In today’s What’s It Worth? readers inquire about their pitchers. One is glass and most likely American. The other is from England, by a famous firm and made of clay. There is good value to one, not so much so for the other. Read further to find out which is which.
Q. This glass vase was purchased by my aunt from an estate sale. It is very heavy. About 11 inches tall, it is in excellent condition with no chips or nicks. It has a pinkish tint in the picture I’m sending, but is actually clear. Can you tell us anything about its worth or origin? Thank you — Kathy in College Place
A. This pitcher (a vase would not have a handle like this one has) was more than likely made in America in the late 19th or early 20th century.
It could be the product of one of many glass houses making utilitarian objects during that time.
Collectors call these “pattern glass” pieces; they are also known as “pressed glass” for the process by which they were made.
Pressed glass was an American innovation, developed by a man named John Bakewell about 50 years after the American Revolution.
Bakewell first used his new process — which involved employing a plunger to press molten glass into a mold — to make knobs for furniture.
At the height of American production — from the 1850s to just before World War I — literally millions of pieces of pressed glass tableware were sold. They could be purchased as individual items, complete sets or just parts of sets. Thousands of patterns were available — ranging from Acorn to Zephyr. Some came in colors.
While pressed glass originated in this country, there were other centers of production in Europe, particularly in France, Sweden and in the Bohemian areas that would eventually become Czechoslovakia.
Once very popular and widely collected, pressed glass has fallen so far out of favor today that many antiques dealers have stopped carrying it altogether. It is not that the pieces aren’t attractive and functional, it just seems no one wants to buy them.
Ten or 20 years ago this pitcher was worth perhaps $75 to $100. The value today — if a buyer could be found — would be no more than $30.
Q. Here are some photos of a “Hop Jug” marked WT Copeland; 12 September 1854. I am very interested in the current value and would appreciate your assistance — Jean in Richland
A. W. T. Copeland was one of England’s major pottery firms in the 19th century. It was founded in Stoke-on-Trent in 1847 in the Staffordshire Potteries area. That’s about 50 miles south of Liverpool in northern England.
This 6-inch-tall piece carries the Copeland name impressed on the bottom and also has a triangular “Registry” mark. These marks are very useful; they provide a wealth of information about the items that have them. In this case, the mark tells us that the design of this Copeland piece was registered with the British Patent Office on Sept. 12, 1854.
What the design patent does not tell us is when this salt-glazed jug was made. The date only indicates registry of the design, not production. So, this jug was made some time after the registry date. Safe to say it is from the mid-1850s or 1860s.
Copeland’s products were valued in their day for creative designs and high quality. The same is true for 21st century collectors.
The emphasis today is on Copeland’s line of wares marked “Spode.” Copeland purchased the Josiah Spode factory (located in the same area as Copeland) in 1833. By 1847, Copeland had become the sole owner of Spode.
They started to use the Spode mark on many of their products, particularly the lines of fine china. It is those earlier pieces, many marked “Copeland, Late Spode,” (indicating the former Spode firm was now part of Copeland) that are of most interest to modern collectors.
That said, this attractive jug — now more than 150 years old — has good value. At a high-end shop or quality antique show, we’d expect it to carry a price of $150 to $200.
Terry K. Maurer, Tri–Cities personal property appraiser, is a senior member of the Certified Appraisers Guild of America. For possible use in a future column, direct questions on your antiques and collectibles to What’s It Worth? by email to firstname.lastname@example.org