This Meissen Kakiemon-style plate auctioned for $6,500. It was made about 1740 and has the crossed swords mark in blue. (Cowles Syndicate)

Kakiemon enameled porcelain plate popular with collectors

An auction catalog offered a “rare Kakiemon enameled porcelain plate” from the 18th century, but there was no further explanation of the age, history or design. What is the meaning of Kakiemon?

Sakaida Kakiemon (1596-1666) was a potter who worked in Japan in the early 17th century. He and his family painted porcelain made in the town of Arita. Kakiemon wares were painted over the glaze using blue, red, green, yellow and black, and sometimes with gilding.

The best work was done from 1680 to 1720. The ceramic was milky white with a smooth surface. Designs were asymmetrical and sparse, so there was a lot of white space as part of the design. Most patterns were based on flower arrangements, crooked tree branches, flowers like peonies or chrysanthemums, or flowering fruit trees. One famous pattern included quail.

The Kakiemon style was so popular it was copied by many English and German factories, and 19th-century copies are very similar to early designs. A collector today may identify a plate as Kakiemon if it is in the style of the early pieces. But the description used by a museum also includes the name of the European maker. Meissen (German), Chantilly and Mennecy (French), and Chelsea, Bow and Worcester (English) all made early collectible copies.

Collectors pay high prices for the 18th- and early 19th-century pieces. A nine-inch Meissen plate made about 1740 with a tiger, bamboo and flower decoration sold at a Brunk auction for $6,500. The pattern is copied today on modern dishes. Collectors should not be confused. The new dishes are very different in shape and glaze; only the decoration is old.

Q: What is the value of a Fowler’s Cherry Smash syrup dispenser? It was used at a soda fountain counter. It’s about 17 inches tall. There’s a pump at the top and it reads “Always drink Fowler’s Cherry Smash — our nation’s beverage” on the front and back. There is a 5 cent symbol on both sides and three cherries with stems. Underneath the base it reads “John E. Fowler, Richmond Va., to be used by Cherry Smash only.”

A: At one time, Cherry Smash was the second most popular soft drink in the United States. The name “Cherry Smash” was registered by John E. Fowler in 1909. The company started out in Richmond but moved to Rosslyn, Virginia, in 1920. After Prohibition ended in 1933, Fowler started the Dixie Brewing Corp., but no beer was ever brewed there.

Cherry Smash was produced in Rosslyn until 1935. Your dispenser was made before that. Value about $2,000 to $3,000.

Q: What can you tell me about Splashme dolls? I’ve seen these little seated figures online and would like to know who made them and how old they are.

A: Splashme dolls were designed in 1917 by Genevieve Pfeffer (1890-1985), who used “Gene George” as her business name. The doll’s shape, with head in hands and elbows on knees, is based on Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie doll “The Thinker.”

Splashme dolls also have similar large, side-glancing eyes. The dolls were made of bisque, composition or plaster of paris, had painted features and wore painted bathing suits and bathing shoes. They were first sold at beaches and vacation spots.

Splashme dolls with a mohair wig or a scarf tied around painted hair were first made in 1918. Pfeffer also wrote books about the Splashme dolls. Splashme doll baby talcum containers, soap, party favors, postcards, and other items were made. The dolls sell today for about $35 to $50.

Q: I have an unusual piece of furniture I use as a china cabinet. I think it was originally a display case for billiard cue sticks. The name on the drawers is “R. Rothschild’s Sons, Chicago, Cincinnati,” which I think was a manufacturer of poolroom supplies. Can you tell me something about this company?

A: R. Rothschild founded his company in Cincinnati in 1866. The company was one of the largest manufacturers of fixtures and equipment for bars and saloons. After Rothschild died in 1881, his sons, Julius, Charles, and David, took over the business and opened a branch in Chicago. R. Rothschild’s Sons had two locations in Cincinnati, one that sold “everything necessary to furnish a saloon complete” and one that sold furniture, carpet, stoves and other goods for the home. The company was making furniture for banks and offices by 1885. Rothschild’s Sons went bankrupt in 1897.

Q: My mother used to have a crown-shaped bottle of Prince Matchabelli perfume on her dresser. I have an empty bottle. Is it worth anything?

A: Prince Georges Matchabelli immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1921 with his wife Norina. She was an actress who used the stage name Maria Carmi. They opened an antiques store in New York City and he also made perfume for friends.

He started the Prince Matchabelli Perfume Co. in 1926. Norina designed the crown-shape bottle. The first bottles were porcelain, later glass, made in Germany. Georges died in 1935 and the company was sold several times. It became part of Parfums de Coeur in 1993. They kept the crown as the bottle stopper. The bottle price depends on size, condition including label, and if there is perfume in it. It could be worth $50 to $550.

Tip: Your cellphone’s camera is a magnifying glass. Focus on the marking you want to read and go in for a close-up. It is great for ceramics or prints, but a little difficult for metal because of glare. No need for a ruler and a magnifier anymore. Now you can go to a show with a dollar bill (a 6-inch ruler) and a phone.

Write to Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel at Kovels, The Herald, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

Current prices

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Art print, Mad Hatter’s tea party, Alice, Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse, seated at table, drinking tea, 1934, 8 x 10 inches, $25.

Trap, mole, Out O’ Sight brand, black, cast iron, stamped, patented, Canada, 1930s, 8 x 5 inches, $55.

Cookbook, Fruitarian Recipes, for fruitarians and vegetarians, woman with tray, soft cover, 48 pgs., England, 1911, 10 x 4 inches, $120.

Advertising bowl and mug, Kellogg’s Apple Jacks, apple-shaped, F&F mold and die, mail away, marked, 1965, 3 piece set, $155.

Cappuccino set, Rose medallion, roses and leaves, gilt trim, pot, cappuccino trio sets, handless cups, saucers, plates, 31-piece set, $240.

Jumeau doll head, bisque, smiling, happy face series, blue glass eyes, mohair wig, marked, c. 1900, fits 13- to 14-inch body, $395.

Sterling-silver seafood server, fish shaped spatula, etched scales, scrolling leaves, fisherman, Amsterdam, 1927, 13 x 3 inches, $460.

Table, shaving, wood, oval top, square swivel mirror, candle holders, spindles, baluster stem, tripod feet, 1800s, 22 x 70 inches, $670.

Lighter, cigar, bronze, barrel shape, tassels, magical cat on side, mystified by flame, silk cord, electric, 1920s, 3 x 3 inches, $900.

Coca-Cola lampshade, leaded glass, metal leaf edge, drum shape, slanted top, red, white and green, 1920s, 12 x 18 inches, $3,995.

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