Question: I own several sets of bookends purchased many years ago when a public library closed and its contents were sold at auction. I paid $6 for a pair of gilded cast-iron bookends offered for sale as a “Bradley & Hubbard” set that consists of a pair of three-dimensional lions, one male and one female. Each lion, 7 1/8 inches tall and 5 7/8 inches wide, appears to be walking out and away from its bookend. Information about the set, its maker and value, if any, will be helpful as I am moving soon and will be selling a number of my knick-knacks. — C.M., Longport
Answer: Your 10-pound architectural, walking cast-iron lions bookends set was made by Bradley and Hubbard. Initially a partnership owned by Nathaniel and William Bradley, Walter Hubbard and Orson and Chitten Hatch, the Meriden, Connecticut, company began as Bradley Hatch & Co. and made clocks there from 1852. Two years later, when the Hatch brothers sold their interest in the firm, it was renamed Bradley and Hubbard and later, Bradley Hubbard.
By the 1860s, the company was producing a wide choice of items including clocks, call bells, flags, hoop skirts, measuring tapes, match safes and oil-burning lamps, many covered with the firm’s unique bronze-gold finish.
In 1875, Bradley Hubbard’s name was changed to “The Bradley Hubbard Manufacturing Company.” The firm soon was renowned for its high-quality artistic goods marketed by traveling salesmen in New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Later, the business was purchased by the Charles Parker Company, and it was consumed by a fire in 1976.
Made from 1900 to 1940, the bronze gold metal Bradley and Hubbard set of “walking” lion and lioness bookends were always favorites. This year, a set like yours in excellent condition sold for $750.
Question: I have inherited a very interesting small, solid silver rectangular box sent to my late father during the early 1950s by his English buddy who served in England with Dad during WWII. Described by Bud as a “Genuine Antique Edwardian Era English Snuff Box With Hinged Lid,” the box is covered with many beautiful embossed scrolls and marked “Deakin & Francis Ltd., Regent Place, Birmingham 1895, United Kingdom.” If possible, I would like to know more about the snuff box and the use of snuff. — N.D., Mount Holly
Answer: The gift your father received is one of the many small, usually ornamented boxes made to hold snuff, a scented, powdered tobacco that was sniffed after being placed on a nostril by using a finger tip. Elegant gentlemen carried their snuff in bottles and in boxes like the one you have described.
Use of smokeless snuff tobacco began in Europe, America and China during the 17th century, and many of the utilitarian objects associated with it soon became objets d’art.
Thousands of snuff bottles were fashioned from precious metals and semi-precious stones, as well as glass, porcelain, pottery, wood and ivory. Some were further enhanced with delicate hand painting.
A Deakin & Francis Ltd. snuff box, like the one you described, was purchased for $117 several years ago.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist.
Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232.
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.