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Antiques Considered - September 29, 2010

altA couple bought this set of 12 English dinner plates three years ago at an estate sale.  They paid $120 for the set, or $10 apiece.  All are perfect, and the decoration is neither faded nor worn.  They bear no identifying marks. The couple would like to know if the plates were worth the money, and who made them.
The answer is definitely yes.   These are excellent quality Staffordshire, dating from the mid-19th century.  The decoration is similar to Gaudy Welsh or Gaudy Dutch, with brilliant colors of rust, indigo, cobalt and green.  Plates of this quality and number are few and far between on the market.  To have so many in perfect condition is even more remarkable.

All forms of Staffordshire have exploded in popularity over the last thirty years, becoming among the most sought items in the antiques marketplace.  Portrait busts, figurines, castles and cottages, and tablewares such as these plates sell well, and only increase in value.

Attribution of this set is a more difficult matter.  The quality indicates that the factory was one of the more sophisticated ones, but ascribing the plates to any particular maker is beyond the realm of possibility.  
As to value, individually they would be worth a minimum of $50 each, and as a set of 12, far more than the aggregate of the individuals, which would be $600.  This set, comprising 12 pieces in such good condition, is worth $1,000.  The investment of the $120 in the present hard times was a far better way to husband resources than those most banks have adopted.  
As I have mentioned many times in the past, these plates are both serviceable and decorative, but they never must be put in a dishwasher or a microwave oven.  I doubt they contain lead in the glaze, and consequently could be used for special occasions, and enjoyed visually the rest of the time.
Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P.O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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