Q: I have a toy-size cast-iron stove found in an old farmhouse before it was torn down. Raised flowers and leaves decorate the sides of the stove. On the removable hearth-plate are the words "Cotton Plant, Abendroth Bros., N.Y." I also have accessories for the stove, including a frying pan, boiling pot, tray, trivet, and burner handle. The stove is 9 1/2 inches high, 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep. Was this a child's toy or a salesman's sample? What is it worth?
A: Wow! You have a wonderful toy stove manufactured about 1880 by a company that also made full-size stoves. Most toy stoves from that era were realistic copies of full-size stoves and were made with moving parts so children could imitate grownups cooking at their real stoves. Retailers displayed the toys in their store windows and often gave them to customers who bought full-size stoves. The flowering plants embossed on the stove may be cotton plants, which gave the stove its name. A Cotton Plant toy stove like yours auctioned for $2,200 in 2003-and that one did not have the accessories.