Haviland White House Bowls, ca. 1880

Value (2006) | $7,000 Auction$9,000 Auction

We inherited them from my husband's great-aunt, who passed away when she was 99 years old. She left us various items. And these were found in a trunk that she had left for us.

What have you been able to find out about them?

Absolutely nothing.

These are soup bowls from a service of china that was made for the White House under the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes. Mrs. Hayes was going to order some dessert plates for the White House. And she met an artist and reporter for "Harpers Weekly," named Theodore R. Davis, and she ended up commissioning him to design a whole service of china for the White House in collaboration with Haviland and Company in Limoges, France.


If we look at the back here, there's a green mark that says "H & Co.," which is Haviland and Company, and then there's a red mark that also says "Haviland" along with some French words, which indicates it was decorated by the Haviland Company. We've got the signature of Theodore R. Davis, who was the designer, along with a patent date for 1880. Also on it is the American eagle shield. All the designs on each piece in the service were some type of American scene. Now, these pieces here were not actually in the White House. When the service was ordered, and it was ordered through a jewelry store in Washington, D.C., which was the representative for Haviland. So it went through that jewelry store. And they ordered a bunch of extra pieces in addition to the ones that were ordered for the White House, which they then sold in their store. The pieces like this were very expensive when they were new. The most common pieces from the service are oyster plates, believe it or not, and also dinner plates. But there are other pieces that do turn up. There are people who specialize in collecting White House related china, and this is one of the most celebrated services, and examples are represented in many museums. Some of these soup bowls recently sold for $4,800 each. Now, this one has a chip on it and a rather crude repair. It does affect the value. So my estimate for this piece would be less. The good one would bring between $4,000 and $5,000 and the other one between $3,000 and $4,000.

Oh, my goodness. Wow.

So you reached into that trunk and you pulled out some major money and you didn't even know it.

No, not at all. No. Wow. I think we need to look in the trunk a little more.

Yes, see what else is in that trunk.

Yeah, see what else is in there.

Appraisal Details

David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, TX
Appraised value (2006)
$7,000 Auction$9,000 Auction
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
19th Century

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