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 online.
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 seven:
The Belle de Boskoop apple is originally from the Netherlands. It’s tart and a good cooking apple, especially recommended for apple strudel. Boskoops picked later in the fall are sweeter. The apple has greenish-orange skin with light russeting.
Maiden’s Blush is an American apple, originated in the late 1700s. They were grown for cooking, drying and cider at a time when apples were an important part of a winter food supply. They are squat and yellow with a red blush.
The Fameuse (famous) is originally from Quebec. Also called the Snow Apple, it was planted in the early 1600s and later, in New England. It’s crisp, good for eating fresh, and is similar to McIntosh for cooking. The skin is greenish with a red blush.
The Black Gilliflower apple dates from the early 1800s in New England. It’s used mostly as a cooking apple but some people like to eat it fresh. “Gilliflower” refers to a clove flavor and the “black” refers to the color the skin sometimes gets as it ripens. It’s also called Sheep’s Nose because of its tapered shape.
Esopus Spitzenburg is a variety of apple planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, said to be one of his favorites. Flavorful, and great for eating fresh. It was discovered in New York in the 1700s and has red-orange skin and a block-type shape.
The Reine des Reinettes or King of the Pippins is a French apple from the 1700s with a high sugar content and some acidity. It’s juicy, good for eating. It is also good for cooking and in Normandy, it is considered the best apple for making hard cider. It’s a large apple, red with russeting. (Pictured)
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.