1862 Minton Majolica Fountain
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $50,000 (1998)
$30,000 - $50,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 7
Appraisal Video: (3:00)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: I saw an ad in a paper.
GUEST: It says, "An estate sale." And I thought, "I'd better check this out." This was just about 30 years ago.
GUEST: And I walked in, and my eyes spotted this magnificent majolica fountain.
APPRAISER: And you had to have it.
GUEST: And I had to have it.
APPRAISER: And you told your husband you had to have it.
GUEST: I said, "I have to have it."
APPRAISER: So kicking and screaming, he bought it for you. Well, that's great. Why don't I tell you just a little bit about it?
APPRAISER: It's made by the English firm of Minton. And there was a man named Minton who had traveled through Europe. And going through the French region of Rouen in 1849 he found a type of semi-opalescent glaze that he wanted to put on his wares. And he went back and instructed his factory to start making these wares. Now, some of the best artists of the time were commissioned to create sculptures and designs which he incorporated into his fountains. Each piece of majolica, especially from this time period, is marked with a date cipher. So if we look on the bottom here, you will see that there is this mark here.
APPRAISER: That triangle and cross conform to the year 1862.
GUEST: Oh, yes.
APPRAISER: And so it's very easy to date them.
APPRAISER: See how marvelously it's modeled down here at the bottom.
APPRAISER: You have the beautiful mask here, and the foliate festoons, terminating in mask handles. It is just a fantastic piece of majolica. Now, I noticed that there was a monogram here.
APPRAISER: Did you have a story about that at all?
GUEST: Yes, yes. I was told that it was made for Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the poet.
APPRAISER: Well, that... given that I could find "A" and "T" in that, it's possible. And certainly Tennyson was well known enough in his time that...
GUEST: Yes, and the story goes that he had returned from Italy, and at that time he had been made the poet laureate.
GUEST: And this was a presentation to him from his neighbors.
APPRAISER: How wonderful.
GUEST: Isn't that beautiful?
APPRAISER: It's certainly a possibility. What we can say for certain is that it's just about as good a piece of majolica as you're going to find. It's just wonderful.
APPRAISER: Let me ask you a question. How much did you pay for it 30 years ago?
APPRAISER: Did you really?
APPRAISER: Do you know how much it's worth now?
GUEST: Tell me.
APPRAISER: It's worth probably about $30,000 to $50,000.
APPRAISER: It's a wonderful piece.
APPRAISER: And I understand you use it as a planter.
APPRAISER: Well, keep good plants in it, for goodness sake.
APPRAISER: There you go, perfect.
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