Our collectors always contribute the most interesting pieces, and this month they have sent us a wonderful group, from a prized piece of porcelain worth thousands to a Victorian skirt lifter, something that was useful for a brief period more than 100 years ago and then passed into the category of historical curiosity. We’re also looking at an Alaskan woven basket, a Japanese china service and a table lamp that would be at home in many different settings today.
Q. I collect Belleek items and am wondering if you knew anything about this item. It is one solid, hollow piece. It has a gold cap where you can (try to) pour liquid in. The rim is hollow. Thank you for any information you might be able to share. SW, Happy Valley
A. Belleek porcelain originated in the late 1850s on an estate owned by John Caldwell Bloomfield in the hamlet of Belleek in County Fermanagh, Ireland. His pottery first produced stoneware then transitioned to Parian porcelain, a delicate, pearly white china with intricate handwork and a very smooth finish. The company was sold to a giftware brand conglomerate in the early 1990s, and the original hand craftsmanship went into decline. Uncommon antique Belleek pieces, like yours, are highly prized in the collectibles market today, and your scent bottle dates to around 1863-1890. At auction, it might bring a sale price of $2,000-$3,000. A dealer specializing in Belleek might ask $3,000-$4,000, or even more if it is in excellent undamaged condition. On another note, you may be interested in the Portland chapter of the Belleek Collectors International Society (columbiachapterbcis.com).
Q. This lamp belonged to my husband’s grandmother who was born in 1900. We can’t find any markings. The base is brass and the markings on the shade seem Asian. It’s in very good condition. The brass base is 9 inches; shade is 13 inches top to bottom and 60 inches around. We’re hoping you can give us some information. JD, Silverton
A. Your lamp dates to the first quarter of the 20th century. While it does have an Asian style design, it is American, made of panels of slag glass decorated in metal overlay. Slag glass is a type of pressed glass made from the “slag” left over after the iron smelting process. This pattern has been attributed at times to both the Empire Lamp & Brass Company of Chicago and to HE Rainaud of Meriden, Connecticut. At auction, similar lamps have recently sold for $600-$900. A dealer specializing in period American lighting might ask $1,000-$1,500 if it is in excellent original condition.
Q. This basket may have come from Alaska. It is 15 inches across and 1 ½ inches deep. It belonged to my grandmother. It is wicker and has small leather handles on both sides. The colors in the inside are very faded but the colors on the bottom are still fairly visible as blue, red, and brown. PC, Hillsboro
A. Your tray or low basket was made by Athabascan people, from inland Alaska. While they most commonly made birch bark baskets, they also made coiled baskets such as this. Yours is of coiled willow rod with cedar root for the wrapping material. Based on your photographs, the basket may date to the second quarter of the 20th century. At auction, you might see an estimate of $200-$300. A dealer specializing in Native American art might ask $600-$900 if it were in bright, unfaded condition. Many thanks for this evaluation to Arthur Erickson of Arthur W. Erickson, Inc., in Portland.
Q. I imagine you are inundated with requests of this nature, but I can find precious little information about an antique, complete service for six, hand painted china set, that I’ve had for many years. I need to downsize and would like to find out an approximate value. Any information would be greatly appreciated. KK, Nehalem
A. Your table service is Japanese, likely entirely hand painted and, based on the style of decoration, likely dates to the second quarter of the 20th century. There were hundreds of manufacturers during this period, and we were unable to identify the specific manufacturer using this mark. Assuming this is a service for six with dinner plates, salad plates, fruit cups, cups and saucers, you might see an auction sale of $100-$150. A dealer might give the set a retail price tag of $300-$400 if it is in undamaged condition.
Q. I’m hoping you can help me figure out what this thing is. I believe it was my great-grandmother’s and likely used at the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th. No one in the family knows what this is or what it’s supposed to do. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. It’s about 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide at the widest part. The shield looking piece does move down if the top two prongs are squeezed together. CM, Northeast Portland
A. This very interesting piece is a Victorian skirt-lifter, a common accessory for fashionable upper-class women who wanted to keep their skirts clear of muddy, debris-laden streets. It would be attached to a chatelaine or belt, could be fastened to dress hems without damaging the fragile fabric, and would leave the woman’s hands free. Such items were introduced around 1846 and remained popular until the turn of the century, when fashions changed and long, heavy skirts were relegated to history. At auction, this might sell for $70-$100. A dealer specializing in period antique dress and vanity items might ask $150-$250 for such an item.
The values discussed for items featured in this column were researched by Portland appraiser Jerry l. Dobesh, ASA, an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers, with a specialty designation in Antiques & Decorative Arts. His services include providing appraisals for estate tax, charitable contribution, insurance scheduling and loss, and equitable distribution needs.
To find an appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America. Estimates suggested in this Collectibles column are for general information purposes only and cannot be used as a basis for sale, insurance, or IRS purposes.
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