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If your questions aren’t answered here, please contact us at Dad’s Follies. We’re happy to help!
There are exceptions, but in general a chocolate mold is made of thin stamped steel, is light for its size, has clips that hold the two pieces together to make the mold and is open to the bottom. The mold you see is virtually the same as the chocolate it would make. In general, an ice cream mold is made by pouring molten pewter into a hollow cavity (like you would make a tin soldier), is heavy for its size, is hinged to keep the two parts together and is closed to the bottom. The mold you see lacks the detail found on the inside and looks nothing like the ice cream it would make–it’s like opening a present!
The best method we have found is to clean your chocolate mold using very fine steel wool (XXXX, or “four X”) and mineral oil (which can be found at any drug store). Soak the steel wool in mineral oil and then rub the mold using a small circular motion—very gently to preserve the remainder of the tin or nickel finish it originally had. You may have to repeat this process several times. If the layer of rust is heavy or there is dirt and grime as well, soak the mold with mineral oil overnight first. Be warned—this is a very messy procedure! After you’ve cleaned the entire mold wipe it with a soft cloth leaving a film of the oil on the mold to protect it from further rusting.
A few molds between 1900 and 1980 were dated; without a date it is extremely difficult to tell exactly how old any chocolate mold is. The material that was used to manufacturer your chocolate mold is the best indicator of age of your mold. Before WWII chocolate molds were generally made from stamped sheet steel that was then tinned by a tinsmith. After WWII the sheet steel was electroplated with nickel at the steel mill and the stamped mold was then sold. Tin in excellent condition has a soft, deep shine, nickel in excellent condition will have a hard, sharp shine (see picture below). If the tin has partially or completely worn off, the base steel will have a dark patina where the tin is gone; this generally does not affect the value of the mold. Nickel is extremely durable and generally does not wear off like tin.
We sometimes do appraisals to determine the value of a collection for insurance purposes, but we must see the collection to determine the true value of each mold. Some of the variables we use to make a value determination are: subject of the mold, when it was made, original manufacturing craftsmanship, manufacturer’s marks, present condition (existing wear, damage, rust, and perforations) and dirt and grime. Therefore, we can’t assign a value that is meaningful without actually seeing your chocolate mold. We can sometimes get a “ballpark value” with pictures (the better the pictures, the more “value variables” we can eliminate). Lastly, the question “what should I sell this mold for” is a very different question than “what would it cost someone to buy this mold from Dad’s Follies.” Dad’s Follies sets the selling price of our Premium Chocolate Molds based on the price we have to pay for it plus the cost to us to clean it to the state required to be a Premium Chocolate Mold. At the end of the day, your chocolate mold is worth exactly what the next person is willing to pay.
Good questions. Unfortunately, the answers depend on who you ask.
We don’t speak German. Also, we have never sought out the correct pronunciation of the German mold makers, so frankly, we don’t know. Reiche’s great granddaughter, before she passed, told us it’s pronounced RIE-sheh; other Germans have told us that is correct or that RIE-keh is actually correct. Apparently the “e” on the end makes a bigger difference than our American ears can detect. We try to use his great granddaughter’s pronunciation out of respect.
Rieche is generally pronounced RIE-key, and that’s the pronunciation we use.
The definition of “antique” is equally contested. According to the US Customs, an antique must be at least 100 years old. Some Europeans use the term to define something from ancient Greece or Rome. Auto enthusiasts generally use the term to mean 25 years or older. Merriam-Webster says “belonging to an earlier period, style, or fashion : old and often valuable.” That’s not useful, but explains the controversy. The first metal chocolate molds appeared in Paris in the 1830’s; we generally consider metal chocolate molds as antiques, but some disagree as the last ones were produced in the 1970’s. The first plastic molds appeared in the 1950’s and are still made today. We don’t consider them antiques but, since the term “antique” means different things to different people, we understand that other will disagree.
Hope that helps.