art deco figurine

This art deco figurine, 11 inches high and marked by Joseph Lorenzl and the Goldscheider company, sold at an Aspire auction for $1,239 even though there was a small chip on the woman’s shoulder.

There have been many ceramic companies owned by members of the Goldscheider family, which can confuse today’s collectors. Friedrich Goldscheider moved from Pilsen, Bohemia, to Vienna in 1885. He started the Goldscheider Porcelain Manufactory and Majolica Factory, a company to make ceramics. He hired famous artists -including Michael Powolny, Demetre Chiparus and Josef Lorenzl — and the company soon had an international reputation for excellent figurines and other Art Deco pieces. Friedrich’s sons, Walter and Marcell, joined the company and the business became worldwide in the 1920s and ‘30s. But Hitler’s rules led to the family fleeing to England in 1938; their company was given to others but was no longer successful.

Marcell started a Goldscheider factory in Staffordshire. Walter had a successful company, Goldscheider-U.S.A., in Trenton, New Jersey, after 1940, but he returned to Vienna in 1950 to revive their old company. He closed it after three years and sold worldwide use of the Goldscheider name to Carstens, a German company. They used it until 1963. About 1988, Peter Goldscheider made a small number of pieces in Austria. Recently, a major book about the Goldscheider family and their ceramics was published with more history, details, artists’ names, marks and pictures. The added publicity will probably encourage higher auction prices.

Q: Can you put a monetary value on my family heirloom? It is a diorama that can hang on a wall. My grandfather bought it at the Chicago World’s Fair around 1900. It is about 3 feet by 2½ feet and 5 inches deep. It pictures houses, a church, a bridge, homes, fences, trees and other landscape objects made of cork. I want to give it to one of my children. It has been through three generations of the family.

Answer: Cut cork pictures range from those made in China with blue silk inner mats made about 1850, to new cut cork figures in glass boxes made since the 1950s. Little is known about them. They are still being made in China and sold to tourists. The bark is striped from a cork tree, cleaned, then cut into small pieces that are used to build the houses. Cut cork pictures of castles and scenery were made in Germany in the 1800s. They show thicker buildings and trees and are mounted on pale backgrounds not blue silk. None are signed. Large German pictures, often with fancy frames, have become expensive, priced at shows for $500 to $1,000. The Chinese pictures are usually about 13 by 18 inches and have simple wooden frames. They sell for less than $125 apiece because it is difficult to tell if they are antique or new.

Q: I inherited a small table. It’s low, about 20 inches high, and has an oval papier-mache top with mother-of-pearl and gilt decoration. Could you please help me assess its value?

Answer: Tables like yours were popular during the later Victorian era, the last half of the 1800s. The Victorians liked to experiment with different materials, and papier-mache was a favorite. The top probably lifts off to be used as a tray. If your piece is in good condition, a reasonable value would be $200 to $300.

Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • Tea set, Rose Parade, Cadet Blue, teapot, sugar and creamer, salt and pepper, marked, Hall, 3-cup teapot, 1940s, $125.
  • Hall tree, Victorian, walnut, shaped back, mirror, metal coat hooks, lower section, open umbrella stand, drip pan, 1800s, 81 x 29 inches, $190.
  • Calendar, 1946, Huffman Transportation Service, patriotic glamour girl image by Rolf Armstrong, full pad, matted, frame, 36 x 19 inches, $260.
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Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. By sending a letter with a question and a picture, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, Fla. 32803.

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