Royal Vienna-Style Urn
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $8,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:02)
Pottery & Porcelain
David Lackey Antiques & Art
GUEST: This has been in my family probably since the middle of the 1800s, I'm not sure.
APPRAISER: What big extravagant urns like these were for is just for show. They served no function whatsoever other than to put, you know, on a big piece of furniture, put it on the dining table, put it on the buffet, just to look extravagant and impressive. As we can see, it's made in two parts. Pieces of porcelain this big have to be made in two parts, because if it was fired as one piece, it's very prone to break. Let's take it apart.
APPRAISER: So I'm going to lift this up... and we're going to turn it over to look at... There's a lot of marks on here.
GUEST: Yes, there are.
APPRAISER: The most important mark that we want to note, if we look right back down in here, there's a blue beehive mark.
APPRAISER: And that is traditionally a mark associated with the Royal Vienna Company in Vienna.
GUEST: I see.
APPRAISER: But this is not made by that company. It's a pseudo mark, which is a nice way of saying it's a fake mark.
GUEST: I see.
APPRAISER: There's titles of the scenes in French here which are almost worn away, which we can't decipher. There's some interesting little numbers which probably one time corresponded to a list which named the scenes on the side. Plus, there's another little printed mark here, which is the mark of the company that actually made it. It would take a little research to figure out which company that is, but it's probably a company somewhere in the area of Dresden, Germany. Now, this is incredibly high quality. It's totally and completely hand-painted. All of these scenes are hand-painted. Let's get it back in place here. All the gilding is-- raised gilding-- is all completely done by hand, and so we ask ourselves, "Why in the world would anyone make something so extravagant and so expensive and put fake marks on it?" But at the time, this is what consumers were wanting. The late 19th century or early 20th century, which is when this is from, consumers were wanting big, showy, European-looking porcelains that would show how tasteful and how wealthy and how extravagant they were. Because this was real expensive when it was new. And so they were made for them with the fake marks. They thought they were getting something that they weren't. This sort of thing, this high quality inspired all kinds of copies. All day long on the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW we see copies of these sort of things, things that are badly painted or not very well painted. We see things that are transfer decorated in this style and we see tons of things with the same mark on it-- this beehive mark. In fact, this is one of these marks that whenever you see it, you should always question it. It's almost guilty until proven innocent.
APPRAISER: Even though it has fake marks, this piece actually is still worth between $5,000 and $8,000.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: And you should go home tonight, put a bunch of ice in there and the champagne and celebrate.
GUEST: Yeah, right-- sounds good.
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