Antique Appraisals

What’s it Worth?: Is my Miriam Haskell necklace authentic?

Miriam Haskell moved to New York in her 20s and set up a jewelry boutique in Manhattan. It didn’t take her long to become quite successful with designs of stylish, affordable costume jewelry.
Miriam Haskell moved to New York in her 20s and set up a jewelry boutique in Manhattan. It didn’t take her long to become quite successful with designs of stylish, affordable costume jewelry.

In today’s What’s It Worth? we deal with reader items that are both made of metal but couldn’t be more dissimilar.

Q. I bought this necklace about 20 years ago at an antique store in Kansas. Based on research I’ve been able to do, it looks like an authentic Miriam Haskell design made sometime after 1975. Would you please help? I am really curious whether this is an authentic Miriam Haskell and what is its value — Wilma in Richland

A. We don’t have any reason to believe this is not a piece of authentic Miriam Haskell jewelry. The style looks right and there is are another defining factor that helps confirm our opinion.

Before we get to that, a few words about Haskell.

The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, she was born in 1899 in a small town just across the river from Louisville, Ken. After high school, she studied at Chicago University for three years. Moving to New York in her 20s, Haskell set up a jewelry boutique in Manhattan.

It didn’t take her long to become quite successful with designs of stylish, affordable costume jewelry. She not only had a shop on Fifth Avenue, there was a boutique at the famous Saks department store, as well.

Clients included the great theatrical impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who adorned his Follies chorus girls with Haskell jewelry. The Duchess of Windsor, Joan Crawford and Lucille Ball all wore Haskell designs.

So, costume jewelry by Haskell – especially early pieces from the ‘20s to ‘50s – is a very big deal and widely collected.

And it can be expensive. Many of Haskell’s earlier models command thousands of dollars. The world record was set by Skinner’s auctions in New York in 2010, when a 1950’s “Edwardian Revival” necklace sold for $13,000.

The clasp on Wilma’s necklace sports a little Haskell tag carrying a patent number. That dates it to a 10-year period starting in 1975. The number disappears from her jewelry by the mid ‘80s.

Today, conventional Haskell pieces of this vintage routinely sell in online auctions for $25 to $500. This is a fairly simple design for Miriam Haskell and we think a fair market price might be in the $100- to $200-range.

Q. This is a printer’s plate for an advertisement which would have appeared in the Butte, Mont., newspaper years ago. It is for the Dodge Brothers Touring Car, but no year seems to be given. Are those things collectible? — John in Kennewick

A. This is a relic of time long passed. Newspapers used to be produced with the use of a “linotype” machine to set the type and make up the pages. Both the process and the arcane descriptive words that went with it — chase, slug, tile and hellbox, for example — had passed from the scene by late ‘60s.

The newspaper page was once created by a hot lead process, with a machine that took over work previously done by hand.

This advertisement, pre-produced and designed so it could be used in just about any newspaper and for any Dodge auto dealer whose name was inserted, dates to about 1920. Created right at the end of World War I, it shows a Doughboy returning home, carrying his satchel and waving discharge papers.

Promoting the spiffy touring car models then being produced by the Dodge Brothers Co., the layout would cover about a quarter of a newspaper page.

Founded by two Michigan brothers in 1914, Dodge was the second leading maker of American automobiles by 1916, one step behind the Ford Model T in sales.

Dodge touring cars of that era were top-notch vehicles, featuring balloon tires, a three-speed transmission, four-cylinder engine and a 12-volt electrical system. They could be driven to a top speed of 33 mph.

Old newspaper advertising plates like this one are collected by a small group of enthusiasts. This example would have cross-over appeal to car buffs. Value is in the $25 range.

For readers truly familiar with this older printing process, yes, we have “flipped” the image for today’s What’s It Worth?

The metal plate itself is actually backwards and you need to hold it to a mirror to read the ad.

Terry K. Maurer, 15 year Senior Member of the Certified Appraisers Guild of America, is a personal property appraiser in the Tri-Cities. For possible use in a future column, direct questions on your antiques and collectibles to What's It Worth? by e-mail tchwhatsitworth@gmail.com

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