Q&A on collecting
Treasured painted plates
were exported from France
Q: I am enclosing a photo of a French Limoges plate that belonged to my grandparents. Originally, there were two plates, and they were given to them on their wedding day in 1909. I remember the two plates standing in my grandmother's china cabinet. We will always treasure these plates. Upon her death in 1987, my mother and her sister each took a plate. Both plates are in mint condition. Each measures 10 inches in diameter and are decorated with flowers and leaves against a gold background. Marked on the back of the plates are the letters and words “L.S. and S. — Limoges — France.” There is also a paper label with the words “S. Maas.”
I tried to get them appraised in New York City, but I was told I needed someone who dealt in antique plates. Can you tell me something about their background and the value?
A: The letters, “L. S. and S., represent New York importers, Lewis Straus and Sons. They were founded in the mid 1800s and exported porcelain from France to the United States. Most of the porcelain was hand painted and often signed by the decorators. Carefully examine each plate for a signature. Not much is known about S. Maas. They were in business in Limoges, France in the late 1890s and finding a piece with their mark is rare.
Your circa 1909 plates would probably be worth $75 to $100 each.
Q: I inherited a porcelain-covered dish, a small tray, two perfume bottles, a dish with a hole in the lid and a matching tray. It is a matched set and each piece is decorated with multicolored flowers, vines and green leaves. The set is in perfect condition. I have enclosed the mark seen on the back of each piece.
What can you tell me about the set and why one of the dishes has a hole in the lid?
A: You have a Victorian dresser set that was made around the turn of the 19th century. The covered dish is for powder; the one with a hole in the lid is a hair receiver, and the small tray is for pins. A lady would place hair from her brush in the hair receiver. Heinrich and Company made your set. They have been in business in Selb, Bavaria, Germany, since 1896.
Similar dresser sets have a value ranging from $150 to $225
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters.