Ornate vanity mirror


Michelle Knows Antiques is a great way to find the value of your antiques. Submit your antique for appraisal on our easy to use form. Here is a recent appraisal from Michelle’s column in Discover Vintage America:

Q: I found a beautiful ornate vanity mirror at the thrift store. There is a swinging pedestal in back and some cherubs around the oval frame. It is marked JM10 on the back. I am wondering when this was created, how much it is worth and also how I might go about restoring it. The frame is nearly all black but there are pieces of gold coloring showing beneath. Also what can I use to remove rust spots from the mirror. It is completely flecked though you can’t tell from the picture. Thank you!

A: Your ornate iron mirror was made by Iron Arts Co. of Phillipsburg, NJ; it is style JM 10. The company began operation in 1955 and there is some debate on how long they stayed in operation. Some references say, 2003, others 1989 and still others 1960. The company was founded by John Zanarski and Melvin Friedman thus the JM or sometimes seen as J&M.

As for restoring it, if you want to take it back to the bare iron it would have to be sandblasted. Another option is to purchase spray paint in the color that you want it and spray paint it yourself. I have used the metallic gold a few times and love the results. If the flecks on the mirror will not come off by cleaning then they are defects in the silvering on the back. You can purchase kits at large home improvement stores to re-silver it yourself or you can have it professionally done.

As to value, $40-$50 is what you could expect to receive for your mirror.

note – All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawn shop prices are about ½ or less of resale value.

Written by Michelle Staley

Michelle Staley has over 35 years of experience as an antique collector, picker and dealer. She has done hundreds of insurance and IRS appraisals in addition to just satisfying another collector or dealer’s curiosity concerning what an item is, does or its worth. Other experience includes her work as a forensics consultant and in archeological identification and dating.

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