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Antiques Considered - October 24, 2012

A family formerly from Colonial Beach purchased this set of china at an antiques shop in Alabama almost 40 years ago.  All of the pieces are labeled “John Haviland” in a semicircle with “Bavaria” below.  The inside rim is custard color, and the gold leafing is in excellent condition.  All of the pieces were perfect, but the owner broke one of the lidded vegetable dishes about 30 years ago. 

Haviland china is always a fine brand.  The Cadillac of Haviland is Theodore Haviland, made in Limoges, France.  John Haviland is one of the many varieties, which include one made in New York.  This set dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.  The use of the term “Bavaria” for the country of origin, rather than Germany, emphasizes the recurring nationalistic theme of Bavaria, which had become part of the new German Empire in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War.

Bavaria long has been a major manufacturer of fine china, and some consider its production to be the equal of French Limoges.  All of these factories were bombed during the Second World War, and other than by chance finding a duplicate of the broken vegetable dish in an antiques shop or on the Internet, I doubt it can be replaced.

The design is elegant, and the quality is excellent.  The set is impressive for the extent and diversity of the pieces.  As a whole it is worth $600,, but the market for such china is  limited today, due in part to the economic conditions as well as to the changing tastes.   Fine china with gold leaf decoration is not capable of being microwaved or placed in the dishwasher.  

 I suggest keeping the set in a cabinet or behind glass to keep from having to wash it any more than necessary, as the gold leaf can be worn off quite easily.  It is a great set, and as the economy recovers, it will increase in value.

Happy Antiquing!

Henry Lane and Lisa Hull own and operate  Commonwealth Antiques & Appraisals, Inc., P.O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579. they can be reached at 804.580.3301

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