Q. I have a set of Gorham sterling flatware service for 12. I believe the pattern is called “Chantilly”. It was purchased in the late 1930’s. What is it worth today?
A. Gorham Silver’s “Chantilly” pattern was designed by William Codman and first made in 1895, continuing in production until 1950. “Chantilly” is reportedly the most popular sterling silverware pattern of the Twentieth Century. The Gorham Silver Company is gone but its patterns are still being produced by Lifetime Brands who also own the Wallace and Towle Silversmiths names. Gorham stainless steel flatware is still manufactured by Lenox Brands. Because of its popularity there is a lot of it on the market. The current value of a set of your vintage in good condition (also depending on serving pieces and overall weight) sells in the $1500 range. New sterling “Chantilly” flatware sells in the $7000 price range.
Q. I have an old typewriter made by “L C Smith” can you tell me something about it and what it is worth?
A. The first Smith typewriter was produced in 1886 in Lyman C. Smith’s gun factory in Syracuse, New York. An employee created it while Smith and his brothers financed the prototype. The parts of the typewriter are startlingly similar to those of a shotgun and quick assembly of typewriters became logical and easy. The typewriter business was going so well that in 1888, the Smith brothers discontinued gun production and solely manufactured typewriters. Who created the first typewriter, and when, has been debated, but the Smith brothers did create the first machine to use both upper and lowercase letters. This unique feature utilized a double keyboard. Their ads boasted “a key for every character.” These typewriters were primarily used for office use and became the foundation for a work force which created positions such as typists, stenographers, and other clerical workers.
As time passed, there was stiff competition between Smith and some of its competitors. One was Standard Typewriter which created the first portable typewriter called the “Corona” and was used primarily for personal use. The “Corona” became so popular; the company changed its name to Corona. L.C. Smith was still focused on business typewriters and in 1926 the two companies merged.
Your typewriter is circa 1931-1935. Your typewriter has the numbers 8 and 10 printed on the front. This was the #8 model with a 10” roller. These were designed to handle accounting forms.
Typewriters are not worth all that much. Remember until about thirty years ago, every office and home had one. The fact that this model was designed for a specific form size further diminishes its value. Condition always plays a role in value. The keys and rubber rollers need to be in good condition. Availability of the ribbons will turn possible buyers away as well. Unfortunately, a lot of the old typewriters are purchased for salvage – people cut off the glass topped keys to make (gasp!) jewelry. This one would sell for around $25.
Karen Waterman is an antique furniture and decorative arts appraiser in the East Bay area and will answer as many questions your own “hidden treasures” as possible. By sending a letter of email with a question, your give full permission for use in the column. Names, addresses or e-mail will not be published and photos will be returned if requested. Send e-mails (digital photos are encouraged) to [email protected] Send snail mail to East Bay Newspapers, Att. Karen Waterman, P.O.Box 90, Bristol, RI 02809.