Dear John: I have sent you a picture of my pretty ceramic tray. It measures 11 1/2 inches by 8 inches and is in perfect condition. Also included is a photo of the bottom; as you can see there is no information about who made it. This has been in our family for several generations. Any information about the age, maker, and value will be most helpful. — P.U., internet
Dear P.U.: You have a good looking majolica tray. Majolica is a tin glazed earthenware that is usually brightly decorated. In the 19th century it was often produced in unusual shapes influenced by naturalistic forms. It was made by numerous makers in England, Europe and America during the Victorian era, 1830 to 1901.
Majolica has been a large category of collecting for decades. When made by known companies and maker-marked, prices can go into the hundreds up to thousands of dollars.
Your tray was made in America during the late 19th century. I think your unmarked majolica tray would sell in the $100 to $200 range.
Dear John: I have a pocketwatch that has been passed down in the family from my great-great-grandfather. He was born around 1850. On the watch face the company name is South Bend. The inside cover facing the watch face has numbers. The back also opens and on that cover on the inside it has the same numbers underneath a circle. Inside the circle it says Philadelphia Watch Case Co. with a crown in the center.
The outside of the cover has an etched design on the front and back. The design has a bird and two flowers surrounding an oval. Around the edge of the case are intricate designs.
If you can offer any information, it would be greatly appreciated. I hope you can help me. Thank you. — N.W., internet
Dear N.W.: The hunter case pocket watch you have was manufactured by the South Bend Watch Company located in South Bend, Indiana. They were in business from 1903 through 1929. The watch case was manufactured by the Philadelphia Watchcase Company and is gold plated on brass.
Inside the back cover there is a dust cover that protects the movement; this needs to be opened in order to view the movement. In order to help you further with date of production and dollar value, I need to know the serial number that appears on the movement and whatever else you find there. The serial number will tell us the specific date of manufacture and any other notations will give us the movement model. Let us know what you find and then I will fill in the blanks.
John Sikorski has been a professional in the antiques business for 30 years. Send questions to Sikorski’s Attic, P.O. Box 2513, Ocala, FL 34478 or email@example.com.