19th-Century Fake Sèvres Box & Fake Ludwigsburg Urn
Well, I understand that in January 11, 1981, you attended an auction and you bought these two impressive pieces of porcelain. Tell me about how you happened to attend that auction.
The auction was from the estate of a daughter of a gentleman by the name of J.C. Rogers, who was one of the early founders of Wamego, Kansas, where I grew up.
So you've saved the catalog, which I think is very interesting, and both of these pieces are actually pictured and identified in the catalog.
Yes, they are.
And so tell me what you paid for both of these.
We paid $475 for the urn and $525 for the Sèvres box.
Okay, well, an interesting thing to point out about both of these pieces of porcelain is this is the type of very impressive, very showy porcelains that were very popular with collectors in the United States especially in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s. This one here is a beautifully hand-painted and hand-gilded box. On the bottom, there is a mark that would indicate that it was made by the Sèvres Company, which is a very famous and well respected French company. The letter marks inside it would indicate that it was made in the 18th century. This piece here has some very interesting marks on it as well. Someone, a long time ago, has done a great deal of research, and they've put all kinds of labels on the bottom indicating who made it, when it was made, where it was made and all that sort of thing. And also here we have a very faint gold mark that would indicate that it was made by the Ludwigsburg Company sometime between the 1750s and the 1820s. Unfortunately, the bad news is that they're both fakes. These were both made in Europe, probably in Germany or Austria, possibly in France. And they were hand painted with very high quality skill in imitation of things that had been made before, then put fake marks on them about a hundred years ago. Modern scholarship in the last 20 or 30 years has shown that most of these things were actually not made by these companies at all. That's the bad news. However, the good news is they're still very valuable. Not all fakes are valueless, so actually your investment hasn't turned out to be all that bad. This beautiful detailed box here would probably retail somewhere between $1,000 and $1,250 now, even with the spurious or pseudo Sèvres mark on the bottom. And this beautiful urn here, due to the high decorative appeal and high quality, would probably retail easily for between $1,500 and $2,500.
Thank you very much.
Okay, thanks for coming in.
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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."
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