French Palissy Ware Mantle Clock, ca. 1880

Value (2011) | $4,000 Auction$10,000 Retail

I know it's a piece of Majolica. It was something that my husband purchased because I liked Majolica, but not necessarily this type. He also liked clocks. I thought he said at one time that it was a French clock, but I don't think it is. He had many types of collections over the years.

When you say you're a Majolica collector but not this kind of Majolica, what is it about this that doesn't speak to you?

That guy.

(both laugh)

He's eyeing you at the moment.

I know he is. I love the colors, the colors are beautiful.

That's always what grabs Majolica collectors. Interestingly enough, what you don't like about this object is exactly what would make this object appealing to a collector. This is an example of what's referred to as Palissy Ware. And the point of Palissy Ware is all of the creepy crawlies that are sometimes applied to it. In France, in particular in Paris and in Tours in the 19th century, there were a group of ceramists that were working in the style of a man active in the 16th century called Bernard Palissy, and applying normally oval platters, circular platters, with fish and crustaceans and amphibians and shells and all kinds of small creepy crawlies and leaves. This particular piece has all of that going for it. It's modeled as a grotto, very popular. All of this is meant to be dripping water. It's very, very rare to have something like this that is a ceramic clock case. Your husband was right-- the clock itself is French-- but interestingly enough, the clock was retailed in America. Canfield Brothers and Co. was kind of Baltimore's answer to a Tiffany & Co., or Bailey Banks & Biddle. They were jewelry stores that retailed ine art objects. Now, what's very interesting is that the ceramic of the clock is signed. And if we turn it around, there is a very prominent incised "AB" monogram. That "AB" stands for Achille Barbizet. Now, Barbizet is the name of the ceramics firm started by Achille's father, Victor, in the 1850s, '60s. Victor himself died around 1870, and the son took over and continued manufacturing under the name of Maison Barbizet. Canfield went out of business in 1881. So this piece can be dated to between, say, 1875 and 1881. Now, the fact that it is rare does not necessarily make it more valuable, because Palissy Ware collectors tend to prefer to focus on the flat, large, oval platters than they do the three-dimensional pieces. This piece is in pretty good condition. It has a few little chips. And up here on the top would have originally been a small little urn. Do you have any idea what your husband will have paid for it, and how many years ago did he find it?

About 15 to 20 years ago, and I have absolutely no idea what he paid for it.

If this piece were to come at auction, I would say, conservatively, it would bring $4,000 to $6,000. Retail, it wouldn't surprise me if somebody sold it in a shop for as much as $10,000.

I guess I'll have to learn to like that guy.

I think that he obviously likes you. He hasn't stopped looking at you the whole time.

I noticed. I can see his teeth.

Appraisal Details

New York, NY
Appraised value (2011)
$4,000 Auction$10,000 Retail
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)
19th Century

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.