Realistic porcelain figures dressed in floral decoration were best sellers in 18th century

Terry And Kim Kovel
Kovel’s Antiques And Collecting

Many small porcelain figures were made in France, Germany and England in the 18th century, and many were made to resemble the work of the German Meissen factory. Realistic figures dressed in the robes of an unfamiliar country or vases with scenes and additional raised floral decoration were best sellers even if the factory marks were symbols or initials that were nearly unknown. Jacob Mardochee Petit (1796-1868) started a porcelain factory in Bellville, France, in 1830. He also bought another factory in Fontainebleau, then moved it to Avon in 1851. The company went out of business in 1862. The company’s early ware sold well, but in later years, the firm concentrated on making Meissen and other copies. It made small figures and vases less than 6 inches high. The work in the 1850s was of lower quality and was less popular. But today Jacob Petit perfume bottles are favorites of perfume bottle collectors, and there seem to be a few in every perfume bottle auction. Many are unmarked. The best-known mark is the underglaze letters “JP” in blue or incised. Other marks are “JP” with a dot below and above the J and a dot below the P. There is also a diamond-shaped mark with the letter J outside the left corner and the letter P outside the right. Beware, they are best known for making copies of Chinese Export, Sevres and Meissen pieces that have fooled many collectors. A pair of authentic 7 1/2-inch-high figures of a Sultan and Sultana in elaborate clothing sold at a spring 2019 Neal Auction in New Orleans for $1,220.

Q I have an extensive collection of antique Quimper, collected over the past 40 years or so. I’d like to dispose of most of it. Can you suggest the best way for me to have it appraised, as a first step?

A Quimper pottery has been made in Quimper, France, since the late 17th century. The tin-glazed pottery with similar hand-painted designs of Breton peasants was made by three different companies. It is still being made. You can get an idea of value by checking prices for pieces that have sold at auction. You can find local appraisers by contacting the national associations: the American Society of Appraisers (, the Appraisers Association of America ( and the International Society of Appraisers ( Each has a list of members in most states. Members have passed tests to prove they know value and legal requirements. Tell the appraiser you want to know the value for sale, not insurance purposes. Be sure to ask what the fee is for an appraisal.

Q My stepdaughter has a Chatty Cathy doll that she received about 1970. We are wondering if it has any value.

A Chatty Cathy dolls were made by Mattel from 1960 until 1964. They were re-issued in 1969 and again in 1998-99. The original dolls were vinyl and 20 inches tall. They were available with blue or brown eyes, and blonde, brunette or red hair. Dolls made closer to 1964 had hard plastic faces. In played-with condition, 1960s Chatty Cathy dolls sell for $25 to $75. In mint condition and in the original box, the value is closer to $100 to $150. The most expensive Chatty Cathy dolls are African American versions from the early 1960s. Examples of these dolls have sold from $450 to more than $800.

Q I found an old oriental rug when cleaning out my mom’s house. I don’t know how long she had it or where she got it. I think it’s silk. Its 113 inches long and 55 inches wide and only weighs about 5 pounds. The ends are frayed but otherwise it’s in good condition. Is it worth anything?

A Oriental rugs are made in wool, cotton, silk, or a wool and silk blend. Silk fibers are finer and stronger than wool. Rugs made from 100% silk have a shiny finish. The knots are smaller and denser than those on wool rugs, making intricate designs clearer. Silk is more expensive than wool, and rugs made from silk are usually more expensive than those from silk and wool or just wool. It isn’t possible to give a value without seeing the rug. Take it to an oriental rug store to get an estimate of value. It also may need a cleaning.

TIP: When vacuuming an Oriental rug, don’t push the sweeper too close to the fringe. Leave about 6 inches. The vacuum may catch a thread and pull it.

It took a bid of $1,220 to own this pair of Jacob Petit figurines, made about 1850. They were properly marked with the blue letters “JP.”