Paul Milet Vase, ca. 1915
This vase belonged to my mother-in-law Shirley. She had some interesting clients, and one of them gave her this vase as a gift.
The mark says "M.P." and "Sèvres." Sèvres is one of those magic names, it's one of the most important names. So I thought that the M.P. meant manufacture de porcelaine. Not so. The M.P. is really for a gentleman called Paul Milet. And that studio was in Sèvres. There was a lawsuit pending from the big porcelain Sèvres, the manufacture that thought, "Hmm, people are going to see "this M.P. mark and think that the product comes from us." So therefore you have to cease and desist and change your mark." So in 1930, Paul Milet changed his mark from M.P. to P.M. P.M. So this vase would easily go at auction between $1,000 and $1,500, and may very well bring up to $2,000.
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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.
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