Ceramic companies owned by members of Goldscheider family confuses today's collectors

Terry And Kim Kovel
Kovel’s Antiques And Collecting

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 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?

A 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 pieces are in good condition, a reasonable value would be $200 to $300.

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 2 1/2 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.

A 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 because it is difficult to tell if they are antique or new.

Q I'm moving into a senior living residence and won't have room for my large collection of half dolls. One of the dolls has her hand broken off, but I don't know the best way to fasten it back on. Many of the dolls are from around the world. I bought them when I worked in Germany and Okinawa. How can I find someone interested in buying them?

A Half dolls, also known as pincushion dolls, were first made in 1908 and were popular until the 1930s. They were made with a porcelain upper body attached to a large cloth skirt and were used to cover a pincushion, powder box, pot of tea or other items. Most are found today without the skirt. Prices depend on size, decoration, condition and style. Closed arm half dolls sell for the lowest prices. Those with arms extended away from the body sell for the highest prices. Contact an auction house that specializes in dolls. Half dolls sold at an auction this year for over $100 to over $1,000. They are hard to find and a popular collectible. Don't try to repair the broken doll yourself. A poorly done repair significantly lowers value.

Q Is a 1984 Louisiana World Exposition token worth anything? It has the fair's logo,"84" above wavy lines, on the front.

A The 1984 Louisiana World Exposition was held on an 84-acre site along the Mississippi. It opened on May 12 and closed on Nov. 11. The theme of the fair was "The World of Rivers -- Fresh Waters as a Source of Life." The wavy lines on the logo represent rivers. The fair didn't include major exhibits and was defined as a "Class B" exposition by the international body that governs world's fairs. Attendance was lower than expected, and bankruptcy was declared during the run. It was the last exposition held in the United States. Most tokens from the fair sell for $5 or less.

TIP: To hang an old Coca-Cola tray, use a wire plate holder. The bent parts of the holder that touch the tray should be covered with plastic tubing. This plastic tubing is sold for use in fish aquariums.