Q I purchased this “cordial set” at an estate sale. It is 12 inches high. It fits together snugly and resembles an oil lamp. I do know the owner was well traveled. I believe the set is Czechoslovakian, but this is only a guess. Can you give me any information on it as well as its age and value?
– A.L., Tilghman, Md.
A Your fascinating kerosene lamp-form liqueur set is quite unusual. However, a wide variety of related sets were produced in Bohemia (and later Czechoslovakia) in the late 19th and early 20th century. Quite a few such sets featured large egg-shaped containers that opened to hold a small decanter and glasses. Your “lamp-form” design is much scarcer. There is a good market for the glass of this type and I suspect it might retail today in the $150-$250 range.
Q I have in my possession a shaving cup that was a piece in my father’s large occupational shaving mug collection. He considered this piece to be one of the gems of his collection. A photo of a similar cup can be found in Robert Blake Powell’s Antique Shaving Mugs of the United States, copyright 1972. Is it worth anything?
– M.V., Ormond Beach, Fla.
A I’m familiar with the Powell book on shaving mugs; it’s a classic among those collectors. However, in looking through more recent references and comparing it to bisque (unglazed porcelain) pieces that are shown, I believe this mug was most likely produced in Germany in the late 19th or early 20th century rather than around 1840 as the Powell book states. It is still an attractive example and I believe it would be valued around $200-$250 in the current shaving mug market.
Q This small white flower container has been in my family for more than 100 years. The piece has no markings on the bottom. The designs do no appear to be applies. The vase has lost its slender handle.
–L.C., Miami Beach, Fla.
A Your elaborate parian (a specialized variation of bisque) is very decorative and typical of designs popular during the late 1840s and into the 1850s. Such parian wares were produced in England and other countries but some choice examples were also produced in the United States. Some of the best-known manufacturers of American parian were located in the city of Bennington, Vt.
Years ago an important reference on all types of Bennington-produced pottery wares was written by Richard Carter Barret, the then-curator of the Bennington Museum. His book, Bennington Pottery and Porcelain, has remained an important reference for those who want to confirm that unmarked pieces they own were actually made in Bennington. Since many similar wares were produced at other factories this reference is considered a great identification guide.
I went through my copy of this book and did find your ewer illustrated in Plate 302, along with a number of other examples from Bennington. It would have been a product of the E. Fenton’s Works (1845-1858) or the United States Pottery (1852-1858). Not all the pieces from these firms were marked so finding it in the Barret book is important to collectors. Such early Bennington parian is very desirable; unfortunately your missing handle will greatly reduce any collector value. If perfect I suspect this piece might sell today in the $300-$600 range, but “as is” I can’t say what someone might offer.