Q For the past three years I have had a running email correspondence with Ellen Schroy who is absolutely delightful, humorous and extremely hard working. In fact, I am one of her advisors, writing the column on Piano Babies in the Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, which leads me to this letter. This piano baby measures 16 1/2 inches long and 6 1/4 inches in height. The markings are in red – a crown with cross on top and “JR” or “LR” underneath. Incised into the bottom is the number 1934. I have come across a similar, though smaller, piano baby with the word “Germany” incised with the same number – 1934. I have done much research, but cannot find the marking shown. I’d appreciate any help.
– J.R., Swampscott, Mass.
A I did some research on your mark in the comprehensive guide to Germanic china, “Marks on German, Bohemian and Austrian Porcelain.” This large volume is quite expensive but it might be available through inter-library loan. I learned that Leube & Company, Reichmannsdorf, Germany, used this mark about 1965. That indicates that your cute bisque piano baby is not a Victorian original, but a good quality copy from about 40 years ago. Even the later versions are collectible and, in some cases, can sell for nearly as much as the Victorian originals, perhaps in the $150-$250 range.
Q I bought this table some 20 years ago. It is 28 3/4 inches high and the top is 22 inches by 33 3/4 inches. I have never been able to find anything on this and would love to have you tell me what it is, who made it and what it’s worth.
– S.R., Delmar, Md.
A Your side table is a nice example of a Colonial Revival piece from about the 1920s. This piece was directly influenced by Jacobean-style furniture of the later 17th century. The top appears to be decorated with nice mahogany and satinwood veneers which add to the collector appeal. Tables of this type are not rare but the nice veneering is uncommon. I think this piece could be valued in the $125-$225 range.
Q My wife bought this serving dish at a yard sale in Ship Bottom, N.J., about 25 years ago for $1.50. Could you please give us an idea of its value? It measures 8 1/4 inches by 10 1/2 inches and is about 2 inches deep. A neighbor told my wife at the time that it was made in 1865 by John Meir and Son and is known as a flow blue. The mark in the back has faded but it is blue and looks either a diamond ring or a pocket watch face. There is a small chip off the reverse. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
– R.F., Camden, Del.
A This ironstone china serving dish could certainly date to the 1860s. The pottery of J. Meir & Son operated in the Staffordshire region of England from 1837 to 1897. Sometimes the mark on the bottom also includes the name of the pattern but apparently yours doesn’t. The blue and white design has an Oriental flair and is somewhat similar to a pattern called “Asiatic Pheasants” that was made in the later 19th century. I can’t really tell from your photos if your piece is truly a “flow blue” pattern. The best flow blue china will have a dark “smeary” effect in the design and the blue will often “bleed through” and show up on the back/bottom of the piece. Of course, flow blue china brings a much higher price than just regular blue-decorated china. The chip on your piece will, of course, reduce the value to many collectors. If this IS a flow blue pattern, your dish might be valued in the $150-$300 range; as just a blue transfer-printed design, about half that amount.
UPDATE: Reader Freeman Moore of Texas wrote me a while ago with additional information on a glass tumbler shown in the March 12, 2008, column. There was a photo of two plate-etched tumblers and I was able to identify the one on the right but not the one on the left. Mr. Moore informs me that the unidentified tumbler is the #523 Chrysanthemum pattern produced by the Cambridge Glass Co.