Porcelain figures look old, valuable, but looks are deceiving


Hello,

I bought these figures at a masked ball about 20 years ago. They are well made with the colors and gold trim undamaged. I would appreciate anything you could tell me about their origin and value. I liked them when I bought them and now have a sentimental attachment.

Thank you,

J. M. R.

Dear J. M. R.:

Back shortly after the earth’s crust cooled, one of us bought a set of cups and saucers that were marked with the crossed blue arrows found on the pair of porcelain figures in today’s question. Preliminary research suggested they were potentially very old and perhaps quite valuable. But it was not long before we discovered we had been deceived.

The pieces belonging to J. M. R. are quite attractive and have the look of early to mid-19th century bisque figures probably made in France or England. Unfortunately, the pieces were made a century later, continent away from Europe and across a vast ocean or two.

Forty years ago, when the cups and saucers with the blue arrow marks were discovered, one of us hoped they were made by St. Cloud, the French late 17th/early 18th century porcelain manufacturer. Those thoughts were quickly dashed because the type of porcelain was wrong. But there were other companies that used crossed arrow marks.

One was the Kalk Porcelain Factory, located in Eisenberg, Thuringia, Germany, and the other was R. Bloch Porcelain of Paris. Either might be a possibility, and Kalk is often credited with pieces marked like the figures belonging to J. M. R. But in this case, we believe the attribution to be incorrect.

No, the piece was made in Japan, and the time of manufacture is sometime after about 1953. They were made in Japan by an unknown maker, but they were exported by a company originally known as Arnart Creations, which was located on Fifth Avenue in New York. The name was later changed to Arnart Imports, but some sources put them either out of business in 2001 or going out of business.

The company is very famous for its figures, particularly those in the style of the ones made by W. Goebel of Rodental, Bavaria, Germany that are known as “Hummel” figurines. Arnart commissioned a wide variety to be made in Japan, plus figures dressed in uniforms associated with the American Revolutionary War and a myriad of other figures and decorative objects.

The pair of figures belonging to J. M. R. would probably have had at least one paper label at one time, but that has been lost over time and with cleaning. It is also possible the estate sale people removed the “Made in Japan” to make the origin of the pieces a bit more obscure and desirable.

The attractive figures were probably made in the late 1950s or early 1960s and have an insurance value of less than $100.

———

Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques. Do you have an item you’d like to know more about? Contact them at Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email them at treasures@knology.net. If you’d like your question to be considered for their column, please include a high-resolution photo of the subject, which must be in focus, with your inquiry.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

Bode Miller’s wife shares photo of last time she held her dying daughter
Bode Miller’s wife shares photo of last time she held her dying daughter

  Top U.S. ski champion Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan, lost their youngest child, Emeline “Emmy” Grier Miller, in a pool drowning accident in early June. >> Read more trending news  The grief-stricken couple publicly talked about their loss in late July and now Morgan Miller has shared a heartbreaking photo...
Asia Argento, #MeToo activist, settled sex assault claim against her, report says
Asia Argento, #MeToo activist, settled sex assault claim against her, report says

A prominent #MeToo activist and Harvey Weinstein accuser recently agreed to pay $380,000 to settle a sexual assault complaint against her, according to a new report. The New York Times reported Sunday that actress Asia Argento, who said last year that Weinstein raped her in 1997, settled a claim by former child star Jimmy Bennett, now 22. In a notice...
Nicki Minaj accuses Travis Scott of using Kylie Jenner to promote his now No. 1 album
Nicki Minaj accuses Travis Scott of using Kylie Jenner to promote his now No. 1 album

Nicki Minaj has a few explanations for why her latest album didn’t debut at the top of the charts. This month, Travis Scott and Minaj have have both released albums, but while Scott’s “Astroworld” has held the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart for the past two weeks, the 35-year-old rapper’s ...
Nicki Minaj slammed for comparing herself to Harriet Tubman
Nicki Minaj slammed for comparing herself to Harriet Tubman

Nicki Minaj’s latest tweet about Harriet Tubman was a head-scratcher.  » RELATED: Safaree said Nicki Minaj of cutting him with knife during Twitter feud The 35-year-old rapper, who named her new album "Queen," took to Twitter Monday to share her definition of a royal: “All the QUEENS I remember,...
Direct from Springfield: ‘The Simpsons’ Kwik-E-Mart opens in Myrtle Beach
Direct from Springfield: ‘The Simpsons’ Kwik-E-Mart opens in Myrtle Beach

Real life is mimicking the shows we have watched for almost 30 years as a real Kwik-E-Mart has opened up shop.  But the convenience store modeled on the one from “The Simpsons” isn’t in Springfield, Ohio, Springfield, Virginia, or any of the dozens of Springfield towns or townships, in the United States.  It&rsquo...
More Stories