Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Is It? What's It Worth?

Written by Helaine Fendelman

Q My flask is marked on its cap with sterling, B & F, an anchor, a lion, and a small b in a square. Is it valuable?

—S.F., Feeding Hills, MassachusettesWhat it is: CUT-GLASS PERFUME BOTTLE

A What you have is a lay-down perfume bottle, not a flask. Amethyst crystal was cut in a pattern to reveal clear glass beneath. Both the bottle and its domed sterling cap are in perfect condition. Perfume bottles, which came in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, were luxury items produced by fine craftsmen: Women would bring their bottles to the store to have them filled with their favorite fragrance. The lion and anchor markings indicate that the piece was made in Birmingham, England, while the small b in a square signifies that it was crafted in 1901. Silversmiths in the town stopped indicating the names of glass manufacturers in 1850, so there is no way to identify the maker, although the glass is both elegant and of high quality.

What it's worth: $400

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