Opinion Columns & Blogs

Terry Kovel: Tall, narrow prints popular in 1900

"Yard-long prints" can sometimes be a yard wide, but those who collect these 36-inch-by-8-inch prints prefer the term "yard-long" or the original 19th-century name, "yard picture." Just before 1900, lithography companies began making these skinny pictures as premiums they gave away for wrappers and 2 cents postage. The first were titled "Yard of Puppies," or "Yard of Roses," and pictured a grouping of dogs or flowers on a 36-inch-wide and 8-inch-high print. Later, beautiful women standing in long dresses were pictured on a piece of paper 36 inches long. Many included advertisements for companies or small calendar pads at the bottom. Mandeville & King Seeds, Diamond Crystal Salt Co., Selz Good Shoes and Pabst all gave out yard-longs. Subjects run from flowers to children's heads to months of the year, but most seem to picture women. Most yard-long prints date from before 1920, although reproductions have been made. Value is determined by rarity and condition. A collector wants a print that has not been trimmed, the original metal band at the bottom and the calendar pad, if there was one.

Q: I am trying to identify the manufacturer of an armoire that was left to me. The only mark on it is a triangle with "C.F. Co." in the center and the words "Continental Superior Quality" on the three sides. Can you help?

A: Your armoire was made by the Continental Furniture Co. of High Point, N.C. During the 1920s, North Carolina companies led the country in the production of bedroom furniture. Continental was founded in 1901 and made Colonial Revival bedroom furniture during the 1920s and '30s. The company leased exhibit space at the American Furniture Mart, which opened in Chicago in 1924, and sold furniture to hotels, too.

Q: I saw your column about the soap box that held the valuable Paladin trading cards. I was in my teens in the 1950s, my mom used Rinso Blue and I saved 15 of the cards. Now I am 66, and when cleaning out junk about two months ago, I dropped the cards in a Salvation Army bag with other things I donated. My question: How much were these worth if I had sold them? Make me feel terrible and tell me the value.

A: Don't feel badly. You did a good deed giving collectibles to a charity. The Paladin cards sell for about $5 to $20 each, depending on the subject. We are sure some collector is thrilled to have your cards. We just hope the Salvation Army store has someone on its staff who understands the value of old trading cards.

Q: Can you tell me anything about Marshall Pottery out of Texas? Is the pottery collectible?

A: Marshall Pottery was founded by W.F. Rocker in Marshall, Texas, in 1895. In the early days, the company made crocks, canning jars and syrup jugs. Marshall began making flower pots in the 1940s and claims to be the largest manufacturer of red clay pots in the United States today. Most vintage Marshall Pottery pieces sell for $25 to $300.