Coalport Dessert Set, ca. 1810

Value (2007) | $20,000 Retail$30,000 Retail

This came down from my grandmother's side of the family. My parents had it appraised in the '70s, and they appraised it as Royal Worcester and for, like, I think either $700 or $1,000. I can't really remember. But recently I had a couple pieces restored by a professional restorer and they told me it wasn't English, because it's not marked, that more likely it was early French before the French started marking their porcelain.

Well, first I looked at it and I thought "Chinese export porcelain," because it does look very similar to several variations of patterns called tobacco leaf that were made on 18th-century Chinese export porcelain. However, the colors are not quite right. And so this was an interpretation by Europeans. You've heard several things, but actually this set is absolutely English.

Oh, really?

There are several ways I can tell that, but primarily, because it is soft-paste porcelain. If it had been French, it would have been hard-paste porcelain. I am fairly certain that it was made by Coalport. It dates about 1800 to 1825. And the reasons that I think that it's Coalport partially is the shapes. And if you notice, the plates have slight notches in them.


That's typical of Coalport from that time period. It's possible that it was custom made. I've never seen this pattern. It is a dessert set, and a dessert set was arranged around serving not only sweets, like baked goods, but also lots of fruits. This piece here is called a fruit cooler. And if we take the lid off, you've got a piece missing. There is supposed to be a liner that fits in here. So you would put a layer of ice, then the liner would fit in, and then you would put fruit or whatever food that you wanted to keep cold. The lid would be placed back on it and then the lid is shaped like this, it's very deep, so you could put ice on top of it.

Oh, okay.

So it was to keep something cold. This piece is a sauce tureen or sometimes people would call it a gravy, probably used for a sweet sauce. Then you've got three shapes of dessert dishes. You've got this oval dish, you've got a pair of these shell-shaped dishes, and you actually have three of these square dishes. And then, finally, you have the dessert serving plates. You've got a total, I believe, of 15.


The value on this is not so much the age as the decoration. This is considered spectacular decoration and therefore is quite valuable. If we add together this set, a retail value, or an insurance value, would be between $20,000 and $30,000.

Oh, my. My mom's going to see this and she's going to ask for it back probably.

Appraisal Details

David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, TX
Appraised value (2007)
$20,000 Retail$30,000 Retail
Baltimore, MD (June 16, 2007)
November 14, 2011: We contacted appraiser David Lackey for an updated appraisal of this object in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $30,000 - $40,000 (Increased)

Lackey notes that while he does not believe the market value of this set has significantly increased, based on his subsequent review of some relevant auction records, he believes his original appraisal was too conservative. "The exceptional decoration on this set makes it valuable. Most other dessert sets made by Coalport during this time period would be worth much less than this specific set," he says.

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