This is a rare combination of a ceramic tile tray and coaster set. Occasionally, one will find the tray or several of the coasters, but it is unusual to find them all together and in such good condition. The piece is signed on all 6 coasters. It says “Wurttemberg” and has the WMF touch mark. They are a well- known manufacturer of ceramic ware from Germany. The tray has a ceramic tile insert that is hand painted in a Dutch motif with a kissing boy and girl in traditional dress and showing boats and a town in the background. The tile is set into a decorative copper frame that has two brass handles sticking up on the ends. The tray measures a total of 15 ¾ inches long, by 10 inches wide, and the handles stick up approximately 2 inches. There might have been four feet attached on the underside at one time, but, if so, they have been skillfully removed. There are also 6 painted ceramic coasters carrying the same theme as the tray, and the ceramic pieces are all inserted into solid copper rims with pierced designs. The coasters all measure 4 ½ inches in diameter.
The set is in nice condition. The ceramic tray has some slight scratches to the painted surface that are consistent with light use. The ceramic coasters are in comparable condition with the exception of one which has a thin crack running through it and a slight dent in one of the copper rims. This coaster was apparently dropped on a hard surface at one time. Still, the damage is slight and easy to overlook unless one is looking for it. (The close-up photo of one of the coasters is the one with the crack.) All of the copper work shows signs of having been polished at one time. We would suggest letting the pieces all re-develop their natural patina that copper so easily takes on. On the underside of the tray there is an original store label that says “T.M. James and Sons, Kansas City”. Research indicates that the company was founded in 1863 and they were “wholesale and retail dealers in crockery, glassware and cutlery and direct importers of French china.” T.M. James was an uncle of the outlaw Jesse James. This is a very nice item that displays well and is ready to be used if you desire.
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