Q: I have owned the item seen in this photo for some time and really don't know what it is used for or if it has any value. The female figurine is porcelain and attached to the whisk broom. Her hair is blond, and she has rosy cheeks, a pink ribbon around her neck and a white top. I don't know what kinds of bristles were used to make the broom, but they seem to be very sturdy and are all intact. The yellow ribbon on the bodice of the figurine is stained but otherwise in good condition. There are no manufacturer's marks on it. I think it may have been used to clean crumbs from the dining table.
Perhaps you can help me figure it all out. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
A: You have a whisk broom doll that was made in the 1920s. It was used to whisk table crumbs off a tablecloth into a container. A porcelain half doll was attached to a whisk broom. Ribbon or lace was used to cover the area where the two pieces joined. They were usually about 7 to 8 inches tall. Many half dolls were made in either Germany or Japan. Half dolls were also used in pincushions, tea cozies and powder boxes.
Your porcelain half-doll whisk broom would probably be worth $25 to $50.
Q: This mark is on a set of porcelain dishes I inherited. It is a service for 12 and includes three serving platters, two serving bowls with lids, a gravy boat, a cream pitcher and a sugar bowl. Each piece is white porcelain and decorated with multicolored pastel floral sprays on the bands and gold-scrolled trim.
I plan to pass the set along to my daughter and would like to know more about its history. What is the insurance value and vintage?
A: Royal Bayreuth porcelain was founded by Wilhelm Greiner and Johann Schmidt in 1794 in Tettau, Bavaria, Germany. Over the years, the company experienced wars, financial problems, several owners and a devastating fire that destroyed molds and records. The factory has been nestled in the Thuringian Hills near the Tettau village for over 200 years. It continues to produce exceptionally fine porcelain, similar to Meissen. In addition to dinnerware, it made coffee and tea sets, novelties and figural lines.
Vintage porcelain dinnerware isn't in demand on today's market. If you are planning to keep your set in the family, the insurance value would probably be in the range from $1,000 to $2,000.
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.