Late 19th-Century French Porcelain Coffee Service
You purchased this back in the '70s, is that right?
I bought it because I hoped it was what I was told it was and if I needed it, I could sell it for my kids' education.
Do you remember how much you paid for it?
I paid just about $300.
All right, well, let's look at it very quickly. It's a coffee service. It's what we call a tete-a-tete in French. The box is silk-lined. It's very plush. It's beautifully made. There are some information on the bottom of the pieces that if we lift it out, we can see that it says "Imperial of Sevres," which is the royal porcelain factory that was in France. So it gives us a lot of information just quickly looking at it. But I think when you're looking at porcelains, you have to look very, very carefully at some of the details. What I see immediately is that it is transfer decorated. It is not hand-painted. If this mark was right, we would date this piece to somewhere about 1804 to 1805 in the time of Napoleon I, which is what the crest that we're seeing as well as his imperial bees. And we have this little lid that goes on here. But since it is later, when you look at the mark more carefully, it's very quickly put on, very hastily manufactured. The crest itself is slightly crooked on the cup, so it was hastily done. So I think it was something that was made in Paris late in the 19th century to look early 19th century. If it were Sevres, if it were 1804 to 1805, a tete-a-tete such as this would probably be worth somewhere in the range of about $30,000.
As is, since it's late 19th century, I think you still did all right paying $300 for it, but unfortunately it's only worth about $800 to $1,000 now.
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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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Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.