Reddy Kilowatt Figure Is A Prize For Collectors

Posted: June 06, 1993

The light-bulb nose and electric-outlet ears help identify Reddy Kilowatt, the symbol used by many power companies and a trademark figure sought by


Reddy was created by Ashton B. Collins in the late 1920s. Collins, the story goes, saw four flashes of lightning and thought they resembled the arms and legs of a person.

More than 200 companies use or have used Reddy Kilowatt in their promotional material. Kites, dolls, posters, pamphlets, signs, cigarette lighters, earrings and tie tacks can be found with the symbol. One very rare Reddy Kilowatt collectible is a manhole guard. The 4-foot-high iron figure holding two flags was placed in the road to warn motorists that the manhole was open.

Question: The unframed bird print I just bought at a garage sale pictures a turkey. It is labeled "Great American Cock, Male, Vulgo Wild Turkey Meleagris Gallopavo." It also has the name of John James Audubon on it. The picture measures about 39-by-26 inches. I have heard Audubon prints are very valuable.

Answer: The original edition of the book The Birds of America was published in London from 1827 to 1838. In that book, Audubon had his watercolor pictures reproduced, printed and hand-colored. The originals were printed on paper with the watermark "J. Whatman Turkey Mill."

Hold the paper to the light and try to find the water mark. The originals were printed on sheets of paper 39 1/2- by-26 1/2 inches. Measure yours carefully, and if they are a little smaller, look for signs that the paper has been trimmed. An original should have the names of William Lizars, the engraver, and R. Havell, the retouch artist, printed at the bottom.

You probably do not own an original because only about 300 were printed. Each original is worth more than $45,000. A late copy would sell for about $100.

Q. What is the age and value of a pressed glass mug that pictures President McKinley? The portrait is in an oval. At the top, it says "Protection and Prosperity." At the bottom, it says "Major Wm. McKinley."

A. The mug was made in 1896 for William McKinley's presidential campaign. His slogan was "Protection and Prosperity." In the 19th century, there were many who wanted a tariff on imported goods to protect the American worker from the competition of cheaper foreign labor. The mug was made by the A.H. Heisey Co. of Newark, Ohio. Originally, it had a cover, but today the covers are very rare. Your open mug is worth about $35.

Q. I just found a box of my childhood treasures from the 1950s. In the box are some cards that picture a dog and an ad for Quaker Oats. Can you tell me about the set of cards and their value?

A. Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and his dog Yukon King were characters on a radio show that started in 1947. A set of cards first was offered in boxes of cereal in 1949, and other sets followed in 1950. They were reissued in 1956.

The cards retail for about $5 each in excellent condition. The best-known Sergeant Preston collectible is the 1955 deed for a square inch of land in the Yukon. There were many other premiums that you might find in your treasure box. There are also Sergeant Preston rings, pedometers, games, flashlights and coloring books.

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

because of local economic conditions.

* Ladies' brown leather, high-top lace shoes, round cap toe: $28.

* Orphan Annie Beetleware mug, domed top: $43.

* Ceramic Arts Studio wall plaque, Zorina: $65.

* Currier & Ives print, Roses of May: $119.

* Leather buggy whip, brass-banded handle, 5'1": $125.

* Two-gallon stoneware crock by Haxstun & Co., bird on branch design: $330.

* Sterling center bowl by Dominick and Haff, flared and scalloped rim, 12" diameter: $445.

Send questions about antiques to the Kovels, Box 22900, Beechwood, Ohio 44122. If a photograph is enclosed, include a stamped (52 cents), self- addressed envelope for its return.

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