Rinker On Collectibles: Questions and Answers

QUESTION: An uncle who fought in World War II brought back a ceramic boot stein as a souvenir (war booty). The stein measures 12in long and 16in high and weighs 12 pounds. When translated, the German text on one side reads: “This boot is the symbol of the night we made the march to Austria with our tanks. We were part of the Sudetenland campaign with this tank. As long as this stein is filled with beer, we stay healthy and think on that historical hour. Therefore, he who uses it must be careful not to break it into pieces.” On the opposite side is a list of towns that I assume were part of the campaign beneath which is information on the Panzer unit. Any thoughts on value and how to market it? – CR, Toronto, OH, E-Mail Question

ANSWER: My thanks for the two pictures that accompanied your e-mail. You are correct in assuming that Linz, Wein, Atzgersdorf, Liesing, Laxenburg, and Nödersdorf are towns. Ranzern, Dietreichs, Motten, and Retiber are the members of the tank crew. “2 Komp. Panzer Reg. 23” is the Second Company of the 23rd Panzer (Tank) Regiment.

Germany annexed Austria, known as the Austrian Anschluss, on March 12, 1938. The
addition of Austria to the Third Reich without military opposition from other European powers fueled Adolph Hitler’s Lebensraum ambitions. In late summer 1938, Hitler ordered his Generals to prepare a plan for military invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Sudetenland quickly became a bargaining chip in the attempt to preserve peace in Europe.

The Sudetenland, a “C” ring of mountains on the northern, western, and southern border of Czechoslovakia contained three million Germans (23 percent of the population of Czechoslovakia), chemical, china, glass, and textile factories, and a heavily fortified defense line on the Czech-German border. Czechoslovakia acquired the region through the treaty of St. Germain following World War I.

Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister who believed that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair to Germany and that if its wrongs were corrected, Germany would re-enter the League of Nations, flew to Berchtesgaden on September 15, 1938 to meet with Hitler. Several visits followed culminating in the September 30, 1938, Munich Agreement allowing the German Army to occupy the Sudetenland beginning October 1, 1938, ironically the invasion date of Czechoslovakia that Hitler proposed. Chamberlain’s famous “peace in our times” proved short-lived.

I called Harry Jr., my son and World War II military re-enactor, for help. Steins similar to the one you own are common, not unique. They are marked with an incised maker’s mark on the sole or the heel. Background colors range from white to brownish-tan to black. The weight of your stein is the result of its solid base, albeit a few period steins do have hollow bases.

Harry, Jr. warned to beware of reproductions. Reproductions are much lighter in weight, have hollow bases, and no manufacturer’s mark. Provenance (ownership trail) is a key element in determining authenticity.

Your stein has two secondary market resale values: $450.00 to $550.00 to a stein collector; $550.00 to $600.00 to a World War II German panzer collector.

EBay restricts the sale of National Socialist (Nazi) items but does permit the sale of some World War II memorabilia. If you choose to use this venue, check first before listing the stein.

Military Trader (700 East State Street, Iola, WI 54990; (800) 258-0929; militarytrader.com) contains advertisements from auction firms specializing in the sale of military memorabilia. Look for auctions that issue a presale catalog and that accept Internet bids through services such as ebayliveauctions.com or proxibid.com. Consider placing a small display advertisement in Military Trader to sell direct.

You will find plenty of buyers for your stein at a gun show or World War II military re-enactment. Dealers will not pay retail; re-enactors expect to buy at discount from a private seller. Ask 50% of retail from a dealer, and 70% to 75% from a private collector.

QUESTION: I have a copy of the famous Beatles Let It Be album. While I have had this album for years, I just now noticed something peculiar about it. It has the same (Side 2) label pasted on both sides of the record. The music tracks are different on each side; hence, the album contains all the songs listed on the album jacket. Due to the mass-production process involved in making record albums, I cannot image that only one or even a few of these “mistakes” were manufactured and sold. Have you heard of this glitch before? Does the album have extra value because of this error? – JG, Slatington, PA, E-mail Question

ANSWER: When I read your e-mail, my immediate conclusion was that this is a very common mistake and adds no additional value to your album. Given this, I put your e-mail in the do-not-answer pile. Some questions continue to haunt me once I make this decision. Your question was one.

While I was certain I was correct, I decided to consult with Tim Neely, author of Goldmine Record Album Price Guide, 4th Edition (KP Books, an imprint of F+W Publications, 2005). Tim replied: “You are correct. This kind of error, though not common, is almost never a cause for an album to increase in value. More often, the opposite is the case. Because collectors are looking for copies that are as close to perfect as possible, this kind of error can actually ‘reduce’ the value of the LP. If this were coins and stamps, the opposite would be the case. But in record collecting, there is no real market for this kind of error pressing.”

Neeley values an Apple Let It Be album in near mint condition at $25.00. Condition is critical because of the tremendous number of Beatles albums sold. If a Beatles album has a scuffed cover, collectors will avoid it. The survival rate of examples in near mint condition is sufficient to meet collector demands.

QUESTION: I have a small Ultraman lighter I bought about ten years ago at a toy convention. The packaging is in Japanese. My wife and I were thinking of selling it on an Internet auction website, but we have no idea how much it may be worth. Can you provide any advice or guidance? – LR, Brandon, FL, E-mail Question

ANSWER: Eiji Tsuburaya created Ultraman for Tsuburaya Productions, a Japanese studio specializing in special effects television known as tokusatsu. The first Ultraman series premiered on the Tokyo Broadcasting System on July 17, 1966. The thirty-nine episode series ended on April 9, 1967.

The show is set in the mid-1990s. When Shin Hayata, a member of the Science Patrol, crashes into a red sphere of light (which is the TravelSphere for Ultraman), he merges with Ultraman. Hayata retains his human shape on earth until danger threatens, at which time he flips the switch on his Beta Capsule and transforms into Ultraman.

Ultraman possesses over two dozen super powers among which are a Specium Ray (a particle/light-ray capable of killing opponents), Ultra Slash (an energy ring that slices opponents in half), electric immunity, Ultra Attack Beam (a beam that paralyzes opponents), High Spin (sending shock waves that can explode objects at a distance), and teleportation. His role is to fight monsters who threaten earth. Ultraman is assisted by members of the Science Patrol and other Ultra Warriors, his kinsmen. Ultraman and his Warriors are handicapped in their efforts to save earth because they only can appear on earth in giant form for a limited amount of time, usually no longer than three minutes.

Close to twenty television series, two dozen movies, television specials, and videos followed the initial series. Ultraman is distinguished from the Ultra Warriors by being referred to as “original” Ultraman, the “first” Ultraman, Ultraman Hayata, or simply Man.

The website, ultramantoys.com, is a source to learn about historic as well as new Ultraman toys. EBay has 700+ listings for Ultraman items each week.

Several Ultraman lighters appear for sale on eBay each month. Most sell for under $10.00, albeit most do not have the period packaging. Unless there is something unusual about your lighter and/or its packaging, its secondary resale market value is between $15.00 and $20.00. Maybe you should think about keeping it, perhaps even using it.

QUESTION: Years ago I acquired a new and unused Buckeye egg incubator from the attic of a friend’s old farm house. Everything is period including the instruction manual and oil lamp settings to obtain the proper water tables temperature. The metal emblem states it was made in Springfield, OH. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated as I have had quite a few people who have seen it interested in purchasing it. – DC, Salem, OH, E-mail Question.

ANSWER: I would like to help you, but you did not provide enough information, an all too common problem with many “Rinker on Collectibles” letters and e-mails.

Buckeye Incubator made dozens of different model incubators. The instruction manual will list the model number and probably contain several illustrations. There may even be a copyright date, either for the manual and/or for the incubator. If the model number, date, size and/or several pictures, either catalog pages or several digital images, had been attached to your e-mail, I could search for an exact match or comparable.

The website for The Ohio State University Extension, clark.osu.edu/ag/facts.htm, notes: “In 1928 the report by the Springfield City Manager stated that Springfield ranked first among cities of the world in ten manufactured items. TWO of those were: Incubators and Brooders and Commercial Thermometers. Buckeye Incubator and Ohio Thermometer were huge – thermometers were used in the chicken equipment – incubators and brooders.”

When sending or e-mailing a question to “Rinker on Collectibles,” make certain to provide as much information as possible. This will ensure your inquiry lands in the answer rather than the do-not-answer pile. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding.

Harry L. Rinker welcomes questions from readers about collectibles, those mass-produced items from the twentieth century. Selected letters will be answered in this column. Harry cannot provide personal answers. Photos and other material submitted cannot be returned. Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5093 Vera Cruz Road, Emmaus, PA 18049. You also can e-mail your questions to harrylrinker@aol.com. Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered.

You can listen and participate in WHATCHA GOT?, Harry’s antiques and collectibles radio call-in show, on Sunday mornings between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM Eastern Time. If you cannot find it on a station in your area, WHATCHA GOT? streams live on the Internet at www.goldenbroadcasters.com.

SELL, KEEP OR TOSS?: HOW TO DOWNSIZE A HOME, SETTLE AN ESTATE, AND APPRAISE PERSONAL PROPERTY (House of Collectibles, an imprint of Random House Information Group, $16.95), Harry’s latest book, is available at your favorite bookstore and via www.harryrinker.com. Copyright Harry Rinker Enterprises, Inc. 2008

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