Discover Vintage America - JANUARY 2015

Young collector buys a valuable Majolica jug

Q: This wonderful item was brought in to one of the recent appraisal events I participated in in Paxico, KS. The young man who purchased this little gem at auction for nine dollars appears to have an eye for antiques and collectibles based on the other items present to me that day. Did we stumble upon a 16-year-old antiques prodigy?

A: This is a Minton Victorian majolica claret jug. Based on the marks on the bottom we can date it to 1882. The blue and yellow decorations on the body and Bacchus head at the base of the spout truly make this a standout piece by one of the finest manufacturers in the world.
Majolica refers to the glaze that is used; it is tin glazed with a clear lead based coating. Most majolica is brightly colored but that of the Victorian era is especially so.
Bacchus is the Roman God of wind and intoxication so it is only fitting that his bust be placed on a wine pitcher. Minton made several designs using mythological characters as the centerpiece to the overall design.

This beautiful piece of Minton has a small piece of missing glaze on the upper rim but would still bring $350-$400 in the right resale environment.

In my extensive research I was unable to locate many of this particular piece that have been up for public sale in the past five years.

Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to for a one-on-one appraisal.