Children's Porcelain "Automobile" China, ca. 1905
My father-in-law, he was born in the 1890s. I'm not certain exactly when or where, but they were his as a child. He always talked about them. Then, he passed away and they came to me.
They're German porcelain and they were made for children as gifts. You could buy not just sugar bowl and creamers, but plates and little cups, and things like that to give to children, infants. Childrensware was often treasured and rarely used. Most of these were very inexpensive when they were new. You'd buy them in a five and dime, or a general store. You wouldn't expect them to be hand-painted.
They're decals, transfer prints. If these were just plain white, which some of them are, they would literally be worth $1 or be a garage sale item. If they had flowers on them, they might be perhaps $5 for the two. But they don't. They have decoration on them that gives them value. These are nursery rhyme-type animals. There's a cow, and a goat. There's a chicken, a goose. Here's a dog and a cat. The dogs and cats are really elevating the value right away because there are people who collect dog- and cat- decorated ware. Instead of being worth $1 or $5, just with the dogs and cats, they're going up to perhaps $40 or $50. Let's turn it around and see what else is on it. You've got on both pieces an automobile. Now, you say he was born in the 1890s. The automobile was really born around the 1890s, as well. You see very little images of automobiles at this period. I would date this to about 1905, by the way, by the style of the automobile and by the porcelain itself. This is very early in the history of the motor car to see an image on anything, and certainly on a piece of porcelain like that. That automobile image trumps everything in terms of value. I would say, because they are this period, with the automobile, the pair of them in a good antique shop would certainly sell for about $150 or perhaps as much as $200.
In a case like this, it's all about the decoration.
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