Q: My dad owned a funeral home in Cincinnati and liked collecting antiques. He left me his collection of paperweights made by Crane & Breed, a Cincinnati coffin manufacturer. The paperweights include an Egyptian sarcophagus, Scottie dog, alligator, camel, frog, turtle, bear, sailboat and ghost. I don’t want to sell them, but I’d like to know how old they are and what they’re worth.
A: Crane & Breed took over a Cincinnati coffin-manufacturing business in 1854 and stayed in business until 1973. The company held several patents on coffins and coffin parts and sold coffins to funeral homes in several states. Today collectors know about Crane & Breed mainly because of its collectible paperweights. From the late 1800s into the early 1900s, the company gave away promotional bronze novelty paperweights to funeral homes and their employees. Today the sarcophagus paperweight sells for close to $400, but most of the others are going for under $20.