Butterflies and Bees:
Q: I have an E.T. wristwatch. What is it worth? — Carl, Salt Lake City, Utah
A: Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” opened in theaters in 1982, the same year your watch was made by Nelsonic. Occasionally this watch pops up in shops and at antique malls and is generally priced in the $25 to $100 range. The higher end price is for the watch in its original box and in mint to near-mint condition.
Q: I have a partial set of Harlequin dinnerware, and I wonder what you can tell me about this pattern. — Mark, Norman, Oklahoma
A: Harlequin dinnerware was produced by Homer Laughlin China Company of Newell, West Virginia, starting in 1938. The pattern was marketed exclusively by the Woolworth five-and-dime stores and was extremely popular. A special set was issued to celebrate Woolworth’s 100th anniversary in 1979. Changes were made so the newer pieces could be more easily distinguished from the earlier ones.
Q: I have an old sewing machine that has been in my family for at least a century. It is a “Household” machine. What can you tell me about it? — Sally, Portsmouth, Virginia
A: The company began as the Providence Tool Company in Providence, Rhode Island. Even in the beginning, the main business was the manufacturing of sewing machines. The company name was changed to Household Sewing Machine in 1890 and continued until about 1906.
Q: I have a porcelain doll that has been in my family since about 1910. The doll needs some repair work. Can you suggest someone who can do this for me? — Katie, Walnut Grove, Arkansas
A: Dolls & Designs is a business that specializes in dolls repair. Contact is 122 Main St. West, Valdese, NC 2869; www.dollsanddesigns.webs.com; and 828-893-0640.
Q: I was given a trinket box by Hummel for my birthday several years ago. It is “Umbrella Boy.” Is it worth keeping? — Betty, San Diego, CA
A: According to “The Official M.J. Hummel Price Guide” by Heidi Ann Von Recklinghausen and published by Krause Books, your trinket box is worth about $35.
Write to Larry Cox in care of KFWS, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the large volume of mail he receives, Mr. Cox cannot personally answer all reader questions, nor does he do appraisals. Do not send any materials requiring return mail.
© 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.
Top 5 Home Upgrades
Q: What upgrades to our house will pay off the most in the long run? — Karl V., Melrose, Massachusetts
A: Many people think that remodeling the kitchen is an expense they can fully recoup (in terms of home value or resale value), but that is not necessarily the case. According to Remodeling Magazine, which puts out a Cost vs. Value chart each year on home remodeling, a major kitchen remodel averaging $56,768 will recoup 67.8 percent of that cost, or just $38,485.
However, a number of indoor and outdoor projects will increase the value of your home. Here are five projects on the midrange cost scale that will provide the biggest return for your remodeling investment:
1. Entry door: Replacing your entry door with a steel door will recoup 101.8 percent of the cost. (Replacing it with a fiberglass door will return 72 percent.)
2. Veneer: Replacing the bottom third of your home’s exterior siding with manufactured stone veneer will recoup 92.2 percent of the cost.
3. Garage door: Replacing your garage door will recoup 88.4 percent of the cost.
4. Siding replacement: Adding vinyl siding to your home’s exterior will recoup 80.7 percent of the cost.
5. Wooden deck: Adding or expanding a wooden deck will recoup 80.5 percent of the cost.
Other projects that have a higher chance of recouping their cost include a minor (below $20,000) kitchen remodel (79.3 percent), wood window replacement (78.8 percent) or converting part of your attic to a bedroom (77.2 percent). Remodeling your bathroom will recoup 70 percent of its cost.
So, when putting together a remodeling project list, take their lasting value into account. You may decide to downscale that ambitious kitchen or bathroom remodel and shift some of the budget to your home’s exterior elements.
TIP: Wood or vinyl windows? Carefully consider the merits of both before deciding on replacement windows. For example, wood windows are aesthetically pleasing, but vinyl windows require almost no maintenance.
NOTE: This is my final print column for This Is A Hammer. It’s been a great, 14-year run with King Features Weekly Service. But it’s not going away completely: You can find archived columns, great home tips and more at thisisahammer.com. And as always, you can continue to send your questions or home tips to email@example.com.
(c) 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.