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Antiques Considered - September 23, 2009

 




A Westmoreland County collector has asked about her footed Nippon dish with its perforated holes in the bottom, an item she acquired at an estate sale. She has not seen any like it previously, and questions why the holes are there.
Nippon refers to the Japanese porcelain made for export, principally to the United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For a long time, collectors eschewed it, thinking it was cheap and not significant, consequently, it brought very little on the market.
About 30 years ago it came into its own, and today is highly desirable. It always sells well, whether in shops, at estate sales or at auctions. The more extensive the decoration, the better as far as price goes. Ironically, it is especially popular in the South. I know some collectors who have hundreds of pieces, but they are individuals who insist that their pieces be perfect. Damaged Nippon is virtually impossible to sell, and unless it is artist-signed, the cost of professional restoration is beyond feasibility.

 

 

It is a fine quality porcelain, which wears well, and usually is elaborately decorated with embossed gold leaf, such as we see in this piece. Nippon also characteristically has beautiful enameled painting. The holes exist in order for the bowl to aerate the fruit, probably grapes, placed in it. This one has the typical three short legs, and resembles a nut dish I bought at an auction in Westmoreland many years ago.
Without the holes, this style is called a nut dish, and often has six or eight miniature versions, so that each person at the table could have his or her own serving. This one is worth $75. It is a fine example of the style, and represents the excellent quality that was typical of Nippon production a century ago.
     Happy Antiquing …

 

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