American Historical Staffordshire Platter by Joseph Heath & Company, ca. 1835

Value (2007) | $1,000 Retail$1,500 Retail
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GUEST:
This is my great-great- grandfather's platter, and he won it in a turkey shoot in approximately 1866, 1867. He lived in Fulton County, Illinois, at the time. And it was very special to him, and he came home one day to find his daughters using it to carry the wet laundry out to the clothesline and he became very upset, took it away from them and gave it to his brand-new daughter-in-law, which is my great-grandmother, and knew that she would take care of it. And she, in fact, had a cabinet made for it, to display it. And she's passed it on down through the family.

APPRAISESR: Just looking at the front of it, we can tell that this is an English transferware platter--

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
--probably made in the Staffordshire region of England. Now, Staffordshire is not a name of a manufacturer, but just an area of England where many different manufacturers were located. The decorative process is transferware. So they would take a decal-- or a transfer-- and it would be laid on the pottery during the manufacturing process, and it would be fired, and then a glaze would go over the decal to make it permanent, so it would not fade; would not wash away.

GUEST:
To seal it?

APPRAISER:
To seal it; yes. It's very typical to have a border like this that's very floral. Sometimes you would see birds, fruit. The center is also very typical of that time period. Here we have a farmhouse and a farmer in late 18th or early 19th century dress. We have his cow. Just a wonderful pastoral scene.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Now, let's take a look at the back of it. Now, here we see that there's a mark, and it says, "The Residence of the Late Richard Jordan, New Jersey," and it says, "J.H. & Company."

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
That is the title of the pattern, and J.H. & the Company--

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
--stands for the name of the manufacturer, which is Joseph Heath & Company. This company was in business from about 1829 to 1843,

GUEST:
Oh, wow!

APPRAISER:
which adds a little interesting dimension to the story. If he got it in the 1860s, then it was not new when he got it as a prize.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Now, what's really great about this is it says, "New Jersey." That's New Jersey in America. It's not an English scene.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
So this platter falls into a special area of collecting, which is called historical Staffordshire transferware, which are scenes that were made in England specifically for the American market, showing American scenes. This pattern came in several different colors, but this is the most typical color in this pattern. Now, most transferware is blue-- we think of blue and white, but they also came in many colors, like this lavender-purple color, green, brown, red, and other colors.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Now, there's a small area that looks like blue. Right in here, there's kind of a blue area, and then kind of a little weak area. That's just a manufacturing flaw.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
This type of pottery, when it was made, was very inexpensive. They didn't care about flaws too much, 'cause it was cheap, everyday stuff. If this were just a typical English scene, the value would probably be somewhere in the $300-to-$500 range.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
But because this is an American scene, it is much more desirable.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
A retail value for this platter to a collector of American historical Staffordshire would likely be somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.

GUEST (laughs): Oh, wow, that's amazing!

APPRAISER:
Well, thanks very much for bringing it in-- I enjoyed seeing it.

GUEST:
Thank you. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, Texas
Appraised value (2007)
$1,000 Retail$1,500 Retail
Event
Spokane, WA (August 04, 2007)
Period
19th Century
Form
Plate
Material
Ceramic
October 27, 2008: In this segment, appraiser David Lackey characterizes the man depicted on the Staffordshire platter as a "farmer," because at the time of the recording he was unsure of his identity. Thanks to a viewer in Camden, New Jersey, we now know more about his identity. According to the Web site "Art & Architecture of New Jersey," the man with the walking stick is Quaker preacher and anti-slavery activist Richard Jordan (1756-1826), on his farm near present-day Camden, as sketched toward the end of his life by his friend William Mason.

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