Q This truck was given to me in the 1950s when I was a kid. It is a “Minnitoys Imperial Esso” tanker manufactured by Otaco Limited of Orillia, Ontario. It is 69 centimeters long (27 inches) and 18 centimeters high (seven inches). I used to drive it like a cart when I was young. It has a few scratches and small dents, but it still has the original paint and decals.
A. Your big childhood gift was made by the Otaco company. The company was started in the 1940s, starting with construction toys. During the 1950s and early 1960s he made a few other brands, including Supertest. The Otaco plant finally closed in the early 1960s. These large toy trucks are made of sturdy stamped steel – irresistible to children and hard to find in good condition today. This truck is a big part of the current auto-related collection frenzy. In its lightly used condition, it’s worth around $1,000 – new it would be more.
Q This silver cow creamer, owned by my mother, was brought from England around 1950 as a gift from her mother. According to family tradition, he could have originated in France several years earlier. It is about 10 cm long from nose to tail (four inches). He also has punches on his stomach.
A. These silver cow creamers are valuable and quite rare. The punches are however apocryphal, that is to say invented. They do not match any registered hallmarks from any country, leading to looking at pseudo-hallmarks from Hanau, Germany. The silver content can vary from 80% to 92.5% pure for sterling silver. It’s a pretty piece with the fly resting on the back of the cow. It was made around the turn of the century. The idea for this type of silver cow creamer was introduced to England in the mid-1700s by Dutch silversmith Johann Schuppe. Your little guy is worth $1,000.
Q This vase was a wedding present for my parents in 1945. It was an antique then, my mother told me. It is made of opaque glass decorated with three embossed dragon medallions and cherry blossoms. We thought it was Chinese, or maybe Italian with a Japanese theme. It is unmarked and measures approximately 29 cm (11 inches).
A. You have a rare and valuable piece of American art glass. It was made in the 1890s by the Mount Washington Glass Company of New Bedford, Mass. This stick vase is a type known as Royal Flemish, which is frosted glass decorated by a highly skilled artist with gold enamel and transparent colors that together create a look similar to stained glass. The medallion, containing a griffin’s head, is typical of the mythological motifs used on Flemish royal objects. Royal Flemish is one of the most popular categories of art glass and remains highly collectable today. Your parents’ wedding gift is worth about $2,000.