Art and antique appraisers often have decades of training and experience before offering an appraisal of your treasures.
But we can all be experts in our own way, thanks to online resources.
I remember a time when learning about a particular model of glassware or finding an artist or maker meant a trip to the library. At one time, antique fairs had entire stalls specializing in reference books. It really is a thing of the past. Now much of the search is as easy as clicking on your iPhone (or tablet or computer).
In recent weeks, I have featured a few writings from readers asking for information on porcelain pieces.
The pieces were fun to see – some of them were associated with great stories as well.
But reader Susan Gilman has shared pictures of some of the action figures that are very clearly above average in all respects regardless of the backstory.
“I found this one all wrapped up with a $ 295 price tag on it,” she writes of one action figure.
The figurines in question are Dresden, so named for the German city that was once a porcelain hub.
Ms. Gilman wondered about the history of her pieces – who made them and when.
I started by Googling the mark – it’s a blue crown on top of an “S” with slashes across. It was literally my research. This immediately led me to the figurines of the Sitzendorfer Porzellanmanufaktur, or porcelain factory in Sitzendorf, a German company in Thuringia, a state in the former East Germany.
And while searching, I found a history of the company on the website of the Northwest Museum of Arts and
Culture in Spokane, Wash. This site told me that the mark on these figures was used between 1902 and 1972.
Most of the company’s functions were devoted to the German military effort during World War II; online sources suggest that the children’s figures predate the war.
The quality of the porcelain, as well as the detail of the modeling and painting, is exquisite – this is what sets these figures of children apart from others. Even Goebel’s famous Hummel figures really cannot compare in quality to these. As with many Dresden-type figurines, these are hand painted and trimmed with laces – yes, the porcelain was modeled using actual lace.
Figures similar to Ms. Gilman’s have sold at auction for around $ 30 for simpler parts to over a few hundred dollars for multi-figure parts.
Of course, the prices depend on who is buying – there has to be a demand for an item. The condition of the part – are there any chips, repairs, etc. ? – also plays a role in value.
These are your grandma’s collectibles – there is no emerging collector’s market for figurines and other knick-knacks, especially in Florida.
That said, higher quality items tend to retain more of their value, even as prices drop, as they have with so many collectibles. Sitzendorf figures were expensive when new, and they still sell for higher prices than parts from small companies.
That’s a lot of information based on a little research – sometimes it’s that simple. Either way, there’s a lesson here: Collectible trends come and go, but quality endures.
Share your treasures!
Please send a clear photo or two to [email protected] and tell me how you acquired the piece and what makes it interesting or special. ??