Mickey, Minnie Mouse To Mark 90 Years in 2018

Mickey and Minnie Mouse and their cartoon friends have been popular since the first cartoon was shown in 1928. Walt Disney licensed the rights to use the image to hundreds of products, and collectors often specialize in one type of product like toys, dinnerware or textiles. During the 1930s, Paragon China in England made a dinnerware set and a baby feeding set that featured Mickey and Minnie playing the piano, riding Horace Horsecollar, and other scenes. They were marked “Paragon China.” Another later series was marked “Royal Paragon China, Mickey Mouse Series, copyright & registered.” Paragon still makes Mickey Mouse dishes, but the mice have the more recent shorter nose and larger eyes. A Paragon octagonal plate with a picture of Minnie playing the piano while Mickey dances was part of a sale of more than 20 pieces of the dinnerware and 13 sets.

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Q: I’m 75 years old and have a fireplace screen from my grandmother’s house. It is 28 inches high, shaped like a fan and folds up. I would love to know its value.

A: When real fires were burning in fireplaces, screens were used to control the heat and keep sparks and burning embers at bay. By the late 18th century, fire screens were available in wood, leather, wicker and papier-mache with silk, tapestry or embroidery. They were portable and often adjustable. By the 19th century, fire screens tended to be light with decorative panels. The French “peacock”-style fan, like yours, was popular from the 1820s through the Victorian era. Made of bronze and brass, the intricate pierced filigree “feathers” could fold together and lock closed. The center supports often have decorations like medallions with cameos of mythological figures, a scrolling acanthus or a dragon handle. Early peacock fans can sell for a few thousand dollars. Peacock screens of similar design but made in the 20th century are lighter in weight and worth less. Mid-century reproductions can be found for $50 to $100. Your screen was made in the early 1900s and is valued at about $700 to $900.

Q: I have a set of nativity figures that came with a Certificate of Authenticity that reads “Original Lepi Woodcarvings.” It says they are made of maplewood, and carved and painted at Ortisei in Val Gardena, Italy “following an original design of Rupert Reindl, our famous master sculptor.” I have the box they came in. I’d like to know something about the maker.

A: Ortisei is an Italian town in Val Gardena (Garden Valley). Woodcarvers have worked in this area since the 1600s. At first, they made practical items for the home and farm. Eventually, the town became a center of decorative woodcarving, especially nativity sets and other figures. Lepi is a woodcarving workshop founded by Leo Prinoth in 1920. The company still is in business, and it makes wooden figures based on designs by Rupert Reindl (1908-1990) and other well-known woodcarvers. Christmas woodcarvings sell for half or less than the original price.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Sunday News-Register, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

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