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German Porcelain Thick (more than) Sterling Silver Overlay Vase First Half of 20th Century - image 1 of 7

I will start this description with something I often END my descriptions with, and that is the invitation to anyone looking at this vase to offer whatever information they can to help me identify it, both as to the porcelain factory that manufactured it and the silver manufacturer that did the thick overlay. Much of what you see below will be inferential, based on my knowledge and experience with this kind of item; just take a look at the other items in my shop. My inferences are well reasoned and supported.

OK, I will start with two basic indisputable facts: The vase is porcelain and the silver overlay that covers it is marked 1000/1000 (see my second image). That fraction suggests that the silver here is absolutely pure silver, purer even than the 999/1000 “fine” silver you often see on antique American silver overlay pieces by the likes of Alvin, Gorham, and La Pierre, all of whom are represented in my shop. There is some question, however, which I will not get into here, whether pieces so marked may actually be less than what the numerator of the fraction in the marking says; suffice it to say the silver is pretty near pure, and in any case, it is definitely well more than sterling, which is 925 parts per 1000 pure silver.

A few other indisputable facts are that the glaze is white, and that while the bottom of the vase is unglazed, it was marked in the porcelain during manufacture. I think the bottom half of my sixth (composite) image is clear enough to read, but I will tell you anyway, that that number is 1009.

I can’t omit one last indisputable fact; the is that the entirely-silver-covered neck of the vase has been inscribed with a dedication, presumably when it was given by the two parties named as “Margaritt and Siva” as a gift to “Marcia,” the recipient.

The first of my well-reasoned inferences is that the vase was made in Germany. I can’t tell you the number—surely in the many, many hundreds—of silver overlay items I have seen with the 1000/1000 silver purity attribution, and I believe every one has been German. Is it still possible that the silver work was done elsewhere in Europe? I guess so, but I am confident that the silver work was done in Germany.

Now, attributing the porcelain, as well, to a German factory MAY be slightly more subject to alternative suggestions, like Limoges or Sèvres, both of whom are French. I must, again, go by my own collecting and selling experience and note that I have never seen a French porcelain vase that was not hand painted. The fact that this vase has no other adornment but the thick silver, is, in my mind, a very strong argument in favor or its being German. This, of course, does not mean that German-made silver overlay vases are NEVER hand painted. Please see the wonderful Heubach Brothers vase in my shop.

While both the porcelain and the silver manufacturers seem to be German, that still leaves the matter of identifying WHICH of the scores of porcelain factories made the vase and WHICH of the German silver manufacturers did the overlay. The number of possible candidates for the latter is MUCH less than the number of candidates of the former, but if you are reading this, you, like me, are probably a collector, and I will leave that probable silver attribution to you.

As to my claim that the porcelain is also German, I direct you to my last composite image. The cup and saucer, whose pictures were kindly supplied by a knowledgeable collector whose opinion I solicited, show this very silver pattern (still not identified) on a Hutschenreuther cup and saucer. That does not mean that I am claiming that Hutschenreuther made this vase. I am only saying that ONE SPECIFIC German porcelain manufacturer used the same silver design as used on this vase.

The only question that remains is the date this vase was made (presumably around the same time the silver work was done). I am really out of my element when trying to identify porcelain marks; the Internet is rife with would-be (and maybe actual) experts. I was unable to date the specific Hutschenreuther mark on the cup and saucer with any confidence, although I did come across one “expert’s” claim that the mark was used between 1929 and 1935. I think that attribution makes some sense in light of the distinctly Art Deco flavor of the design of this vase. But such Deco-esque designs have been used on much later porcelain items, so that is not, by itself, a reason to say, absolutely, that the years I have just stated ARE the true dates that the Hutschenreuther mark pictured here was used. I think it is fair to say that the vase could possibly be from the 1930s, but I feel more comfortable saying that it was probably made NO LATER THAN mid-20th century, and I will leave it at that.

PHEW, I have yet to tell you any specifics about the vase! I would say it is in excellent condition (and, as with my Steiff animals, I don’t mean “for its [probable] age!” )There are little imperfections in both the porcelain and silver. There are a few tiny “dots” in glaze, perhaps from tiny specs of extraneous matter that found their way into the glaze when it was fired. You can see two specs in the upper half of my sixth composite image. One is on the bottom of the inside of the vase, which obviously is irrelevant to its display, and the other, even tinier, is inside the vase as well, about 1/8 inch from the top. There are a few tiny specs on the outside of the vase, which I am similarly attributing to the manufacture of the vase, and there are the typical little dings and scratches in the silver, which could be owner caused, but they are inconsequential. All of these “detractions” are trivial, but I am mentioning them so you know I saw them. In any case, you should be able to see how nice the condition of the vase is.

Two things you cannot see are the vase’s linear dimensions and its weight. The width of the vase—including the slight overhang of the “skirt” from the actual base—is 4 7/8 inches. The width of the opening of the vase is just under 2 1/2 inches, and the depth of the opening is 2 inches. The depth of the vase (including the overhang of the “skirt” from the base) is 3 3/8 inches. The neck of the vase is 2 1/4 inches wide and 1 1/8 inch high (measured to the lip of the rim). These numbers are approximations; if I am off somewhere by 1/16 of an inch, don’t ask to return it (that has happened to me!).

Finally, on my kitchen scale, the vase weighs 10.2 ounces.

I will end with the same invitation I made at the beginning. If you can tell me anything about this vase (including your confirmation of my assumptions and presumptions ;-)), please write. If you have a question about anything I have said or did not say, please write as well. If you want to communicate by purchase order, please do!

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Art Deco
Germany • German
Vases, Urns

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German Porcelain Thick (more than) Sterling Silver Overlay Vase First Half of 20th Century

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