Summer is over — we are welcoming cooler weather and looking to our favorite fall things – flea markets, football, sweaters and apples. Collectors of apple-related antiques and collectibles have lots of things to choose from. Have “an apple a day” with 7 of our favorites:
1. Apple peeler. This “Bonanza” cast iron apple peeler and corer, 15 by 23 inches, was made by the Goodell Co. of Antrim, N.H. The green paint is original and it’s still in excellent working condition. It sold for $325 at an Iowa auction. (Photo courtesy of Rich Penn Auctions.)
2. Apple butter kettle. This large 19th-century copper kettle has dovetailed construction, an iron swing handle and sits on an iron stand. Apple butter was always cooked in a copper pan. The kettle was sold at an Ohio auction for $510. (Photo courtesy of Cowan’s.)
3. Apple cookie jar. There had to be an apple-shaped cookie jar and this vintage ceramic example was made by California Originals. It sold for $17 at an Indiana auction. (photo courtesy of AAA Auction Service.)
4. Apple bank. This cast iron bank is shaped like an apple on a branch with a lustrous patina. It even has a little worm on top. It was made by the Kyser & Rex Co. that worked near Philadelphia from 1879 into the 1880s. The bank measures just 5 1/2 inches. It sold for $1,408 at a New Jersey auction. (Photo courtesy of RSL Auctions.)
5. Apple pickers figurine. This 19th-century porcelain group was made in Germany by the Meissen factory. It is 11 1/2 inches high and is for sale for $2,000 in an online shop.
6. Apple tea caddy. This 18th-century apple-shaped tea caddy is made of wood with a metal insert. The shield-shaped escutcheon is ivory, and it has its key. It’s petite – 4 1/2 inches high – and sold at a New Jersey auction for $158. (Photo courtesy of Time & Again Auction Gallery.)
7. Advertising label. This label was made to be glued to a crate of Uncle Sam Brand Yakima Valley (Washington) apples. It is in excellent condition as unused stock from the Wapato Fruit & Cold Storage Co. in Wapato, Wash. Sold for $5 at a sale in Massachusetts. Suitable for framing!
And don’t forget “antique” or heirloom apples themselves!
Many orchards and farmers’ markets now showcase “antique” or long-forgotten apple varieties which have been passed down through generations of growers. The widespread use of refrigerated box cars in the 1940s allowed “transportation hardy” apples to be shipped greater distances. This led to fewer varieties in supermarkets. But today, some growers are trying to rediscover and preserve "antique" apple varieties as consumers take greater interest in how and where food is grown. Some have unusual flavors, textures and aromas and some have interesting stories as well. There are hundreds of "antique" varieties but here are a few:
The Gravenstein was brought from Germany in 1790, though it originated in Italy in the 1600s. It is one the first varieties to ripen in the apple season. Apples are irregularly shaped with broad red stripes and a sweet-tart flavor.
The Duchess de Oldenburg originated in Russia in the 1700s and was brought to the U.S. from England in 1835. It’s a cold-hardy variety, naturally resistant to many diseases, reducing the need for pesticides. It’s good for pies or sauces.
The Calville Blanc d’Hiver dates back to France in the late 1500s. It has connections to King Louis XIII, was also grown on the Monticello estate of Thomas Jefferson in the 1700s, and is pictured in a Monet painting. It is considered the perfect French dessert apple.
The Knobbed Russet, introduced in Sussex, England and was introduced in 1819, is known as the ugliest apple in the world. It’s sugary and crisp and it supposedly makes good hard cider.
The Cox Orange Pippin is a classic English apple originating about 1830. It’s good for eating, juicing and in pies.