Q: This is a photo of a pottery vase that my mother gave me. It is decorated with a matte green drip glaze over rose. It is about 6 inches tall, and it is in perfect condition. The bottom is not glazed, and the clay is an off-white color. It is marked with the letter "A." There are no mold marks, and the surface feels as though it was hand-turned on the potter wheel. My mother told me it was made by Muncie Pottery in Indiana. She is from Indiana and collects vintage objects made in the state.
What can you tell me about my vase?
A: Your mother is correct. Your vase was made by Muncie Pottery. It was located in Muncie, Indiana, from 1922 to 1939. Vases, flower frogs, water sets, bowls, candlesticks, wall pockets and bookends were just some of the wares. Its early art pottery that was made between 1922 and 1925 and was not always marked. In 1927, the pottery began marking the bottom of the wares with the name "Muncie," along with numbers and letters. The later pieces did not use additional numbers or letters. Muncie pottery was both molded and hand-thrown. Finishers used a letter A through K to identify their pieces, and molders used a Roman numeral or numbers 2 through 6. Your vase was hand-thrown by finisher "A." Muncie Pottery head ceramist James Wilkins created most of the drip and matte glazes. The simplicity of the pottery was appealing; none of the ware was decorated with scenes or designs. Muncie Pottery also made lamp bases for Aladdin Lamp Co.
Your circa-1925 hand-thrown vase would probably be worth $75 to $125.
Q: I have a set of porcelain dinnerware. This mark is on each piece. In 1955 in Germany, as the young bride of a United States military man, I bought the set of china. The pattern is "Elvira," and I have learned it was discontinued in 1955. I guess I got the last of the set! Anyway, I'm now 86 years old, and I would like to know its value. The last estimate I got several years ago was about $2,000 for the complete service for 12, including the large platter, large soup bowls and other serving pieces. My daughter is not interested, but perhaps one of my grandchildren would appreciate it. At any rate, if they were to throw it away, I would want them to know what it is worth. I love my set, but since I'm not entertaining or traveling much, it is rarely used and still in brand-new condition.
What can you tell me about my china?
A: Hutschenreuther Porcelain was founded in 1814 in Hohenberg, Bavaria, Germany. Vintage fine china dinnerware sets have dramatically diminished in value in the recent decade. Similar sets can be seen selling for as low as $400 to $800.
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.