Antiques Appraisals: Terra cotta bird decanter may be a sleeper

Dr. George Marchelos, graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques, performs two antiques appraisals for an Antique Trader subscriber. Marchelos evaluates a pair of reproduction maps and a bird-form decanter.
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Complimentary antiques appraisals performed by graduates of the Asheford Institute of Antiques is a benefit reserved for subscribers to Antique Trader magazine. Appraisals are personal opinions of value and are to be considered for entertainment purposes only. The values are estimated and are not to be used for any other purpose, either legal or personal.

Antiques inquiry:

Reproduction maps

Reproduction maps

I would like some information on this map I found in my neighbor’s trash after his wife died and he was mourning. It measures 12 3/4” wide by 18 1/2” high. It has 5 heads (faces) at the top of the map, and 5 heads (faces) at the bottom (top part).

It’s marked: Mare Indicvav
Ethiopia - Mare -
Interior Pra Sodum

The bottom of the map has a banner with “Virginia” on it. The right top half has a figure of an American Indian. It has lots of pictures of trees. And a crown and crest under the banner.

The left corner has Indians having a feast with the word “Powhatan” under the square.

The bottom left corner has a round “seal” under The Virginian Sea with a ship pictured. The bottom has a picture of some kind of seal.

Bird-form stoneware decanter

Bird-form stoneware decanter

This jug I bought may years ago to go with my troll dolls. What is it and what is it worth? The handle has been broken and mended. The beak and comb has also been chipped. The head is the stopper of the jug. I just love it.

Anything you can tell me about it would be appreciated.

- M.B.

Altamonte Springs, Florida

Antique Appraisal

Reproduction maps

Reproduction maps

M.B. has sent photos of two maps in a frame. The images are partially blocked by the camera flash. The map on top appears to be a mappa mundi while the other below is a much later portolan map of Virginia, etc. It is probable that this decorator item was issued by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper company in Norfolk. Their logo appears partially in the bottom left. Because it is of fairly recent vintage and is a copy photographically produced the value is low, $15-$20.

M.B. did not ask about the second item, the image of a polychrome faience decanter with a bird motif. It was made on a wheel but has no mark. Additionally, it has many condition problems. Terra cotta, earthenware, and similar items are judged and valued using several criteria including body, glaze, shape, decoration, marks and condition. The body is not quite symmetrical, the partially translucent glaze is somewhat uneven in application and appearance, the shape is acceptable, the decoration acceptable for the most part, but the condition negates every other aspect of the item.

Bird-form stoneware decanter

Bird-form stoneware decanter

It was probably produced in Europe, perhaps Spain or Italy, although the United States remains a possibility. But it would certainly not be the California or Ephraim studios. As a curiosity it is interesting and could be restored, although the value would not equal the restoration. As is, it is a $30 item for someone interested in an unusual item. There are, however, collectors who build collections on broken or repaired items only, so there is something for everyone. Further research may reveal a sleeper.

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