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Antiques Considered - December 9, 2009

 This Japanese Imari ginger jar was a recent purchase at a yard sale. The lid is missing, but otherwise it is in perfect condition. The buyer would like to know the age of the jar, and whether making it into a lamp would harm its value, particularly if the bottom were drilled for the electric cord. It is 7 inches high.
Imari is perhaps the most popular form of Japanese ceramics. The name comes from the city where a number of factories made porcelain in the 19th century. The signature colors are cobalt blue, a turquoise blue and a brick red. This jar has all three, and the shape is especially attractive.
Drilling the base is a questionable matter. I doubt a lid which would match in color and shape could be found, yet I also caution against drilling, suggesting instead bringing the cord off the lamp mechanism at the top. In other words, I would try to keep the jar in its present condition, in the rare event a lid did materialize. Most lamp shops sell wooden lids that blend with the porcelain quite well.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December 9, 2009

Antiques Considered - December 2, 2009

A writer from Northumberland County asks about her Staffordshire gravy boat, which is a family heirloom.  It is blue on white, and both stenciled and labeled by the maker, Brown, Westhead, Moore & Co. with a shield and crown, along with the pattern designation, "Meissen."  It is in perfect condition, and is one piece, that is, the dish and platter were fired together.
This piece is a fine example of mid-nineteenth-century Staffordshire production.
As most readers know, Staffordshire is a county in England that was found to have extensive clay deposits, which were suitable for being the molds into which Plaster of Paris could be poured and fired in kilns.  The resulting products became the staples for British and foreign middle class tableware.

Read more: Antiques Considered - December 2, 2009

Antiques Considered November 25, 2009

A couple in the Northern Neck inherited this library table a few years ago.  It is mahogany with yellow pine secondary wood.  Even the drawer bottoms are solid pine, and not plywood.  It bears a label in one of the drawers stating that it was made an authentic handmade reproduction by A. Sacks in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Another label on the back of the same drawer indicates it was sold by Woodward and Lothrop, the former prestigious department store in Washington, D. C.  Several other pieces of furniture in the home have the same labels.

Read more: Antiques Considered November 25, 2009

Antiques Considered - November 18, 2009

A gentleman from the lower Northern Neck is moving to Florida and has asked about his two Champleve pieces. One is an urn with vibrant enamel inserts, and the other is a vase that has been made into a lamp. The urn is stamped “Made in Japan.”
The urn dates from the early 20th century, between 1900 and 1930. It is in the traditional form, and appears to be in fine condition. It is worth $75. The vase unfortunately has been drilled in the process of making it into a lamp, and the initial hole is quite visible. The dark tone of the metal was intentional, and does not indicate it has tarnished in comparison with the brass of the urn. The lamp is worth $100.

Read more: Antiques Considered - November 18, 2009

Antiques Considered - November 11, 2009

A local gentleman has asked about his three wooden items, with a view toward selling them prior to his move from the area.  They have passed through his family, and he does not have any significant information on them, other than that the wood of both the mortar and pestle is lignum vitae.  The top of the larger bucket has been repaired, and the upper band of the smaller one is very loose.
Looking at the buckets first, the smaller one could be repaired quite easily by gluing the rim in place.  I recommend against using any form of metal fastener that would detract from the originality of the bucket.  This one is worth $75.
The larger bucket is quite impressive, given its significant size.  The filler used on the top should be sanded and stained to make it less obtrusive.  The bucket should not be refinished, but once the rawness of the repair is ameliorated, the top should receive a clear coat to protect it.  This bucket is worth $175.  If it were perfect, the figure would be far greater.

Read more: Antiques Considered - November 11, 2009

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