Napoleonic Sévres-Style Dish
My aunt bought the dish in Paris. She collected things with her initials on it. When she bought it, the antique dealer told her that it had once been owned by Napoleon, and he could tell that because it had bees on it. I've seen several references to Napoleon and his bees. It appeared to me to be rather crudely drawn. Of course, Napoleon was kind of a crude sort of a guy.
When did your aunt buy it, do you know?
Late '60s. I've been using it for asparagus.
Fair enough. Some of what your aunt was told was correct, some of what your aunt was told was incorrect. The eagle over the "N" within the wreath and the gilt bees, they're emblems that one associates with the Napoleonic empire of France. The porcelain factory that was doing the best work then and did do a lot of work for Napoleon was the Sèvres factory, and they were named the imperial manufacturer to the court. There is a mark it is a crowned mark and it does say "M. Imple," which would be manufacture imperial. Unfortunately, this mark is not for the Sèvres factory and nor do I think that the piece has any connection with Napoleon himself.
What it probably is, is a piece made in the 20th century by a French factory in Limoges. The large gilt crown that was part of that mark may very well be covering the actual manufacturer's mark for the porcelain itself and then it would have been decorated probably in Paris and with this totally spurious mark in terms of Napoleon's lifetime. You were right to think that the decoration on it was slightly crude. It may very well have been stenciled and then filled in with the gilding. It is basically almost tourist art in terms of trying to be connected in with the Napoleonic era. Very pretty, in excellent condition, not particularly valuable, and it may very well have been almost contemporary wit when your aunt purchased it.
So I can still keep my asparagus plate?
Absolutely keep your asparagus on it. Don't put it in the dishwasher or the condition of the gilding will be altered considerably.
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.