“The Jungle Book” Arts & Crafts Plates, ca. 1905

Value (2007) | $1,500 Auction

GUEST:
I found these at a yard sale in Berkeley. They were being sold by a faculty member's wife. She had gotten them at an antiques shop a number of years previous to that and had been told that only four sets were made and that several of the sets were owned by very famous people. I discounted that, but I bought them because they're such wonderful Arts and Crafts pieces and because the quotes and the images are based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.

APPRAISER:
That is really the essence you get when you immediately put them down. You think, "Wow, Arts and Crafts." The wonderful design details that you have with the frieze of elephants across the top and the different animals in the handcrafted pieces that you tend to find in articles from this time period, which would have been, of course, the early 20th century. Now, you mention that you had a particular interest in them from a literary perspective.

GUEST:
Yes, because of the quotes from Kipling.

APPRAISER:
Each one of them has a different quote; each one of them has a different scene from Mowgli's life. And we talked a little bit about some of the phrasing that they used.

GUEST:
Yes, some of it is very much of the time.

APPRAISER:
And one of them, the quote is that, "Only the white man can control the jungle."

GUEST:
Yeah, up here it says, "He knew that when the jungle moves, only white men can hope to turn it aside."

APPRAISER:
Of course, that's very period. That's the early part of the 20th century. Those are Kipling's writings. So you look at that and you say, "Wow, that's not really what we want to be saying in today's society." That's not the current thinking. So we ask, does that really affect value? Well, because it's contemporaneous with the design of the plates, and because we can't erase the past, we can only acknowledge it and say, "We can do better than that." So, in that sense, it really doesn't affect value because it's early 20th century. But now I want to turn to the artist herself. And I'm going to turn this one over here. On the back it says "designed and copyrighted by Mary Bacon Jones." And it's published by Guerin of Limoges. Now, you had some questions about that because you thought that was rather unusual. Well, I found an article that was in the December 1911 House Beautiful and it talks about how she designed these, and it made it sound as if she actually had them commissioned to be made by the Limoges factory. And I thought, "Wow, for a woman in about 1910 to do that, to ship her designs"-- the article mentions that the early proofs sent by boat, the colors weren't strong enough, and she sent them back and wanted deeper colors. And then they were being marketed in an upscale shop of some sort. And I thought that was a really interesting thing.

GUEST:
How common was that for a woman at the turn of the century to do that kind of artistic and entrepreneurial activity?

APPRAISER:
It's very unusual. And for an artist to have copyrighted, designed and taken the time to send these to Limoges to have them hand painted...

GUEST:
Oh, see, I thought maybe they were transfer prints.

APPRAISER:
No, actually they are hand painted.

GUEST:
Is she likely to have sent drawings to Limoges or to have sent a set of plates she painted?

APPRAISER:
I would say most likely the drawings. When we talk about how many sets there could be out there, I've never seen a set like this before. I've actually...

GUEST:
So there might really only be four sets?

APPRAISER:
There might be. It depends on how many she commissioned. But they stand as wonderful examples on their own, and I would say that the three plates here, at auction, I would think would bring $500 apiece.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They're an absolute magnificent example of artist-decorated Limoges porcelain from this time period. They're just... they're just a real jewel.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin & Whitehurst Appraisal Group
Stuart, FL
Appraised value (2007)
$1,500 Auction
Event
Las Vegas, NV (August 18, 2007)
Form
Plate
Material
Porcelain

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.