Question: Several years ago I bought a number of used Christmas decorations at an annual charity sale held by our church. One of the items I purchased is a 7-piece porcelain Peanuts Christmas Pageant Nativity set made by Lenox. The set consists of a porcelain Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Woodstock, Linus and Sally Nativity figures and an 8-inch-high Christmas tree. The set is in its original box and in like-new condition. I would appreciate information about the set, its maker and if it is valuable. — V.R., Burlington
Answer: Your set, a favorite Christmas decoration made and sold for many years, is an original product of the Lenox Inc./Ceramic Art Company of Trenton.
The firm’s founder, Walter Scott Lenox, was born in Trenton in 1859. Originally an apprentice and pottery maker, he eventually became art director of the Ott & Brewer factory. By 1889, he was a partner in the Ceramic Art Company and later its sole owner.
Throughout his career, Lenox successfully strove to produce fine porcelain products that rivaled those created in Europe and the Orient.
After Tiffany became his first account, filling its Philadelphia and New York stores with Lenox dinnerware and art objects, Lenox was further elevated to the production of Presidential White House dining sets, an honor that continued for years.
Lenox was acquired by the Brown-Forman Corporation in 1980 and later sold to Department 56.
Through the years, the Lenox Peanuts Christmas Pageant Nativity set has been a favorite Christmas decoration. Recent prices paid for the sets, many advertised as “New (or Mint) in the box” have ranged from $80 to $112.
Question: While sorting through a box of old sewing tools used by the women of my husband’s family for generations, I found an interesting little silver item. It is 4½ inches long and very thin with an elaborate embossed design and an egg shape ball at each end.
The piece is marked with a stamped circle interlaced with a “U” and “B” and “Sterling 925 Fine.” I am curious about what this old item was used for, who made it and if it has any value as a sewing collectible. — S.W., Turnersville
Answer: You have described one of the solid sterling glove darners used to repair damaged fingers of ladies’ gloves worn from the late 1800s throughout the early 1900s.
During that period, a lady’s gloves were important, fashionable attire often worn in public. Since most of a glove’s damage from use occurred on the end of its fingers or thumbs, the glove darner inserted inside held a glove’s digit steady while the glove was mended.
The initials on your glove darner’s mark indicate it was made by the Unger Brothers who were located in Newark upon their arrival from Germany in 1849. By the 1870s, they had established a well-known business as jewelers, silversmiths and glass cutters that peaked during the turn of the 20th century.
Among the leading items Unger created were the company’s vanity dressing table accessories, sterling and decorative items featuring intricate Art Nouveau designs. Sometimes included as one of the accessories was a sterling silver glove darner such as yours.
Presently, most glove darners are collected as antique sewing accessories and a number sold this year for $30 to $50.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: treasuresby firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.