silent auction years ago, it has a small paper label on its bottom. "FF" and "Japan" are printed on the label. Infor-mation about this item is requested. - F.N., Atlantic City

Answer: Your piece's paper label indicates it was made by Fitz and Floyd, Inc. Founded by Pat Fitzpatrick and Bob Floyd in the late 1950s, the Dallas company began as an importer and distributor of decorative items. Following Fitzpatrick's death in the 1960s, Floyd introduced a line of dinnerware, other tabletop items and hand painted ceramic giftware, all made in Japan By the 1990s, specific collectible lines including the firm's popular Charming Tails animals had been added as well as kitchen and holiday items.

Renowned for quality products and fanciful designs, F&F, now Fitz and Floyd Enterpris-es located in Ewing, Mercer County, are worldwide manufacturers of luxury home and lifestyle lines including Ralph Lauren Table Top.

Asking prices for your delightful, hand painted 1982 dachshund and kitten on a seesaw currently are as high as $75 and one recently brought $51 at auction.

Question: We purchased a large early 1900s seashore house that has three bathrooms, each equipped with an old claw foot bathtub. All the tubs are in very good condition. We would appreciate your comments about them and their possible sale. - W.J., Monroeville

Answer: In 1883, foundry owner John Koehler advertised his enameled, cast iron "horse trough/hog scalder" as able to "serve as a bathtub" if four decorative legs were added.

At approximately the same time, Standard Sanitary Mfg. Co. - later, American Standard - offered a similar item. Considered luxurious status symbols in the late 19th century, the innovative four-footed soaking tubs with smooth, easily cleaned enamel interiors were found in homes of the wealthy.

Eventually mass-produced in a number of sizes and styles, many tubs featured metal feet resembling the paws of animals or claws of birds. Standard bathroom fixtures until the 1920s, they gradually were replaced by built-in models and later by modern acrylic and fiberglass versions that are lighter and cheaper. However, when early bathroom designs were re-introduced during the late 20th century, claw foots once again began to enjoy popularity and presently are quite collectible.

Original tub values are based on size, condition and uniqueness. Lengths vary from 4 to 6 feet, most are 30 inches wide and roll rims are customary. Five-foot tubs are common, while smaller or larger models cost more as do tubs with unusual design features and rare feet. Best prices are paid for clean tubs with no cracks, stains or chips, a bright finish and four original feet. Values of 4-foot tubs range from $175 to $425. Many 5-foot tubs bring $50 to $100, a 6-foot tub has sold for $1,250 and a set of four original feet can fetch $150 to $200.

Tubs such as yours are bought and sold by antiques dealers who specialize in architectural items sought after by folks who remodel period homes. Owners of salvage yards also buy the tubs and they frequently are sold at online auctions, often with the seller's offer to provide free delivery.

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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