German "Four Seasons" Porcelain Figurines, ca. 1865
I rescued them when the family was cleaning out my husband's grandmother's place. Nobody wanted them. I had never seen them before, but they called and said they know they're old, and so I said I will take them and care for them. What I do know is that my husband's great-grandfather bought them at an antique store in Illinois for his wife. It sounds like a housewarming gift sometime in the '40s.
And do you know what they depict?
The family's always called them the four seasons.
The one next to you is spring, and the one following that is summer. The next one is fall and we see she's got wheat in her hair and in her hands. And then the last one is obviously winter. She's wearing more clothes. We've got ice dripping out of her jar. The quality is so great. The modeling on these is remarkable. Her drapery is so clearly and crisply modeled. Also on this other one, all the little flowers in the dress are painted. And we can see those in the front and the detailing here over on the cornucopia is really, really nice. We're certain that they're German because the way they're made. They're very much in the Meissen style, but they are definitely not copies of anything that Meissen ever made. Meissen is the top German company. They set a precedent of really high quality, and most of the other people who were working in their style just didn't live up to the quality. These figures are made out of hard paste porcelain. Hard paste is an attribute of German porcelain. They pretty much only made hard paste. We're fairly certain that these date somewhere between about 1850 and 1880. Oh, wow. So they do have some very nice age. We have a fairly clean break here on this wrist, but it's glued back together fairly well. And since it's in a kind of unseen spot, it doesn't affect the value that much.
So, taking into consideration the age, the quality, the condition, which is almost perfect, our estimate that these would have a retail value between $1,500 and $2,000.
If we did additional research, we might figure out who made them and that might help the value a little bit.
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