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Admiral Fitzroy didn’t invent the barometer he’s named for |

Admiral Fitzroy didn’t invent the barometer he’s named for

Admiral Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865) is best known to collectors for a barometer he did not invent.

But historians know about his accomplishments in the Navy, politics and predicting the weather. He joined the Navy at the age of 12, was captain of the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his expeditions, was elected to Parliament in 1841, became governor of New Zealand in 1843, and later began to study meteorology and the weather.

He published an important book about weather, made sure there was a barometer in every port, and made charts that predicted the weather for sailors as the first “weather forecaster,” a name he made up. He improved the design of barometers, but didn’t invent the one now named for him. This “Admiral Fitzroy Clock and Barometer” made in about 1900 sold at a Cowan auction last year for $270.

Q: I’ve owned Imperial Candlewick glassware for almost 70 years. It’s been a prized possession in many locations where we made our home as foreign missionaries. It’s survived through much use by our family of five children and was used frequently for special events. Now I find it necessary to sell my collection of many pieces. What advice can you give me?

A: Collections of glassware and dinnerware are hard to sell. Candlewick glass sells online on sites like, and Shops that sell Candlewick may be interested in buying your pieces. You also can contact the National Imperial Glass Collectors’ Society ( If you decide to sell your glass online or send it to an online shop, you will have to pack it up securely, insure it and send it to them. It’s easier to try to sell it locally at a consignment shop, flea market or antiques shop. You also might consider donating it to a charity. Determine its value by checking Candlewick glass that has sold on some of the online sites, and then take the tax deduction.

Q: I found a snow leopard skin in an antique suitcase in my father’s attic today. The skin probably is around 100 years old, but is in perfect condition. What should I do with it? What is it worth? Who would want it — a museum or a Russian supermodel?

A: It’s too old for the Russian supermodel, but it could sell at an auction. Snow leopard skin rugs sold at auction for $550 to $1,100 plus buyer’s premium a couple of years ago. If the skin has dried and is cracking, it will be much less valuable.

Q: I know you should not use boiled linseed oil to polish your wooden furniture, even though that was recommended in my mother’s day. It gets hard and crystallizes, and it’s hard to remove. But what oil should I use?

A: Some experts say that you shouldn’t use any type of oil on finished wood — not even lemon, linseed, tung or oil-based polishes. They often do nothing, because you can’t “feed” wood. But the oil can attract dust and create a sticky surface, or worse. A finished piece of furniture should be given a light coat of paste wax about once a year. Rub the wax until there is a shine and no waxy feel. Then, just dust the surface regularly.

Q: I have a Puss ‘n Boots creamer, which I have had for over 60 years. My cat does not have whiskers. Every other one I have seen has whiskers. Any idea why mine would not have them?

A: Shawnee made Puss ‘n Boots creamers in several versions with different decorations, with and without whiskers. Some have decal decorations and gold trim. There also was an undecorated white Puss’n Boots creamer and a gold-colored creamer.

Tip: Use a credit card to scrape hardened candle wax from a table.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. Write to Kovels, The Daily Herald, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Shelf, display, grain-painted, hourglass elements, scalloped crest, wooden, 25 by 29 inches, $90.

Garniture, Bohemian glass, two urns, white overlay, cut to red, flowers, round box, circa 1875, 3 pieces, $155.

Door knocker, mask, grotesque, horned head, knocker ring in mouth, 14 by 8 inches, $190.

Sewing, spool holder, brass, alternating soldier, woman, children, pedestal, fitted slots, wooden, 12 3/4 inches, $240.

Alligator sprinkler, heart-shaped sprayer, 8 1/2 inches, $330.

Weathervane, steam tractor, wagon, spoked wheels, sheet steel, 18 by 53 inches, $425.

Face jug, pottery, dark alkaline olive glaze, stone teeth, Lanier Meaders, 8 1/4 by 7 1/4 inches, $810.

Stereo card, Vance’s Daguerreotype Studio, San Francisco, E HT Anthony, $840.

Wall pocket, pink urn, scrolling prunus, white reserve, woman and child, in garden, 7 3/4 by 4 inches, $1,500.

American flag, 13 stars, arranged into six-pointed star, glazed cotton, 11 1/2 by 8 inches, $2,600.

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