Haviland & Company Limoges Oyster Plates, ca. 1890
They've been in my mother's family for as long as I can remember. I don't have any idea how old they are. They could have been a wedding present to my parents. They could have been a wedding present to my grandparents. We never used them since my wife and I have had them. My mother used to use them at different cocktail parties and whatnot. We showed them to a fellow one time at an antique store, antique dealer, and he didn't have a lot to say about them. And he offered us, I think, $300 for the set.
The most striking thing about these particular oyster plates is the decoration. There's this wonderful array of sea life all over them, all kinds of different shells, fishes, sea horses, starfish. I just love all the different array of designs on them. These decorations look hand- painted when you look at them, but actually they are not. They're all decals and transfers. Now, oyster plates became very popular in the late 19th century, and there's one really interesting reason that they did is because of railways and refrigeration, they were able to ice press oysters and ship them across the country to wherever someone lived, and therefore, oyster plates became very popular. Now let's take a look at the marks on these. These have two marks. There's a green underglaze mark which says, "H. & Co L." And that means that it was made by Haviland & Company in Limoges, France. It means they made the plate. The second mark is overglaze, and it's red. It says, "Haviland & Co., Limoges." And that means it was also decorated at the Haviland factory. The Haviland factory made a lot of china, plain white, and sold it plain white, and those pieces would have not had the red mark. Now, because these do not include the word "France," they may have been made as early as the 1880s, or they may have been made in the 1890s, but somewhere 1880s, 1890s....
which is at the height of the oyster fad. If these were Haviland and they were plain white, they'd be okay, but they might only sell for $50, $75. If they just had gold trim like these, and some pretty flowers, they'd be a little better. They might be $100, $150. But because these have all this wonderful sea life all over them, and because they're in great condition, if they were being sold in a retail situation to a specialized collector of oyster plates, they might pay somewhere between $300 and $400 each because of the great decoration.
Now, someone might say, "Well, the complete set, it would be worth more money." But this is one case a set is not more valuable. Most oyster plate collectors, they don't want sets. They want singles. They want one of each plate to display in their collection, so the set is no more valuable because, really, they would be easier to sell individually to a collector than as a complete set. Thanks for bring them in. It's really a great set, I enjoyed seeing it.
I appreciate it very much.
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Last Tango in Halifax
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