Meissen Plate, ca. 1880

Value (2004) | $2,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

I bought it from a friend who was an antique dealer, and they probably had had it maybe five years, and I've had it over 25. They told me that they thought it was a very valuable plate and they thought there had been very few of them made and that possibly it was in Napoleon II or III's palace.

Well, I'm going along with all of that. Napoleon III it would be. And it certainly could date from as early as the 1870s, though I'd be more inclined to say the 1880s. But the quality is good enough for Napoleon III or, indeed, any of the crowned heads Europe. It's as good a quality piece of porcelain of this period as we'll ever see. It's superbly painted, and it's a copy of a well-known painting by Peter Paul Rubens. And it was quite common for Continental porcelain manufacturers of the 19th century to copy Old Master paintings, paintings that they had access to in European museums. You can see on the back, perhaps one of the best known marks that we'll ever see on porcelain, the crossed swords. There are dozens and dozens of porcelain makers that use the crossed swords mark, but the most famous one is the Meissen Company. And Meissen have been making porcelain for almost 300 years now, and it's difficult to tell when it was made, because they used the same mark for a long time. But the quality and the style of the porcelain, including the border, which you can see is pierced, and the concept there is you could thread a ribbon through it, which is something of a uniquely late-Victorian idea. But everything about it is very characteristic of that time. You can see underneath, they've titled it "Meleager und Atalante," after Peter Paul Rubens. And when you bought it from that antiques dealer, how much did you pay for it?

Five hundred dollars. And it was a friend of mine.

So they gave you a good price.

Right, so they said.

Well, they did, and that's a lot of money to spend on a plate, especially 20 years ago or so, so you were brave to do it. But if you buy the best quality things, very hard to go wrong with them. Today, Meissen of this period and this quality is very much in demand-- it's a very hot plate at the moment.

Really? Great.

I spoke to a couple of my colleagues about what we think it would bring if it came up at auction. And my initial response was I think it would bring at least $2,000, and I got estimates quite a bit higher than that. So I'm going to suggest as a range of estimates anything from about $2,000 to as much as $5,000 at auction.

Thank you.

You're very welcome.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Appraised value (2004)
$2,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Memphis, TN (July 31, 2004)

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