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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (01/2002) AMP (12/2001) AMP (02/2002)   Vol. 36 January 2002 
Ask Mark Parker!
As seen in the January 2002 edition of W&ET Magazine


Question This diamond-shaped key tag was found at an old homesite just across the Georgia state line in southeastern Tennessee. It is stamped, "HOTEL / STATE OF DADE / NEW ENGLAND CITY / GA / 53." The community of New England still exists in Dade County, Georgia. Could "State of Dade" be an error by the tag maker?

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Answer Located in extreme northwest Georgia, Dade County was established in 1837. It was named for Major Francis Langhorne Dade, who died, along with more than 100 other men, in an ambush by Seminole Indians in 1835. "State of Dade" is not an error and supposedly originated in the 1850s, when the county threatened to secede from Georgia if the state did not secede from the Union. Even long after the Civil War, it remained isolated and independent, unreached by a state road until the late 1930s or '40s. Finally, in 1945, the county passed a resolution officially rejoining the Union. As for the tag itself, so far I've found no listing for it, either as an authentic item or a fantasy issue. However, if genuine it would obviously be of keen interest to a collector of Georgia memorabilia Hotel key tags typically bring anywhere from a few bucks up to $50, but a few rare tags (those from certain Western ghost towns, for example) have sold for $350-500+.


Question I would appreciate any information you may be able to provide regarding this gun. It is a nickel-plated, pearl-handled, six-shot Colt D.A., # 136050.

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Answer The Colt Model 1877 "Lightning" double-action, .38 caliber revolver was produced from 1877 until 1909. (There was also a .41 caliber "Thunderer.") In all, Colt reportedly made 166,849 of them, and the serial number on yours suggests that it's from the very early 1900s. The pearl handles and nickel plating are a bit scarcer, though by no means rare; hard-rubber grips and a blued finish were the most common. Price tag? $800-1,200 in Fine to Very Fine condition.


Question I know very little about this watch fob, other than that it is from DeLaval, and am hoping that you can tell me something about it, including its value. The front design is enameled, while the back is plain brass, with the inscription, "DeLaval Cream Separators. World's Standard. Over 2,325,000 in Daily Use."

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Answer One of the most colorful and coveted of DeLaval collectibles, this cloisonné style watch fob depicts a happy housewife or milkmaid using one of DeLaval's hand-cranked cream separators. Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval, a prolific Swedish inventor, developed the first "continuously operating cream separator" in 1877, and a year later, in partnership with Oscar Lamm, Jr., began marketing the device. The immensely successful Model 1897 separator became the firm's first trademark, and by the turn of the century DeLaval was the leader in its field, supplying both family-farm and industrial dairy equipment worldwide. The fob, which I believe dates back 85-90 years or so, is easily worth $150.


Question Metal detecting around a farmhouse in York, Maine, I located this ornate belt buckle. The center shows an eagle atop an anchor. Can you identify it?

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Answer An early 1900s U.S. Navy officer's dress-uniform waist belt plate- not an official issue, but a commercial (private-purchase) item- it imitates the design of a traditional two-piece, "tongue & wreath" type plate. However, it's actually of one-piece, cast construction. Quite a few varieties exist, and most, including yours, sell for $50 or less.


Question Some months ago I found a which coin has me completely stumped! One side says, "5 PENNIA 1889." The other has a crown and ribbons above a large, elaborately scrolled script "A" with "III" beneath. Mark, can you solve the mystery?

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Answer Your find is a 5 pennia copper (100 pennia = 1 markka) from Finland. At the time it was issued, Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire, and the crowned A III monogram on the reverse is the royal cypher of Czar Alexander III, who ruled from 1881 to 1894. It's not too valuable, but definitely a keeper at $2-5, F-VF.


Question This is one of two medals that I found in a small wooden box buried about a foot deep in an old basement. What is it?

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Answer It's a souvenir badge from the 30th Triennial Conclave of the Knights Templar of the Grand Encampment of the United States, which was held in Saratoga Springs, New York on July 9-11, 1907. Part of the York Rite of Freemasonry, the Knights Templar is a uniformed order, and is also popularly known as the Commandery. Although its history actually goes back much farther, its official date of origin in the U.S. is 1816, and it remains active today. The Triennial Conclave is a national convention held every three years. (The next, the 62nd, will be held in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003.) You may see badges similar to yours priced higher, but $25-35 is closer to the "real world" range.


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