Q: This set belonged to my mother. She acquired it at an estate sale during the Great Depression. It includes a porcelain pot, and six cups and saucers. The pieces are decorated with images of geishas dressed in kimonos, a white background and gold embellishment. The set is in mint condition.
Was it used for tea or hot chocolate? How much is it worth?
A: You have a hot chocolate set. The type and placement of the pot spout determines its use. Chocolate pot spouts are short and wide and placed at the top portion of the pot. Teapots are squat and have spouts that originate at the center. Coffee pots differ in that they have long spouts that begin at the base. As a rule, teapots and coffee pots have diffusers. Porcelain hot chocolate pots sets were very popular from around the mid-19th century until the early 1900s. Your set was made in Japan. It is an example of the Geisha Girl pattern that consisted of either hand-painted or stenciled designs of women in kimonos. Pagodas, temples, mountains, Japanese landscapes, flora and fauna were often featured in scenes. As a result of an increased interest in anything Asian, by 1900, there was a myriad of potters producing and exporting their wares for the Western market. Some pieces were sold in large department stores and dime stores, and used as premiums or giveaways.
Your hot chocolate set was made around 1900 and would probably be worth $75 to $125.
Q: I have sent you the mark that is on the bottom of a porcelain vase. The vase stands about 8 inches high and is in perfect condition. It is decorated with open roses against a green background. There are handles on either side.
What can you tell me about my vase?
A: The "R S Prussia" mark was used by Reinhold Schlegelmilch. His porcelain factories were located in Suhl and Tillowitz, Germany, from the late 1800s till 1917.Some pieces were hand-painted. Others were decorated using the transferware and hand-gilding techniques.
Your vase might sell in an antiques shop in the range of $125 to $150.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P.O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.