French Porcelain Box, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $300 (1997)
$300 - $500 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:25)
Andrea Blunck Frost
Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
Senior Vice President & Director of European Furniture and Decorative Arts
Doyle New York
GUEST: The box has been in my family for as long as I can remember. I see pictures of it even during the time when I was a baby. The only thing I really know about it, it was purchased by my father either from a gallery or an auction or someplace. He gave it to my mother as a present, and he told her that he was told that this box, they thought had been given by Napoleon to Josephine. Now, of course, whether or not that's actually true, I have no idea.
APPRAISER: You have some idea of where it was made?
GUEST: Um... France, I believe-- French Sëvres box-- that much I know, and I saw something in a photograph at one point-- I believe in the Frick museum-- that looked rather similar, and I've always treasured it, and it's been sitting in my house on a dresser. I'm hoping, of course, that it's very valuable, but I don't know.
APPRAISER: All right, usually when looking at porcelain, what you want to do is look at the bottom of a piece. It's a very, very highly shiny glaze and the porcelain is very, very white. Now, what that tells me, together with the bleeding of the turquoise glaze all along the edge, is that we can probably date it to not very much earlier than about 1900.
APPRAISER: And I suspect that it might even be ten years later than that, but let's say 1900. We can then look at the porcelain mark that is here in the middle. An 18th-century French Sëvres mark, but since we've established that the box is 1900, that can't be true, and Sëvres did not use...
GUEST: It cannot be true?
APPRAISER: It cannot be true.
APPRAISER: Sëvres did not use these particular marks in the 20th century, so it's not a Sëvres piece.
GUEST: It's not.
APPRAISER: Now, what is it? It is French, it is 1900. In terms of value, I think what we're looking at... It is very nicely decorated with the scene on the top and the floral decoration on the inside. If it were Sëvres and if it were 18th-century, which is what the mark would indicate if it were, you're looking at anywhere from about $5,000 upwards. As it is, you're looking at somewhere around $300.
GUEST: Really? Very interesting.
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