1857 Minton Oyster Plate
When I think of food in New Orleans, the first thing I think of is oysters, and it's absolutely appropriate that you have brought in, more or less the holy grail of oyster plates to us, here in New Orleans, at one of the oyster capitals of the world. This particular plate, as you're aware, was made by Minton. It has a datemark on the bottom. You inquired about the date, and we were able to decipher the datemark, which is not able to see-- it's so tiny-- but this piece was made in 1857. This particular piece is very interesting, in that it has a mechanism which allows it to spin and turn to serve oysters around the table, and these mechanisms on this particular piece are usually gone. These don't turn up very often, but they certainly don't turn up very often with that type of mechanism. One reason that this is such a great oyster plate, it holds over two dozen oysters and, also, it appeals to majolica collectors. Because of its rarity, its age and its great design, this piece usually sells for between $10,000 and $15,000. That's a lot of money for an oyster plate, and you'd have to eat a lot of oysters to maybe justify having a piece that expensive.
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