Majolica Fish Tureen attributed to George Jones & Sons, ca. 1870
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:40)
Pottery & Porcelain
David Lackey Antiques & Art
GUEST: I inherited it from my father's cousin's wife. She apparently had it from my father's grandmother. It's always been referred to as "the fish dish" in the family. I don't know, really, anything about it, which is why I wanted to bring it today, to see if I could find out some things.
APPRAISER: In what part of the country did they live in?
GUEST: Upstate New York, in the Albany area.
APPRAISER: So how long has this piece been here in Hawaii?
GUEST: Four years-- the same as, uh, myself and my sister. We retired from teaching in New Jersey and we moved here four years ago, and this was one of the things that we brought with us.
APPRAISER: This piece is pottery and it's called "majolica," which is a type of tin glazed pottery that was very popular in the late 19th century. A lot of it was made in England, but it was also made in the United States, as well as France and Germany and other places in Europe. The tin in the... in the glaze gives it these bright colors, which is what people liked about it back then and what collectors like now. For a good piece of majolica, you like it to be very crisply modeled, like this one is. You can see the scales on the fish are in the modeling.
APPRAISER: And in these wonderful ferns and leaves in the background, all different colors. Also the base has this basket shape, so, as if the fish and the plants were in a basket.
APPRAISER: Let's take a look at the inside. The inside has this wonderful pink lavender color. The more color, the better it is for collectors. Now, there is a faint mark here, which you have asked me about earlier. And you said that you thought it was the manufacturer's mark and that's a logical thing to think. The mark is right here, and when it was fired, the glaze ran into the mark and kind of filled it up. So it's completely illegible. It actually, we're looking at it from the side here, it's a vertical mark. This is the top here. It's an English registration mark,
GUEST: Oh, really.
APPRAISER: which it was registered in England, so that this piece could not be copied by another manufacturer. Within this diamond are little sections. And if we could read it properly, there would be numbers, and letters of the alphabet, in those sections and we could look it up on a chart and see exactly what year this particular piece was registered. It dates from about 1870.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: The manufacturer's mark is not here. I've looked very carefully with magnification and I could not find it. But I'm almost certain that this piece was made by a company called George Jones and Sons. And they were well known for making really wonderful majolica. A lot of the other things this company made were not very interesting. Lots of ordinary dinnerware and other things. But their majolica is what they're known for.
GUEST: I always found it interesting that... that the bottom, the base had been glazed on the underside.
APPRAISER: Right. And that's just the way they made it. The side that sat. This is a very popular piece with majolica collectors, and it is a known piece. It probably had matching plates to go with it. So when it was new, someone could have bought 12 fish plates to go with it.
APPRAISER: For serving, if they actually want to serve. But I imagine most people, like you, used it for ornamentation. But this particular piece-- a retail price in an antique shop or antique show-- something like that, would probably sell for somewhere between $2,500 and $3,500.
GUEST: Oh, really.
APPRAISER: And in some cases it might sell for a bit more.
GUEST: That's wonderful.
APPRAISER: Thanks very much for coming in. It was a treat to see, and I'm glad you brought it in.
GUEST: Thank you.
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