1862 Minton Majolica Fountain

Value (2012) | $30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I saw an ad in a paper.

APPRAISER:
Uh-huh.

GUEST:
It says, "An estate sale." And I thought, "I'd better check this out." This was just about 30 years ago.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And I walked in, and my eyes spotted this magnificent majolica fountain.

APPRAISER:
And you had to have it.

GUEST:
And I had to have it.

APPRAISER:
And you told your husband you had to have it.

GUEST:
I said, "I have to have it."

APPRAISER:
So kicking and screaming, he bought it for you. Well, that's great. Why don't I tell you just a little bit about it?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's made by the English firm of Minton. And there was a man named Minton who had traveled through Europe. And going through the French region of Rouen in 1849 he found a type of semi-opalescent glaze that he wanted to put on his wares. And he went back and instructed his factory to start making these wares. Now, some of the best artists of the time were commissioned to create sculptures and designs which he incorporated into his fountains. Each piece of majolica, especially from this time period, is marked with a date cipher. So if we look on the bottom here, you will see that there is this mark here.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
That triangle and cross conform to the year 1862.

GUEST:
Oh, yes.

APPRAISER:
And so it's very easy to date them.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
See how marvelously it's modeled down here at the bottom.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
You have the beautiful mask here, and the foliate festoons, terminating in mask handles. It is just a fantastic piece of majolica. Now, I noticed that there was a monogram here.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Did you have a story about that at all?

GUEST:
Yes, yes. I was told that it was made for Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the poet.

APPRAISER:
Well, that... given that I could find "A" and "T" in that, it's possible. And certainly Tennyson was well known enough in his time that...

GUEST:
Yes, and the story goes that he had returned from Italy, and at that time he had been made the poet laureate.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
And this was a presentation to him from his neighbors.

APPRAISER:
How wonderful.

GUEST:
Isn't that beautiful?

APPRAISER:
It's certainly a possibility. What we can say for certain is that it's just about as good a piece of majolica as you're going to find. It's just wonderful.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Let me ask you a question. How much did you pay for it 30 years ago?

GUEST:
$300.

APPRAISER:
Did you really?

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Do you know how much it's worth now?

GUEST:
Tell me.

APPRAISER:
It's worth probably about $30,000 to $50,000.

GUEST:
Yow!

APPRAISER:
It's a wonderful piece.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And I understand you use it as a planter.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, keep good plants in it, for goodness sake.

GUEST:
Orchids.

APPRAISER:
There you go, perfect.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin & Whitehurst Appraisal Group
Stuart, FL
Update (2012)
$30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$30,000 Auction$50,000 Auction
Event
Hartford, CT (August 22, 1998)
Period
19th Century
Form
Fountain
Material
Majolica

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.