Q&A on Collecting
Figural powder boxes evoke memories of time gone by
Q: This is a photo of a porcelain powder box that was given to me as a child in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It was part of a relative's collection and still is in perfect condition. There are no manufacturer's marks. I want to pass it along to my daughter and would like to know more about its history and value.
A: You have a figural powder box or jar that was made in the early- to mid-20th century. Just about every dresser top had one along with a mirror, comb, brush, a pin tray, covered trinket dish and perfume bottle. Many were made in the United States, Europe and Japan. Since so many were not marked or marked with paper labels that disappeared, their origin often remains a mystery. What is important is that they are a charming reminder of the past and are collectible. Your powder jar would probably be worth $25 to $50.
Q: This mark is on the bottom of an ironstone platter that has been in our family for as far back as I can remember. My grandmother always kept it in the dining room china cabinet and when my mother inherited, it she kept it on a shelf where we kids couldn't reach. It measures approximately 11 inches long and is in mint condition. It is decorated with a black and white country scene against a white background. I would not part with it for anything and plan to pass it down to my daughter. I would like to know who made it, when, where and its value.
A: Charles Meigh joined his father's pottery at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, in 1834 and operated it under his own name from 1835 to 1949. From 1850 to 1851, the name Charles Meigh and Sons and Pankurst was used. In 1851, the firm dropped the name Pankurst to become Charles Meigh and Sons. Meigh and Sons produced flow blue and mulberry transfer pattern pieces and salt glazed teapots. The pottery closed in 1901. “California” is the name of the pattern and the scene is a transfer print and not hand painted. Your mid-19th century platter would probably be worth $125 to $150.
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.