Sterling Fit for a King

By Anne McCollam

September 15, 2017 4 min read

Q: I inherited the 58-piece Towle Silversmiths sterling silver flatware seen in this picture. It is a service for eight, and it includes a matching carving set. Inscribed on each piece are the letter "T" and the words "Sterling Pat. 1932." The set is in the original chest, and there is a label with the name "M. L. Naken Co. — Chicago — Il." My research shows Towle Silversmiths was founded in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1857 by Anthony F.Towle. I have been told the pattern is "King Richard." I believe the set was purchased in the 1950s or 1960s.

What could you tell me about the vintage and insurance value of my flatware?

A: Towle Silversmiths Company introduced the "King Richard" pattern in 1932. The silver chest was designed and patented by Morris I. Naken Company in Chicago in 1954. It was made of wood and intended to keep the sterling flatware from tarnishing.

Your sterling flatware is circa 1954 and should be insured for $2,500 to $3,500.

Q: This mark is on the base of a porcelain vase that originally belonged to my great-grandmother. It stands about 12 inches tall. On the front, it is decorated with clusters of pink roses and green leaves against a rich cream background. On the back is a smaller version of the roses. There are ornately scrolled handles that are gilded with gold. The vase is in mint condition.

What can you tell me about the maker, vintage and value of my vase?

A: Robert Hanke Porcelain Factory made your vase. It has been located in Ledvice, Bohemia, which is now the Czech Republic, since 1882. Many porcelain factories were drawn to the nearby area of Teplitz that was rich with deposits of a white clay called kaolin. Porcelain is a mixture of quartz, feldspar and fine-grained kaolin that is fired at a high temperature. The name Teplitz is based on the Czech word for "hot" because there are natural hot springs in the area. Not only was the area rich in natural resources; it was on a heavily traveled route, which generated opportunities for the success of porcelain factories. Robert Hanke Porcelain Factory is well-known for its high-quality porcelain vases, dishes and decorative pieces. The business closed in 1945.

Your vase was made around 1900 and would probably be worth $125 to $150.

 Towel Silversmiths Company was founded in 1857.
Towel Silversmiths Company was founded in 1857.
 Robert Hanke Porcelain Factory was in business from 1882 to 1945.
Robert Hanke Porcelain Factory was in business from 1882 to 1945.

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

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