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Treasures: Porcelain figure may fare well in depressed market

This beautiful porcelain figure was made by Royal Dux about a century ago.
This beautiful porcelain figure was made by Royal Dux about a century ago. TNS

Q: Is there any market for this Royal Dux figurine? I have one that was a wedding present to my grandparents. I believe it is from the early period — 1860 to World War I. It is about 18 inches tall and is perfect, at least to my untrained eye.

T. H.

A: We have a feeling that what we are about to say concerning the history of this piece is well known to T. H. because of his mention of the “early period.” We hope he does not get bored before we get to the value of this piece.

Eduard Eichler founded Duxer Porzellanmanufaktur in Dux, Bohemia, in 1860. Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire then, but today, the town is known as Duchcov and is located in the Czech Republic.

The company has changed hands rather frequently over the years and is still in business, according to most sources. They are best known for their figures and figure groups (we tend not to use the term “figurine” because most professionals do not use it for this type of object), but they also made vases and other decorative and table porcelains.

The company is known for its raised pink clay triangle mark that is applied to the white clay body. This distinctive mark can be found on Royal Dux wares made during all the periods of manufacture from the earliest (1860 to World War I) to the latest (post-1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union).

There are some differences to be found between the various periods, and the example on the figure belonging to T. H. is the pink triangle with a stylized acorn inside (some marks from the 1918 to 1945 period have more realistic acorns in the triangle) with a capital “E” surrounded by the words “Royal Dux Bohemia.”

One of the better references we checked — Robert E. Rontgen’s Marks on German, Bohemian and Austrian Porcelains — states that this particular mark was not used until 1912, while another source mentions the mark changed to “Made in Czechoslovakia” circa 1919. This leads us to believe the piece in today’s question was made sometime between 1912 and 1919, with a pre-1914 date being quite possible.

As to the marketability of this piece, it depends on where the piece is located. Royal Dux porcelains seem to be doing better in Australia and in Europe than they are in the United States. A larger example of a figure similar to this one sold at auction for around $500 in Australia just a few months ago. It should also be noted that pairs, figural centerpieces, mirrors, larger pieces (24 inches plus) and more unusual items are more eagerly sought after than single examples such as this one.

This Arab girl with a basket on her head and a water pitcher at her feet is not particularly rare or unusual, and at just 18 inches tall it is smaller than some collectors like. Still, in today’s depressed market for decorative porcelains, it should be valued for insurance purposes in the $300 to $400 range.

Write to Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email treasures@knology.net. If you’d like your question to be considered for the column, please include a high-resolution photo of the subject, which must be in focus.