Q. I hope someone might be able to tell me the value of my six-piece chamber set. It is marked with the word “Royal” above a larger mark that consists of a circle with elaborate scroll work at the equator and smaller scrolls at the poles. Inside is printed “Colonial Pottery, Stone England” surrounding a large “W” with other letters that are unclear. Can you help?
K. A., New Brunswick, Canada
A. It is always good to hear from our neighbors to the north. Unfortunately, in this case our neighbor to the north might not be too happy to hear from us.
There is no question that this set is charming with its lovely blue and white floral print. It would appeal to many collectors who are fond of this classic color scheme. The set itself is nearly complete with the large bowl and pitcher augmented by a small pitcher, mug, toothbrush holder and wonderful covered soap dish.
This grouping of pottery vessels goes back to the time when bathrooms were located outside, certainly had no running water and could be very unpleasant places to perform necessary morning ablutions.
This grouping of pottery vessels goes back to the time when bathrooms were located outside, certainly had no running water and could be very unpleasant places to perform necessary morning ablutions. Every bedroom at the time had one of these sets so the occupant or occupants could kind-of-sort-of bathe in the morning, brush his or her teeth and hair and get ready to face the day not smelling of sweat or stale perfume.
The sets were the literal bread and butter of small potteries both in North America and in Europe, among other places. This particular grouping was made in Stoke, Staffordshire, England (the word in the mark is “Stoke,” not “Stone”) by F. Winkle & Co., who operated the Colonial Pottery from 1890 to 1931, when it was taken over by the more famous Ridgways (Bedford Works).
Winkle used the mark described by K. A. from 1890 to 1925, and we think this particular grouping of items was manufactured sometime in the early 20th century, circa 1910. It is interesting but we wrote about a very similar set in 2001, and at the time it had an insurance replacement value in the $600 to $800 range.
Unfortunately, times have changed dramatically since then. Around 2008, the antiques market went into a tailspin and many items such as Victorian furniture, 19th century glass, spinning wheels, and yes, chamber sets lost much of their interest to the public and much of their monetary value as well.
Today, when these sets come up for auction they may bring as little as $30, if they sell at all. Tastes have changed dramatically and items such as the aforementioned spinning wheels and chamber sets are seen as cliches. For insurance replacement purposes, the chamber set in today’s question should be valued in the $125 to $200 range.
Write to Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a high-resolution, in-focus photo of the subject.