The first pieces of Amphora are more interesting, more expensive
Collectors use the names “Amphora” or “Teplitz” for art pottery made in the Turn-Teplitz region of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
The best known and most elaborate examples are decorated with three-dimensional figures applied in an art nouveau style.
An amphora piece may appear to have trees sticking out of it, an animal’s tail wrapped around the neck or base, or a human figure standing at the edge or foraging for fruit on a molded branch.
Here, a stylized octopus appears to sit on top of the vase, with two of its tentacles forming side handles and the rest descending down the pear-shaped body of the vase. It sold for $6,600 at Morphy Auctions. Early Amphora pieces (made before World War I) are of higher quality, look more interesting, and tend to fetch higher prices.
Question: My uncle passed away recently. Among his estate items were about 100 Hummel figurines which were collected by my aunt. How much are they worth?
To respond: The German factory FW Goebel started making Hummel figurines in 1935 using the art of a nun, Berta Hummel, known as Sister Maria Innocentia or MI Hummel.
The figurines quickly attracted collectors, but they did not begin to attract international attention until after World War II. American soldiers stationed in Germany after the war brought the figurines home as gifts.
If you want to sell your aunt’s collection, check the markings on her Hummel figurines to see if they are among the first made at the Goebel factory in Germany. The first Hummels are the only ones with high prices. Most Hummels made after the 1990s don’t sell much unless they’re very big or tied to a major event or anniversary. Many are sold at auction, but the prices are low.
Q: I have a silver tray marked Sheffield. Is this an old Sheffield silver plate or a sterling made in Sheffield? How can I say?
A: Not all City of Sheffield money is “Old Sheffield”. Old Sheffield is a specific type of antique silver plate. It was created in Sheffield, England in the 18th century by hand rolling thin sheets of silver onto copper. Sheffield silversmiths also made sterling silver coins and, from the 19th century, electroplated silver.
Check the marks on your silver; EPNS (Electrolytic Nickel Silver) or EPBM (Electrolytic Base Metal) identifies it as electrolytic to give a metal part a coating of silver resembling sterling.
There are a few tricks to identifying Old Sheffield. The most obvious is whether the silver is worn enough to show the copper underneath. (If this has happened, don’t have it replated! Modern replating will reduce the value.) If there is no visible copper, try scratching your fingernail under the edge of your platter. If it’s Old Sheffield, your fingernail will catch the edge of the silver foil.
If your tray is engraved or monogrammed, blow on the engraved area to create a cloud. Old Sheffield will have an inlaid silver coin for engraving, and you can see the outline.
Q: I have a very old brownie box camera. On the side it says “No. 2 Brownie — Use Film No. 120.” Markings inside the camera read “Model F”. Can you give me a timeline as to his age?
A: Affordable $1 Brownie cameras were extremely popular since their introduction by Eastman Kodak in 1900, bringing photography to the masses. The Kodak Brownie revolutionized personal photography. The life of Brownie Camera No. 2 was from 1901 to 1935.
The Model F was introduced in 1924 and sold until 1935, so your camera is in that timeline. It was the last in the line of Brownies #2. Depending on its condition, we’ve seen the value of the camera typically range from $20 to $60.
Q: What is “soft porcelain”? Is it another name for porcelain or something different?
A: Bone china is a type of porcelain. It is made by combining clay and minerals with the ashes left over from burning animal bones. This makes it stronger, thinner and more durable than hard-paste porcelain. It must be cooked at higher temperatures and is more difficult to manufacture.
It was first made in England in the late 1700s when European ceramists were trying to replicate Chinese porcelain. Some historians believe that bone ash was first added to clay due to a mistranslation of a French description of Chinese porcelain making. Although bone china was made earlier, the words “bone china” began to appear in markings on pieces in 1915.
POINT: To cover a scratch on wooden furniture, mix a paste of instant coffee and water and rub it into the scratch. Another quick fix is to color the scratch with the appropriate colored pencil.
Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer reader questions sent to the column. Send a letter with a question describing the size, material (glass, pottery) and what you know about the item. Include only two photos, the item and a close-up of any marks or damage. Make sure your name and return address are included. Questions that are answered will appear in Kovels’ posts. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 or email us at [email protected]
Current prices are recorded from antique shows, flea markets, sales and auctions across the United States. Prices vary by location due to local economic conditions.
Steiff plush cat, Cozy Sulla, Dralon fur, gray and white, swivel head, green glass eyes, pink stitched nose and mouth, red bow, name tag, button in ear, c. 1967, 9 x 12 inches, $75.
Animation cell, Mighty Mouse, hand painted background, from the TV series, Filmations, c. 1979, 9 x 21 inches, $110.
ToyArthur A-Go-Go Drummer, pewter, plastic arms and head, bushy red hair, fabric jacket and pants, battery operated, reproduction box, Japan, 10 inches, $215.
Cut Glass Fruit Bowl, eight arches with dahlias, slip cut, dahlia on base surrounded by 16 pillar shapes, scalloped and notched edge, signed Libbey, American Brilliant period, c. 1900, 4 x 9 inches, $220.
Porcelain dessert plate servicea fashionable 1900 French woman on each, wisteria borders, multicolored, white background, Vitro, Villeroy & Boch, 13 inch platter, 12 x 8 inch plates, 13 pieces, $395.
Sewing boxwhaler workmanship, mahogany, 3 tiers of graduated drawers, whale ivory handles and pegs, 1800s, 9 ¼ x 9 x 6 ½ inches, $470.
Furniture, breakfront, mahogany, three glass panel doors open to two shelves, desk in front, two drawers flanked by panel doors, Saginaw Furniture, c. 1950, 78 x 50 x 14 inches, $625.
Jewelryring, thick band, thick disc top with off-center encrusted Madeira citrine, 14 karat gold, Danish modernist, ¾ inch disc, size 6 1/2, $855.
Art pottery vasestoneware, glazed, sgraffito decoration, stylized figures in arches, bulbous background, cylindrical neck, Edwin & Mary Scheier, 1990, 12 x 10 inches, $1,500.
Furniture, table, Cityscape, chrome steel base, rectangular dark gray glass top, Paul Evans Studio, Directional, c. 1975, 23 x 24 inches, diameter. $2,375.