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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


This is a true Hoosier cabinet produced by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co of New Castle, Indiana. The reason I tell you this is because a real Hoosier cabinet is usually higher priced and desired over all the copy/similar type kitchen cabinets of the time. For most the only way to know the difference is if the cabinet still maintains the original paper or metal tag.

Also did you know its predecessor was what is called a Baker's Cabinet, sometimes called possum bottom, because of the rounded bins on the bottom, which held sugar and flour?
Now for some photos and ad's of hoosier style cabinets. These will show you the many different styles that were developed and available, plus many different sizes including additional cabinets to tie in the mix. 

Now for some history.
Loaded with labor and time-saving conveniences, the Hoosier cabinet was among the earliest design innovations of the modern American kitchen. This culinary workstation allowed owners to maintain an efficient and clutter-free kitchen by centralizing utensils, cookware, tools, and ingredients all the while providing a space in which to prepare the meals of the day. The typical Hoosier style cabinet consists of three parts. The base section usually has one large compartment with a slide-out shelf, and several drawers to one side. Generally it sat on small casters. The top portion is shallower and has several smaller compartments with doors, with one of the larger lower compartments having a roll-top or tambour. The top and the bottom are joined by a pair of metal channels which serve as the guide for a sliding counter top, which usually has a pair of shallow drawers underside.

A distinctive feature of the true Hoosier cabinet is its accessories. As originally supplied, they were equipped with various racks and other hardware to hold and organize spices and various staples The typical Hoosier cabinet consists of three parts. The base section usually has one large. One particularly distinctive item is the combination flour-bin/sifter, a tin hopper that could be used without having to remove it from the cabinet. A similar sugar bin was also common.
Special glass jars were manufactured to fit the cabinet and its racks. A major manufacturer of the glassware was Sneath Glass Company. Original sets of Hoosier glassware consisted of coffee and tea canisters, a salt box, and four to eight spice jars. Some manufacturers also included a cracker jar. One distinctive form was a cylindrical jar with a ring molded around its center, to allow it to rest in the holes of a metal hanging rack. On the inside of the doors, it was common to have cards with such information as measurement conversions, sample menus, and other household helps.
Houses of the period were frequently not equipped with built-in cabinetry, and the lack of storage space in the kitchen became acute. Hoosier adapted an existing furniture piece, the baker's cabinet, which had a similar structure of a table top with some cabinets above it (and frequently flour bins beneath). By rearranging the parts and taking advantage of (then) modern metal working, they were able to produce a well-organized, compact cabinet which answered the home cook's needs for storage and working space. Hoosier cabinets remained popular into the 1920s, but by that time houses began to be built with more modern kitchens with built-in cabinets and other fixtures.
Beginning around 1899, the first ones were assembled and "built by skilled cabinetmakers." But within a few years, the company standardized parts so they could be replaced and began to manufacture the cabinets on an assembly line. Some of the special features included a sifter mounted on the bottom of the flour bin, places to store potatoes and onions, metal-lined bread drawers, cutlery drawers, spice racks, some of which rotated for easier use, lidded jars for coffee and tea, coffee grinders, and a work table, designed at the optimal height for working while seated. By 1920 the company had made two million Hoosiers and the name became the generic term for the kitchen cabinet.
Caught  between  a market that wanted built-ins and a depression and war that halted the manufacture of consumer goods, the company ceased its business in the early 1940's.

Because these Hoosier Cabinets were so loved by the women of the era many other companies began making their versions.

The time period between 1920 and 1925 was the high water mark for another company with their version the Coppes Napanee Kitchenet.

 The “Hoosier” kitchen cabinet was very popular, not only with Coppes, but with several companies in the state of Indiana. Books suggest that as many as 40 different companies were making the “Hoosier” cabinet at the peak of its populiarity. Some of the competition had very similar appearing cabinets and it is difficult to determine the correct mfg. without the proper metal tag. Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. and Coppes Bros. & Zook used their trademarked metal name tag with the Dutch Girl in the center. "The Dutch Girl" was featured in advertising during this time period.
Here is a list of the companies in the state of Indiana making the Hoosier Cabinet, and hoosier style cabinets.
(a) The “Boone” or “Hoosier” cabinet made by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of Albany, IN .
(b) The “Kitchen Maid” cabinet made by Wasmuth-Endicott Co. of Andrews, IN.
(c) The “McDougall” by the G.P. McDougall & Son, Indianapolis, IN.
(d) The “Sellers” cabinet by G.I. Sellers & Sons Company, Kokomo, IN.
Now some more examples of styles and advertising.
1924 Remodel Ad

1920's Art Deco style

1920's notice the table/chair companion












Monday, September 17, 2012

Rantings of an Antique Dealer

OK I love and appreciate our customers. I am an antique dealer because I love antiques and collectibles and I need to share the passion. But---I'll start with, do not take this personally or directly (unless you are guilty), and understand I do not wish to offend--but----

Let me start again, I love what I do and appreciate our customers and enjoy sharing the love and knowledge I have in the arena of antiques and collectibles. I just need to rant a little which will help me rebuild my stamina and recharge the enthusiasm I do have with those of you that also have a passion. Please bare with me and hopefully understand where I come from on the subjects covered below.

You are trying to setup and sell the items left to you by a recently deceased relative, or you want to sell off a collection you have and are now downsizing, or possibly you found some things at a garage sale cheap and you desire to profit from them. Maybe you are going to have an estate sale, yard sale, or garage sale and you do not want to give things away and believe you should get full blown retail prices on most of the stuff. Well, I truly wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. Really I am sincere when I say that. My advice would be for you to hire a professional and yes pay for their services and have an estate sale or send all off to an auction. No you may not make as much as you would by handling yourself , then again you might make more, in the long run you will profit and not have unreasonable expectations. Or take the time necessary to do some research and list on eBay or craigslist yourself. Expecting myself or someone else in this field of work to provide you with information  freely is not research and shouldn't be expected of us. Plus most of us are not appraisers or have a legal license to do so.

Please do not call me or come by to visit the shop inquiring as to value of such things for these purposes. Why, because everything is worth what someone is willing to pay, bottom line.  All the reference price guides and online eBay searches that one could do will not give a truly reflective picture and price for these items. Yes research helps, as a guideline only, but many factors play into the overall scheme of things.

Condition is the number one factor in value as well as the region you are trying to sell in, and then finding or stumbling onto just the right person in search of that particular item sometimes is difficult and extremely time consuming.  Also you need to consider the market that you are attempting to sell an item in. Example: a yard seller has the attitude of finding bargains only. Lastly local demand for such items matter more than I can express.

When you do contact me with these inquiries you are asking, expecting, or demanding of me my experience, expertise, time, or opinion for free. You are saying to me that all the years I have studied and all the experience that I have should be given away freely (undervalued) and I owe that to you, WHY?  You should not expect those of us in the field that are reputable to educate the world on current values and expect us to be willing.

Sometimes you even insult me with attitude if I do not give you the information you desire or the price you think it should be. Sometimes you imply that the information I give you is wrong or that I am trying to low ball. What information are you basing your facts on, and how dare I question you.  Folks there is no benefit to me what so ever to do that. I have a reputation as a fair and honest antique dealer dealing with the public on a daily basis, for me to do as you suggest would be the failing of all the years of hard work and research I have done to gain the reputation that I have rightfully earned. There may be (are) unscrupulous so called dealers out there but I am not one of them.

Now if your goal is to sell to me directly then please state that instead of first saying "whats it worth". Again I will state everything is worth what someone is willing to pay. Tell me you desire to sell such items to me and I will question how much you want for the items if I am interested in purchasing. After that is settled and if there is room for me to make a profit I will gladly pay for it and if not I will refuse or make you a counter offer. If you really do not have a clue, I ask you have faith in my knowledge and I will make a fair offer.  If you reply back to me with  "oh that's not enough" that tells me you did have a value in mind and knew what you wanted to sell it for.

I base the value according to what I feel I may be able to sell the item for and must consider my overhead expenses and possible discount if the item sits to long. The buying public can be fickle and buy according to trends so I can not judge by so called values based on eBay, American Pickers, Antiques Roadshow, or Insurance Appraisals. So do not say to me "on eBay one sold for" because that is eBay and I sell in New Albany. I base values on recent experiences, the region that I am in, definitely on condition, availability, and or current stock requirements or demands. Also understand that every single item I purchase is a gamble because there is no guarantee I will be able to sell that item or make a profit off of it.

Most of the merchandise in the shop was brought to me by people desiring or needing to sell, they walk through the front door with items for sell on a regular basis, or phone calls where we are requested to come to check out an estate for possible purchases. We also know pickers who hunt and find items for us and know we pay fairly. Many of these people come to us because of a reference by someone else that has dealt with us in the past. The phone rings daily with requests and questions. I am just asking for consideration and understanding before you approach us and hopefully we can make each other happy.

My last request is that if you do have something to sell me know that my customers come first in service. In other words, if I am busy or dealing with a customer please do not interrupt or expect me to drop everything and deal with you. Please do not come by on a saturday, usually my busiest, and think I should come out to your truck and do business. Maybe call first and see if convenient for all involved or choose another day of the week, again we will all be happy.



Monday, September 10, 2012

Cookbook dating from 1570 brings $2,035

Bartolomeo Scappi’s 1570 cookbook, “Scappi Cucina,” which is a guide to managing a well-run Renaissance Tuscan kitchen, sold for $2,037 during a July 1 eBay auction. Above and below left are engravings from the book.
Photo courtesy eBay seller zalocs.

This was posted at Antique Trader ( How many cookbooks do you have stashed away? 
You may not consider yourself a collector of these, but I know you have some. In fact, if you live in the “average” American household, you have 15 of them: cookbooks.
Whether they were purchased, inherited or given to you as a gift, they are accumulating on a shelf in your home. Even the least able cook leafs through each book he or she gets and won’t toss it out, at least not immediately.
According to “The Bean Counters Cookbook,” three-quarters of the folks who receive a cookbook keep it for years; 65 percent of those who don’t, pass them on to a close friend or relative. Then, there are the rest of us who collect, read, cherish and perhaps even create cookbooks … and assign each one a value.
That price usually isn’t the $2,037 paid on eBay July 1, 2012, for Bartolomeo Scappi’s 1570 “Scappi Cucina,” a guide to managing a well-run Renaissance Tuscan kitchen. The 10-day auction started at 99 cents; it soon went into the hundreds and in the final day more than doubled to that fantastic sum. This book is a treasure. Modern paperback reprints under the title “Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi” translated by Terence Scully are available in paperback for under $40.
Price guides and websites abound for vintage cookbooks. My recent tracking of online auctions and price lists has uncovered factors which generally turn up the bidding heat.

Professionally Published Cookbooks
The value increases if the book is a first edition, in excellent condition, was published before 1950, contains elaborate and colorful covers with many period photographs and quaint illustrations, contains specific recipes with both lists of ingredients and preparation instructions, and also contains additional cultural or historical information regarding the cuisine, cooks or recipes.
The collectability of star authors (Vincent Price, Julia Child, Miss Piggy and Barbie) will also whip up the value.

Several cookbooks intended for children to use continue to attract buyers. Admittedly not as valuable as standing and watching grandmother work in her kitchen, little books like the “Fun to Cook Book,” “Jolly Times Cookbook” and “Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie” all recently sold on eBay for just under $15 apiece. The rarity and desirability – just like Beluga caviar or white truffles – sends the price up.
Community Cookbooks
The above rules also apply with certain additional leavenings. Customer support of the charity, church or club that organized the effort is an attraction. Popular cuisines such as those from Southern Louisiana, New Mexico, Amish Country, pioneer times, and Old Cape Cod all have interested enthusiasts. Additionally, the price for vintage community cookbooks goes up for pre-template issuances.
In the 1970s, several companies began to “help” nonprofits raise money by providing formats into which groups could insert their recipes. Look around. You’ll find identical covers and dividing pages being used by a church guild in North Carolina and a Woman’s Shelter in Michigan. These books are worth less than the older, cruder, locally printed, saddle-stitched efforts (no plastic gbc or spiral bindings). The authenticity and uniqueness of the cuisine (River Road Recipes by the Junior League of Baton Rouge) and the usefulness of a cookbook theme (CanapĂ© Caprice by the Columbus, Ohio, Symphony Orchestra) attract gourmands.

Promotional Cookbooks
Yes, there was a time before Crisco! The manufacturers of condensed milk, self-rising flour and Spam needed to train the public to use their products. So they provided shoppers with recipe booklets which demonstrated the deliciousness of these items. The same can be said of freezer manufacturers, appliance makers and cooking utensil companies. All new items needed to tempt buyers with some excellent carrot recipes to dangle before us horses. Look around on your shelf and you might own a book published by Kerr canning supplies, Sunbeam Mixmaster or The Lorain Stove Co. Keep looking and you’ll probably unearth ones by Carnation evaporated milk, Campbell’s Soup, Grandma’s Molasses, Rumford baking powder and others.
The pricing rules noted above apply, especially when these handy little pamphlets contain charming period illustrations. A lone Crystal Baking Soda pamphlet with a vintage mom-in-the-kitchen on the cover from the 1920s went for $18.50. The price will definitely go up when you not only own the Mirror Aluminum Cookie Press from the ’50s but also have the recipe booklet that came with it.
To save time and add attraction to your online sales, list the more modern items in lots. Buyers will often purchase the entire lot just to get the one they grew up with and have lost. A recent auction on eBay for 25 of these little usually free booklets brought the seller $51.
The Pillsbury Flour Co. is the undisputed champion of food manufacturer-issued cookbooks. Through the many years of challenging cooks from America’s Heartland to invent and share new “Bake-Off” recipes, Pillsbury created an undeniable demand for its excellent products.
My most cherished book from this series dates from 1960. It features Leona Schnuelle, a bespectacled farmer’s wife from Crab Orchard, Neb., who won the top prize of $25,000 for her “Dilly Casserole Bread.”
In the “Bake-Off’s” prime, hundreds of winners, television host Art Linkletter and Mrs. Schnuelle herself gave hope to millions. The everyday chore of putting delicious food on the table could now also provide national notoriety and a fat cash prize, plus the well deserved gratitude for a job well done. A case can also be made that the televised final rounds of Pillsbury’s Bake-Offs were the original reality television show.

Cleverly, Pillsbury documented all the winning recipes and issued them in a long series of checkout-line cookbooks. The first “Bake-Off” recipe book dates from 1950 and the final one in 1978, but other books continue the tradition today.
The 1974 Pillsbury’s Best Bundt Cake Recipes book, originally priced at 99 cents, contains 100 great recipes. It sold on eBay recently for $21.50. That’s 20 times the original price in just 38 years. These booklets are very collectible because they contain delicious recipes, idiot-proof instructions and beautiful photography.
A Sticky Point
Whenever I leaf through a used cookbook, I try to find some evidence of what the former owner tried to make. More than occasionally, I’ll find a cookbook that has written commentary. “Great but double it.” But usually, I find no written word, only tell-tale fingerprints that show that the banana nut bread recipe on page 128 of GE’s “Cooking with a Food Processor” is a winner.
Antique dealers and used book sellers have been trained to price according to pristine condition. But a buttery smudge, dried bit of batter or remnant of ancient flour dust on one or more pages in a cookbook escalates its value to those of us searching for something good to make.
Real cooks want to know what tastes delectable not what looks nice on the shelf.

Homemade Cookbooks
Recently, a pencil-written notebook of 122 pages from a Bethel Church in rural Missouri sold for $167.50. Debbie, the eBay seller, had found it in a box of miscellaneous items she bought at an estate sale. There were also several Bethel Churches in the surrounding area so she couldn’t trace it to any one of them. Its tattered cover showed signs of use. The first page contained these charming sentences: “This little cook book is composed by the Ladies Aid Society of Bethel Church with the aid of a few friends to whom we feel very grateful. You will find index classed on last page and you have 150 good tried recipes. We think too you will be pleased.”
Similarly, a three-ring binder of more than 500 clipped recipes, prepared by a cooking enthusiast, sold for $41.99. A certain minor class of hoarding sickness does apply here. Many of us feel that a recipe is a free gift and it shouldn’t just be thrown away.
These two examples demonstrate the value of used cookbooks and private recipe collections. Scribbled down recipes in the margins or blank spaces of other cookbooks, add value rather than detract from it.
Dr. Chase’s 1888 Cookbook, by the way, just sold for $78.88 on eBay. It was this helpful home manual that guided homemakers in improving life around the house.

So, take a look at the cookbooks on your shelf and value them for what they can help you do, in addition to how pretty, rare or interesting they are.
Joseph Truskot is a collector and freelance writer based in Salinas, Calif.