The following letter was received from reader Evelyn T. who updates the information I provided in my November 21 column regarding a German beer stein:
In the Nov. 21, 2007 issue, you had a question about a beer stein. You replied that it was made in the German French Zone, and it is also marked “Ardalt.”
Ardalt was an importer of goods from Germany and Japan after World War II. They were originally located in New York City, but moved to Florida about 40 years ago. They went to manufacturers with an antique that they wanted copied; that piece was only made for Ardalt. Therefore, any piece marked Ardalt is a repro. They went out of business in the 1980s, I believe.
Their pieces are usually done very well and some were quite expensive for that era. I have a beautiful pair of urns copied from Zsolnay that you would have to examine very closely to tell it was a copy.
I have quite a few antique repros from them, as I owned a china and glass shop from 1953 to 1973.
My thanks to Evelyn for the information.
Q Could you tell me who made my jardinere? The finish is very smooth and glossy.
– L.B., Somerset, Mass.
A I checked through several references on American potteries working during the early 20th century but was unable to match your jardiniere design to a specific company. Although it does resemble McCoy pieces, this molded Arts & Crafts design is not shown among their pieces. There were quite a number of firms making similar pieces in the period from around 1900 to the 1930s. This example may not have yet been identified. However, it appears to be in nice condition and I would think it could be valued in the $150-$350 range.
Q This is a wood block print titled Kanagawa Ou Nami by the artist Hokusai. It is 14 ? inches by 9 ? inches and is signed on the mounting paper in the lower right. It is numbered “1270B” on the reverse of the print. Could it have any value?
– L.H., Waynoka, Okla.
A Without seeing this woodblock print first-hand I can’t be sure but I strongly suspect that it is a reprint based on the original woodblock. The artist, Hokusai (1779-1849) originally titled this “In the Well of the Great Wave off Kanagawa” and it was part of his series, “The Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji.” The pencil inscription in French translates to “100 Views of Fuji.” It may have been restruck in the late 19th century when Japanese woodblock prints were especially in demand in France. Such prints were very popular there, and inspired many French artists of that era. If this is an “early” restrike I suspect it does have some value but nothing near the value of an original.
QI think my figurine is made of bisque, but don’t know anything else about it. The head comes apart from the body. Can you tell me anything about it? Do you think it may have any value?
– J.W., Clementon, N.J.
A This charming bisque figure of the seated man reading a book features a “nodder” style head and was made in Germany in the late 19th or early 20th century. You don’t give the size but I suspect it is less than 8 inches tall. If in perfect condition I think a fair value would be in the $75-$150 range.