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Antiques Considered - February 10, 2010

A collector from the Eastern Shore inherited these three whippet figurines from an English friend.  She referred to the two sitting ones as a pair, but actually they are two of a kind, in that both face in the same direction, and thus do not complement each other. She asks if they are Staffordshire. The bottoms are unglazed. The sitting two are 5 inches high and the recumbent one is 4 inches long.

These figurines are not Staffordshire, but rather are German, and date from the mid third of the 19th century, a time when the countries of Europe were vying with each other for porcelain and pottery supremacy. National pride played a role even in the making of pottery.
 When one nation’s potters saw another country’s items becoming popular on the international market, they immediately began copying the products, albeit with slightly veiled differences to be safe from charges of violating international copyright laws.
Certainly, the English Staffordshire potters produced their fair share of whippets, but these clearly are German. I say that based upon the unglazed appearance of the bottoms. In Staffordshire the bottoms would have been glazed down to the 1870s, and then when they stopped glazing those areas, they smoothed them, whereas these are still rough in texture.
The painted decoration is quite good, and the modeling is excellent. The two sitting ones are worth $175 each and the recumbent one is worth $150, but the latter would be more in demand as collectors find recumbent animals to be very popular.
 By going online possibly one could find mates to the two sitting dogs. They should be facing in the opposite direction. If the two could become two pairs, rather than being valued as two of a kind, the value of the present ones would increase significantly.
As a rule, German figurines, unless Dresden or Meissen, do not equal the popularity or worth of comparable English or French pieces in this country. These three are nice examples, but in Staffordshire the values would be higher.
Happy Antiquing!
Lisa and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. (P.O. 35) Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to him there or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with pictures and descriptions of items.

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