Life-size Black Americana calling-card holder
  • A dashboard clock radio to hang on your wall
  • Reader asks if Coke bottle is the real thing
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    Auction Finds

    Readers ask about Black Americana card-holder, dashboard clock & Coke bottle

    Friday at Auction Finds is readers’ questions day. I try to guide readers to resources to help them determine the value of their items. I’m not able to appraise their treasures, but I can do some preliminary research to get them started. So, these are market values based on prices I find on the web, not appraisal for insurance purposes that I suggest for items that have been determined to be of great value.

    Today’s questions are about a Black Americana card-holder, a dashboard clock and how to collect Coke bottles.



    Found one in excellent condition. Black boy, red coat, white pants, red stripes. What would an estimated value be?


    The reader apparently found a Black Americana calling-card holder similar to one I had seen at auction and wrote about earlier this year. It was a wooden statue of a man – or a boy – with one raised hand to hold calling cards. There was no date or manufacturer’s name on the statue, but the clothing seemed to put it in the very early 20th century. The use of calling cards began as a late 19th-century Victorian-era practice, but some folks were still engaged in it during the early 20th century.

    The reader didn’t send me a photo of his statue, so I wasn’t able to see how similar they were.


    As for the value, when I researched the auction statue on the web, I did not find another like it, and in checking again, still nothing. The first time, I did find a small Black Americana business card holder that sold at an auction for $140. A 1940s tabletop Lucite card holder depicting Josephine Baker in her banana skirt had an asking price of $350. Values on items are usually assessed based on what similar items have sold for. Since I could not find another item like this one, placing a value is a bit more difficult.

    I would recommend that the reader seek a ball-park appraisal from a reputable auction house near him through Find one that has an expert on Black Americana. The reader should also check out reputable antique shops in his area for guidance.

    dashboard clock radio

    A full view of the Dapy dashboard clock radio.


    My friend owns one, she bought it in a thrift shop. She was looking to try to see where it came from. Is it worth any big money?


    The “one” the reader is referring to is a dashboard clock radio, one of which I wrote about last year. It was a Dapy AM/FM dashboard clock radio, its face the image of a car’s dashboard, giving you the illusion of sitting in the driver’s seat. It was about the size of a 32-inch-flat-screen TV and mounted on a wall.

    The one at auction last year appeared to be from the 1950s. When I researched it, I could find no other radio like it. I did find a lovely Crosley radio from that period that was called the Dashboard, and those are very collectible.

    The Dapy dashboard clock radio sold at the auction for $150. So the value of the reader’s radio may be in that price range; but as usual, it all depends on who wants it and when. In 2007, a similar one sold for only 10 bucks.

    Coca Cola bottles

    An up-close look at “D-Patent Cokes” with the names of Macon, Albany and Savannah, GA.


    I just started collecting Coke bottles. I have searched some things but can’t find anything helpful. I have tried searching (to see) if it is a reproduction but can’t find anything. If anyone has any information I would love to hear or anything at all about collecting or also any websites to search.


    The reader had come across a blog post I wrote last year about how to spot a fake Coca Cola bottle. It’s surprising to hear that he can’t find any information about Coke bottles and how to collect them. Coke is one of the most collectible items out there – and there are probably more reproductions than real products – and a lot has been written about it.

    I’ve written several times about Coke bottles and other Coke collectibles, and I’m able to find a lot of information just by Googling. For this question, I Googled the words “collecting Coke bottles” and turned up tons of results. Googling “collecting Coke memorabilia” turned up just as many. One of those results was the company’s archivist who offered information on collecting Coke bottles, among other things. Also on that website is a guide on how to start a Coke bottle collection.

    Here’s another site that I’ve used in researching Coke bottles. It also lists some books to consult, along with links to other sites pertaining to Coke bottles.

    The reader didn’t send me a photo of the bottle that he alluded to in his email, so I can’t help with that research. I’d suggest Googling to try to find a similar one. There are a lot of reproductions out there so the reader will have to look closely at the characteristics of a real Coke bottle to be able to tell whether his is a fake.

    If the reader plans to seriously collect the bottles, he’ll basically have to educate himself. A good place to start is the Coke website. It’s chocked full of so much stuff that he’ll spend weeks in that one place.

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