Branding with some eye-catching packaging

This is not a bookshelf full of books that you see with this column. It is an antique tin box that held cookies (called biscuits) in England about 1905. Grocery stores in the past were very different. The use of automobiles, starting about 1910, changed the way folks shopped.

Before 1900, grocery shopping was done at a street where farmers gathered to sell their produce. Then the markets moved into large buildings that rented space where farmers and customers bartered for food. Some farmers moved to residential suburbs and opened small grocery stores. They sold staples, like flour, sugar and tea, as well as fresh food. Clerks took the order and packed it.

But in 1916, the first supermarket was built in Memphis, Tenn., and customers were able to choose their items, put them in a cart and take it to a cashier. That led to branding with eye-catching packaging and the modern chains of grocery stores.

Huntley & Palmer, an English bakery, created tin boxes by the 1850s to ship and sell their boxed cookies, called biscuits, so they wouldn’t get broken. They started making the figural — and now very collectible — tins in 1894 and made hundreds of different shapes. The bookcase tin was made in 1905, and this top-quality example sold recently for $270.

Q: My mother bought an Autumn Leaf wall pocket for me. I think it was part of the reproduction’s resurgence and not the original 1930s to ’40s Autumn Leaf. Can you tell me what it might be worth?

A: Autumn Leaf pattern was made by several companies. It was made exclusively for the Jewel Tea Co., a home shopping service, by Hall China from 1933 to 1978. Some kitchenware and teapots were reintroduced in 1985 and sold in retail stores. The Autumn Leaf wall pocket was made by China Specialties, a company in Strongsville, Ohio, that began offering limited edition pieces of Autumn Leaf in new shapes in 1990. They were made in Asia and are marked “Genuine China Specialties.” They sell for less than $30.

Q: I bought a pretty plate at a garage sale and would like to know how old it is and what it might be worth. It has a floral center, fluted edges and gold trim. The mark on the bottom is an outline of the state of Ohio. Inside it says “Trojan 8 by Sebring, U.S.A.” and underneath the mark it says “Warranted, 22-K-gold, Toledo Delight.”

A: Sebring Pottery was in business in East Liverpool from 1887 until 1948. The mark with an outline of Ohio was used from about 1925 to about 1942. Toledo Delight is the name of the pattern. Plates and other pieces of this pattern sell at online shops. A 6-inch plate sells for about $15, a 13-inch platter for $29.


Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

– Cut glass powder jar and cover, clear, cut crosshatching, fans & diamonds, round, squat, stand-up rim, American Brilliant Period, 4 by 6 inches, $35.

– Candy container, Village Church, tin lithograph, stained glass window graphics, cross on top, 2 by 3 by 4 inches, $125.

– Popeye, store display, Pop-Up Spinach Can, cardboard, pictures Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, holding 12 tin lithograph cans, Mattel, 1957, 14 by 13 inches, $675.

– Doll, Madame Alexander, Cinderella, plastic, Tosca wig, blue taffeta gown, rhinestone crown, slippers, 1955, 8 inches, $920.

– Dress clip, triangular, platinum, baguette & round diamonds, beaded accents, art deco, each 1 inch, pair, $3,625.


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