Japanese Enameled Earthenware, ca. 1910

Value (2003) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

GUEST:
This china was given to my great-great-grandfather, who was a diplomat in the Royal Danish government. He was in Thailand at the time that Thailand was Siam. He went to visit the king of Siam and when he was at lunch with the king, he mentioned that he really liked the china and so the king gifted him a large portion of the set-- service for 36 people-- and it's been passed down from generation to generation.

APPRAISER:
We have a type of decoration which is called enamel decoration. And that's seen here on all these pieces-- they have these bands of flowers. These designs are fantastically intricate, and these were enamel colors that were applied, and when they were applied, most of these colors were colorless. They only achieved the color that you see there now when they were heated to a specific temperature in the kiln.

GUEST:
They had to know what they were doing.

APPRAISER:
Exactly. The shape overall, it's a western shape. This is exactly the kind of service one would see from any number of ceramic companies that operated in the United States or in England during the early part of the 20th century. So the dating of it, I would say, is around 1910, 1915. So now we want to find out where this was made. We see there's a mark, and the mark is an Asian character which stand for the characters "Kinkazan." Kinkazan is a very well known Japanese ceramic company operating around 1890, 1900, 1910, And they made large services in a western style.

GUEST:
Interesting.

APPRAISER:
And that is confirmed by the creamy color of the clay which is a high-fired earthenware.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Okay?

GUEST:
Earthenware. Interesting.

APPRAISER:
Generally large sets of dishes like this don't have a lot of value... because they made so many of them.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Big, large sets. But the quality of the workmanship, the enamel decoration... It's beautifully painted, all done by hand. And this is extremely rare. You've got a very valuable service.

GUEST:
Wow. Neat.

APPRAISER:
And if you were to put this service... And I have to say, it's a service for eight that you have, personally. Your family overall has a service for 36?

GUEST:
The original gift was a service of 36.

APPRAISER:
Your service is going to be worth in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.

GUEST:
That's wonderful.

APPRAISER:
So it's really a terrific example of what you can find that is 20th century, made in large quantities in Asia, that has a value that far exceeds what you would expect to see if you had a comparable item made in the United States or Europe.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, NY
Appraised value (2003)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
Event
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)
Period
20th Century
Form
Plate, Service
Material
Earthenware

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