Appraisal Video: (4:02)
Pottery & Porcelain
David Lackey Antiques & Art
GUEST: I went to California this summer to visit my aunt, and my other aunt had died a short time ago and this aunt said, "Well, I've got some things in the dining room. Just go in there and pick out something of Aunt Virginia's, you know, and if you want it, take it home with you." So I went in there and there were a couple of music boxes and there were a few small punch bowls and then this, and I thought, "It's really interesting. I think I'll take that." I don't know anything else about it-- where she got it or anything like that. I just thought it was just lovely.
APPRAISER: Okay, this vase was made by Derby. Derby is now the company called Royal Crown Derby, which you may be familiar with. They're very famous for their Amari patterns, which are very extravagant and very expensive and still available in the stores today. Let's take a look at the mark on the bottom. We've got a hand-painted gold mark here, the crown above a little cross, and below that is a "D," which is kind of hard to read. And that is the standard mark that Derby used from the late 18th century until about 1825. Derby was started in about 1750s, and pretty quickly, they were one of the top porcelain producers in Europe and in England, along with Worcester in England, which is another major company. They produced some of the most extravagant, the best quality and most expensive porcelains of the period. This piece here dates to probably right around 1800, 1810, 1820. This is a very intricate process. First, the vase itself is made and potted and then, before it was glazed, this cobalt blue ground was painted on first, under the glaze, and then the glaze was put on and then it was fired. And then it was given to an artist in the factory who painted this very intricate hand-painted scene. It was then fired again, to take the colors, and then the gilding was put on. And this amazing gilding, which is all over the front and back, was, again, all done by hand. So it was a very long process. These vases normally came in pairs, and so this may have one time had a pair. And they were so expensive when they were new, they would probably have only been bought by a very wealthy person. The condition on this is pretty amazing. Damage on this sort of thing is pretty acceptable. Something that's nearly 200 years old almost always has a crack, it has worn gold, the handles have been broken off and restored, and even major auction houses sell pieces like this with damage. This hasn't got any damage. This period is very prone to craze and crackle, and Derby is very prone to craze. This piece is not crazed. The condition is just kind of mind-boggling.
GUEST: Do the chips in the handles...?
APPRAISER: There is one little, or two little tiny nicks on the handles, and quite frankly, on something this old and this rare, it doesn't matter too much. It'd be better if it didn't have it, but it doesn't matter too much. The only thing I don't know about it is who painted the scene. And with research, they could probably identify the name of the artist based upon the style of the painting and the exact... exactly the scene. We don't really know what it's worth, because we've not seen anything quite like this, although we've seen lots of Derby vases. I think a conservative auction estimate would be somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000, and I wouldn't be quite surprised if it didn't bring more at retail value, perhaps much more--
GUEST: You don't mean it.
APPRAISER: --because of the rarity, of the condition, of the massive size-- it's unusually large. It's just a great, great, stunning piece.
GUEST: I can't believe that. That is just incredible.
APPRAISER: This has always been valued. It's never... went out of fashion where it was cheap and nobody collected it. I really think it's in the $7,000 to $10,000 range, from a specialist Derby dealer in England. The amount of collectors who understand this, appreciate it and will pay that price is a very small number-- you know, who knows whether it's 20 or 30 people in the whole world would pay that price.
GUEST: That is amazing. I was thinking maybe $300 or $400.