Often when I write about a subject in my monthly antique column in What’s Up? magazines and also published on the website www.WhatsUpMag.com, I receive inquiries from readers seeking to sell an items I’ve just written about.
Such is the case with the following email:
I have a very old dog nutcracker. It must be at least 200 years old.
It has printed on it “Old Dog Tray”.
I can’t tell the artist because it appears to have several coats of paint on it.
It looks exactly like the picture in your article in Annapolis “What’s up” for July/August.
Do you know of anyone (dealer) who I could take this to in order to learn the value?
Severna Park, Maryland
The nutcracker you refer to is a handsome example, but it is approximately 120 years old, not 200 years old. Your nutcracker was made by pouring the molten iron into a mold. This is a nutcracker that is a product manufactured in an early factory setting at the start of the industrial revolution, placing it in the late nineteenth century. Earlier hand lever nutcrackers were crafted entirely by hand. Some were made as early as the 1300s and 1400s.
A little cruising on the internet yielded quick results. I found a similar dog nutcracker being offered by a dealer for $325. They dated their piece as being circa 1900.
If deciding to sell your lovely heirloom, expect to receive approximately half of the retail value when selling to a dealer to allow for their profit margin.
Generally fair market value is midway between wholesale and retail price.
For more information about antique nutcrackers, a great website is http://www.nutcrackermuseum.com/about.htm