Early 20th-Century Russian Kornilow Porcelain Plates

Value (2006) | $9,000 Retail$12,000 Retail

GUEST:
This is a set of six plates that were given to my mother roughly 25 years ago. She had a friend, he had a little antiques, collectibles store. And she'd had them for 25 years when she passed several years ago, and now they're mine. All I know is they are Russian. I don't know if they're hand-painted. On the back, it says: "Made for Tiffany." And I called Tiffany, but they had no records. I'm assuming that they are sample plates. When this company started to maybe try and sell over here. That's it. I don't know what the numbers in the back mean. I don't know the period. Anything you can tell me would be great.

APPRAISER:
Okay. First of all, let's look at the decoration on the front. You're right, they are Russian. But they are transfer-decorated, or decals--

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
--which are put on the plates, and then artists of the factory went back, and some of the colors were hand-painted in on top of the decal. If you feel the surface of the plate, there's kind of raised white enameling is done.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
So, the hand-decoration is on the center of the plate--

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
--on top of the decal. On the border is all decal and in these scenes here, some of the scenes are repeated on different plates.

GUEST:
Exactly.

APPRAISER:
So I don't know how many different ones they had, but let's say they had ten different scenes, and they would randomly place those scenes on different plates so they would look like they were all different. So they're not entirely hand-painted, but there is some handwork. They're embellished.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
Let's take a look at the back. Here's the mark in Russian.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And then here is an English mark, which says, "Made in Russia by Kornilow Bros. for Tiffany & Co. New York."

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And this is the mark of Kornilow Bros.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And this factory was in business for a very long time. Now, these plates were made in the early 20th century, before the Russian Revolution. So it was czarist, during the czars...

GUEST:
Right, right.

APPRAISER:
Okay. And this company, in the early 20th century, they were making these Russian-style scenes and plates for export to other countries.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So you could buy them at Tiffany in the United States--

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
--as well as places like London and Paris. And earlier you asked if these were sample plates. No, they're not sample plates. This is from a whole line of china. It depicted scenes of Russian peasants, the Russian countryside and so forth.

GUEST:
All right.

APPRAISER:
And they were sometimes bought to use, but they were more bought for display. You asked about the numbers on the back. These numbers right here are hand-painted at the factory, and these are probably the pattern number, perhaps they're the number of a person at the factory who decorated them. Something that's not that significant. These plates have become very popular, and they've gone up in value a lot, as have most Russian things, for a very interesting, modern reason. Not only are Russian expatriates in the United States and in Europe collecting Russian things, part of their heritage, but also Russians in Russia are buying back things that were exported out of the country a very long time ago. So the price of this sort of thing keeps escalating. If you had brought these to me ten years ago, I would have said, well, these are very nice, they're worth several hundred dollars apiece, maybe $300-$400 apiece. But these days, these plates would probably sell for between $1,500 and $2,000 each.

GUEST:
Apiece?

APPRAISER:
Each. So that would be for the set in a retail situation, between $9,000 and $12,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
And that's because of this increased interest all over the world for Russian things.

GUEST:
I'm stunned.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, Texas
Appraised value (2006)
$9,000 Retail$12,000 Retail
Event
Philadelphia, PA (August 05, 2006)
Period
20th Century
Form
Plate
Material
Porcelain

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