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Antiques Considered - September 30, 2009

 

This week’s column sets a new record in that the inquiry comes from the greatest distance, namely Oregon.  A lady there, whose mother lives in the Northern Neck has asked about her Sheraton banquet table, and six dining chairs.  The table is mahogany, and consists of three sections, two banquet ends and a center gateleg dropleaf table.

Read more: Antiques Considered - September 30, 2009

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.

 

Read more: Antiques Considered - September 23, 2009

Antiques Considered - September 16, 2009

This platter comes from a family in Northumberland County. It is black-on-white transfer, and hallmarked simply “New York.” Clearly it is a view of Lower Manhattan, dating from the 1840s. The platter was damaged, and the cracks and holes have been restored, but not painted. The owner questions whether to have them painted or not.
This platter is typical of the Staffordshire production of the mid-19th century. The black-on-white finish makes a clear impression, as opposed to some pieces with paler and more muted tones, such as violet or light blue. The design is quite good, and if I had the choice and the money, I should go for the re-painting. Under black light the restoration still will show, but once re-painted the piece will display more effectively.

Read more: Antiques Considered - September 16, 2009

Antiques Considered - September 9, 2009

This week we have a Chinese Export teapot from a family in Northumberland County.  It came from an estate sale, on the last day when prices had been reduced.  The owner assumed it had not sold because the handle had been repaired, and bought it for $5.
This teapot dates from the early 19th century, a time when the citizens of the young Republic were achieving a level of affluence whereby they could afford to import from China.  Most people considered having Chinese export pieces in their homes to be a mark of distinction. Certainly this piece was part of a larger tea service.
The repair is typical of that done in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in that it consists of using metal staples and a composition to hold the sections together.  The process was quite expensive, and it too connoted an indication of a family's wealth.  From the appearance of the repair, I would surmise that it was done to make the piece useful once again, rather than merely to make it look better when displayed.
Chinese Export is a term which describes the porcelain made in China for export to America or Europe.  The texture of the make-up and the smoothness of the finish were pleasing to foreign eyes and soon makers in England began copying the Chinese.  Lowestoft became the center of British manufacture of Chinese-style china.
In perfect condition this 1810 teapot would be worth $400, but the repair eviscerates that sum, despite having cost dearly itself.  As is, the value is $90, but on the right day at the right auction a knowledgeable collector might go higher.  The perfect pieces are few in number and are competitive in any market where they appear.  I have sold good teapots for as much as $700.
Happy antiquing!

Antiques Considered - August 26, 2009

This simple, primitive New England Hepplewhite table comes from a lady whose late father inherited it. The wood is maple, and the originality of the finish is in question.
The peg construction remains the vehicle for holding the boards together, as succeeding generations have not added nails to support it. The condition is good, and the table is sturdy. The table does not have a drawer.
Tables of this variety are not rare, but this one is quite nice. The tone of the wood is excellent, and whether the finish is original or not, the present version is attractive. I strongly recommend against refinishing the present surface.

Read more: Antiques Considered - August 26, 2009

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