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Antiques Considered - May 7, 2014

A lady originally from Fairfax inherited six plates identical to this one from her father’s side of the family. They are in the traditional blue on white motif, and are hallmarked “Villeroy and Boch.” They are eight inches in diameter and in excellent condition with no chips or cracks, but evidence of use over the years.

These plates, which appear to be dessert-size, would have been part of a larger dinner service in the same design or pattern.  They date from the late nineteenth century, and are typical of the china and pottery offered by Villeroy and Boch.

The factory was founded in 1748 in Lorraine, then a part of the Holy Roman Empire, when Francois Boch opened for business with his three sons. Later it moved to Luxemburg, and finally to the Saar in what is now modern Germany. In 1836, the Boch firm merged with that of one of its competitors, Nicolas Villeroy. It continues to produce a wide range of patterns and services, and has branched out into the field of bathroom fixtures.  As I type these words the firm is putting out today’s offerings, as it has for 266 years.

These plates are composed of a material often called semi-porcelain, meaning that they are part porcelain and part pottery. The blue on white, which is almost a form of Flow-blue, remains quite popular both in Europe and America, but the value is not as great as comparable ones in British or American Flow-blue.  Given their superior condition, these plates are worth $150.

Before using them for food consumption, I suggest checking as to the possible lead content of the glaze.  If the glaze is lead-based, they only should be wall hangers or cabinet pieces, and never used for food.

Henry Lane Hull and his wife Lisa operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jess ie duPont Hwy. in Wicomico Church, VA.  Write to him at P. O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 or e-mail questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Happy Antiquing!

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