Antiques: the tank truck is the precious cargo

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Q This truck was given to me in the 1950s when I was a kid. It is a “Minnitoys Imperial Esso” tanker manufactured by Otaco Limited, of Orillia, Ont. It is 69 cm long (27 inches) and 18 cm high (seven inches). I used to drive it like a cart when I was young. It has a few scratches and small dents, but it still has the original paint and decals.

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Rick, Brampton, Ont.

A Your great childhood gift was made by the Otaco company. During the 1950s and early 1960s they made a few other brands, including Supertest. The company was started in the 1940s starting with construction toys. The Otaco plant finally closed in the early 1960s. These large toy trucks are made of sturdy stamped steel – irresistible to children and hard to find in good condition today. This truck is a big part of the current auto-related collection frenzy. In its lightly used condition, it’s worth around $1,000 – new it would be more.

Silver cow creamer.
Silver cow creamer. Photo by Fourni

Q This silver cow creamer, owned by my mother, was brought from England around 1950 as a gift from her mother. According to family tradition, he could have originated in France several years earlier. It is about 10 cm long from nose to tail (four inches). He also has punches on his stomach.

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Jeanette, Milton, Ont.

A These silver cow creamers are valuable and quite rare. The punches are however apocryphal, that is to say invented. They do not match any registered hallmarks from any country, leading to looking at pseudo-hallmarks from Hanau, Germany. The silver content can range from 80% to 92.5% pure sterling silver. It’s a pretty piece with the fly resting on the back of the cow. It was made around the turn of the century. The idea for this type of silver cow creamer was introduced to England in the mid-1700s by Dutch silversmith Johann Schuppe. Your little guy is worth $1,000.

Pilot painting.
Pilot painting. Photo by Fourni

Q This oil painting by Robert Pilot of the Royal Military College at Fort Frontenac in Kingston was given to me by my father, who was a friend of the artist. It is in excellent condition, measures 30 by 41 cm (12 by 16 inches) and is signed and dated 1953.

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Michele, Albion, Calif.

A Robert Pilot (1898-1967) was a prominent Canadian artist who was born in St. John’s Newfoundland, but spent much of his life in Quebec. Pilot was trained by his stepfather, the famous Canadian artist Maurice Cullen, and also spent time in Paris, France, where he was influenced by the work of Claude Monet, the famous French impressionist painter. Pilot is recognized as a master in the use of pastels. Pilot had a passion for painting significant historical buildings and his best work includes atmospheric elements, such as fog, snow or the subtle colors of dusk. Paints that include these elements tend to command the most money. This painting is nice, but it’s not particularly dramatic or atmospheric. Still, his work is highly sought after and is expected to be worth $6,500.

John Sewell is an appraiser of antiques and works of art. To submit an article to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at www.johnsewellantiques.ca. Please measure your part, say when and how you got it, what you paid for, and list all identifying marks. A high resolution jpeg photo must also be included. (Only email submissions are accepted.)

* Appraisal values ​​are estimates only.*

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