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Monday, February 8, 2010

Porcelain Appraisal Reveals High Values

For centuries porcelain has been an important part of a well-stocked home and especially in eras past has been a popular way of displaying one’s wealth and status. Ranging from lavishly decorated creations to plates and serving vessels of pristine simplicity and quality, European companies scrambled to discover the methods behind Chinese porcelain before producing them for the wealthy elites of Europe. These fine items are passed down for generations as family heirlooms but are often overlooked as a valuable item worth getting appraised and insured. Museums and private collectors alike seek out items by these famous European manufacturers with an eye for the old, the unique, and the items with stories to tell and it is important for owners of such items to seek out professional advice concerning their heirloom porcelain.

Antiques Roadshow Discovery
The monetary value of these items is illustrated by an Antiques Roadshow discovery that was broadcast in England this month. A woman from south Wales was surprised to hear that a large porcelain meat plate that had been inherited from a family member was worth more than 100,000 GBP ($156,235). The piece, which was haphazardly displayed in her home, was brought to the Roadshow evaluation in a shopping bag, an afterthought that seems to have paid off. The woman and her husband traveled to the evaluation with more interest in their group of antique books but came out with this stunning evaluation and a better understanding of its importance and history. The hard-paste plate was a part of a dinner service set made for Fredrick the Great, a Prussian king of the Hohenzollern dynasty who reigned for most of the 18th century. The incredible appraisal value is due to its great detail and unique heritage or provenance; a piece much smaller than the plate from the same set recently sold for 31,000 GBP ($48,414).

Porcelain Appraisal

MIR’s art appraisers have a great deal of experience evaluating and researching porcelain, and items in MIR’s collection reflect this knowledge. On the walls and in the various china cabinets are displayed plates, serving vessels, candle holders and tea sets made from some of the world’s most renowned manufacturers, giving MIR’s appraisers physical reference points for the evaluation of such items. Porcelain is usually divided into two categories, hard-paste and soft-paste, both of which MIR houses in its research repertoire.

Hard-Paste Porcelain: Meissen

Founded in 1710, Meissen is credited with being the first factory in Europe to make hard-paste porcelain, keeping the process as its own for 50 years. Hard-paste porcelain is considered true porcelain and is composed of kaolin (china clay) and petuntse (china stone) which allows for a unique hard white substance to be created when combined and heated to a high temperature. A process that originated in China because of the prevalence of the necessary ingredients, Meissen revolutionized the European porcelain scene by finally being able to replicate the porcelain much admired by European collectors. MIR has a number of Meissen plates in its collection including one that displays the various incarnations of the trademark blue crossed swords that have come to stand for quality in porcelain.

Soft-Paste Porcelain: Capodimonte

Capodimonte porcelain has been a well-known porcelain manufacturer since its founding by Charles III, king of Naples, in 1743. Identified by a blue “N” with a crown on top of it, Capodimonte porcelain is often ornate and colorful and includes raised/relief designs. Made of soft-paste, the items are created from a combination of white clay and ground glass and considered artificial porcelain because of the absence of kaolin. Soft-paste porcelain was first produced in Florence in the late 16th century and is skillfully used to create the floral bouquets and ornate mythological renderings typical of Capodimonte porcelain. Among MIR’s Capodimonte holdings are a group of five gold colored cups complete with saucer displaying raised mythological scenes rendered in brilliant colors and complete with faux coral handles. The pieces speak to the ornamental possibilities of the soft-paste medium.

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. seeks to provide you with quality appraisals on your fine art items. MIR employs a range of appraisers with various specialties in the fine arts and places a premium on research and customer satisfaction. Located in Chicago on Michigan Avenue, MIR has worked with both local and international clients who submit information on their items accompanied with detailed images. Contact MIR and set up an appointment for consultation; call or visit our website for more information on our services.

Written and Researched by Justin Bergquist

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

Principal Appraiser & Director: Farhad Radfar, ISA, AM

307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308

Chicago, IL 60601

(312) 814-8510

Works Cited:

“Porcelain,” in Oxford Art Online

Simon de Bruxelles. “German Meat Dish Become Antiques Roadshow’s Most Valuable Plate,” on The London Times Online


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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.