French Porcelain Vases, ca. 1860

Value (2006) | $10,000 Retail

My mother bought them at an estate sale in about 1975, and she paid $2,500 for them. She collects very manly things like rugs and pottery, and us girls said, "Mother, please, the next time you buy something, get something feminine."

How many sisters do you have?

One sister, but I got the vases.

You got the vases. She got something else. First of all, they're French. They were made probably in Limoges in France. I would estimate round about 1860. As most of these French ornamental vases were, they were made to really catch your eye. What I like about them especially is the standard of painting. All the flowers that you see, all of the details are painted by hand. I'm going to point out especially in the one closest to you, this bucolic scene, these figures in a garden, painted in sort of late-18th-century style. And they're catching birds. You see this little net here? It's still a common practice in parts of Europe to catch migratory birds. They catch them for food. And at the time that these were made, it was a very common thing to do in certain parts of France. They caught skylarks, actually. Rather unfortunately for the skylark, they were delicacies. It's a very unusual scene. Beautifully painted. On this side, they're fishing. Also something of an unusual scene in the way it's presented, and superbly painted. These were designed to look this way and to be viewed from this side. The paintings on the back are attractive, but they're much simpler coastal scenes. I think your mother got a very good buy in 1975.


There is a demand for pieces of this quality--


--and this scale. In an antique shop, for the pair, they would sell for at least $10,000 today.

Right. Wonderful.

So I think you've got something and I hope your sister's got something worth just as much.

They're mine. I like them better now. (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Appraised value (2006)
$10,000 Retail
Tucson, AZ (June 17, 2006)

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