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What's It Worth?

Teacup Filled With Memories of Grandma

August 12, 2000|KATHY BRYANT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

WHAT IS IT?

A 4-inch-high Dresden teacup and saucer, probably made at the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th. The mark on the bottom is a drawing of a lamb, which means it was richly decorated by the Lamm workshop and made for the American market.

WHAT'S THE LEGEND?

Huntington Beach resident Alison Barsh's grandmother, who lived in Wisconsin, owned this teacup and saucer. "I got it when my mother died and left it to me," Barsh said. "Considering there were five kids in the family, it's amazing it still exists. I love it because it was hers and because I love to collect dishes."

WHAT'S ITS HISTORY?

Dresden porcelain denotes not a particular maker, but a style, according to John Sandon, author of "Antique Porcelain" (Antique Collectors' Club Ltd., England, 1998, $25).

Most Dresden was not made in the city of Dresden, but all over Germany.

Porcelain making, outside of China, was invented in Augustus the Strong's castle in Dresden in 1708, but then the Royal Saxon factory moved to Meissen around 1710. Many other china factories, established in Germany in the 19th century, made copies of Meissen, marketing their porcelain as "Dresden style."

WHY IS IT POPULAR TODAY?

Collectors prize porcelain for its delicate beauty, and a piece like this is like a miniature antique portrait. It is reminiscent of French Sevres porcelain, which was very popular at the time and shows a man and a woman relaxing and listening to music.

The raised gold and cobalt-blue border is very striking looking, and there are even gold flowers on the inside.

WHAT'S IT WORTH TODAY?

Nina Khodorovsky, owner of Newport Beach's Antique 4 U, estimates the value at $100. "Most of these with the design of a man and woman playing an instrument are actually decals, rather than hand-painted. If it were hand-painted, it would be worth from $200 to $250. Cups and saucers like this are still being made."

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

Another source book, besides "Antique Porcelain," is "Collectible Cups and Saucers" by Jim Harran (Collector Books, 1997, $18.95).

There are sections about Dresden china in antique price guidebooks. Web sites only contain a few pieces. There is some information on the Web site: http://www.madeingermany.com.

* To have an item considered for this column, send information, a photograph of it and a phone number to: What's It Worth?, Home Design, The Times' Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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