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Antiques Considered - March 10, 2010

    At a recent estate sale that our firm conducted, one of the customers came with several pieces of her china tea service, which she asked me to examine.  Although I saw only a few of the pieces it consists of five cups and saucers, five scone plates, a tray, and a set of a lidded sugar and creamer on their own tray.  The surfaces bear hand-painted decoration of birds and flowers.  She has since sent this photograph via e-mail with a description.
    Most importantly, the bottom hallmark bears the inscription that the pieces were made by  "Paragon Fine China to commemorate the Birth of the Princess Margaret Rose, Aug. 21, 1930.  England."  Princess Margaret (1930 – 2002) was the younger sister of the present Queen, the daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who were Duke and Duchess of York at the time of her birth.  She was a popular figure in Britain, and ironically died three days after the fiftieth anniversary of her father's death, and less than two months before her mother's.

    Significantly, when she was born her father as Duke of York was only second in line of succession to the throne, after his brother, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, who became the Duke of Windsor upon his abdication in 1936.  Until the abdication expectations were that the Prince of Wales would marry and have children, thus Princess Margaret upon her birth was fourth in line to the throne.
    English commemorative china is a genre unto itself, being quite high in demand in collectors' circles.  This set probably had a matching teapot, and I suggest checking to see if one could be found on the Internet.  It would enhance the overall value of the set if one could be added to it.   As presently constituted, the service is worth $250, and possibly more from a specialized collector.


    Happy Antiquing!

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