Discover Vintage America - August 2014

Read ceramic marks carefully to determine true value

Q: An elderly friend has a ballerina figurine in the Dresden lace style. It is in excellent condition, no missing pieces of lace that I can see and no chips. The mark is very confusing to me as it looks to be that of Meissen. She asked me to find a value for it. Can you point me in the right direction?

A: In the photo of the mark you provided, I can see the crossed lines, with an M at the bottom of the left line and a B on the right. Underneath the crossed lines are the words "Germany" and under that "Dresden". This tells us that your friend's figurine was in fact manufactured by Martha Budich. Budich started her company, a porcelain decorating studio, "Porzellanstudio Martha Budich" in 1951 and operated through 1977. Her earlier marks closely resembled the mark of Meissen/ KPM which uses a blue crossed swords logo. In 1963 Budich was forced to change her back-stamp to make it look less like that of the better known pottery.

Budich purchased blanks from various potteries and studios and decorated them to mimic many popular styles such as the Dresden lace, the Capo-di-Monte style and other popular design styles of the time. With the crossed swords or lines such as this one has to look closely to decipher the back stamp, mark or logo as it is often easy to be tricked in to thinking one has a piece from a higher end manufacturer. Many times you will see a series of numbers or other very slight variations in the mark which are good indicators that the piece is not KPM or Meissen.
This darling ballerina figurine has a value of $40-$45.


Bradford Exchange 'limited edition' plate

Q: I have a beautiful limited edition
collector's plate and would like to find out more information and the value.
It measures
8 1/2" in diameter and is in perfect condition with the original box, certificate of authenticity and
other paperwork. Details on the back of the plate are: Knowles Bradford Exchange Bradex
#84-K41-9.1. It has a very long plate number
noted, of the Edna Hibel Mother's Day Plate for 1984. "Uniquely created in layers of pigment and 22 karat gold by Edna Hibel exclusively for this limited edition on pure hard-fire china by Edwin M. Knowles. Abby and Lisa, edition limited to a firing period closing forever on May 12, 1984.
A mother's love for her child is the same all over the world. It is the gift of Life, and all other gifts are reflections of it. Edna Hibel."

A: This is indeed a lovely plate and based on the quantity of questions coming in on Bradford Exchange "limited edition" plates it must be time to address this question once again. First I will speak to your plate. It was issued in 1984 and depicts "Abby and Lisa", it is the first plate in Edna Hibels' Mother's Day series of plates with Edna Hibel being the designer of the image.

Bradford Exchange advertises their plates, dolls and other "collectible" items through national magazines and direct mail, which means that their audience reach is tremendous. They are advertised as being "limited edition" BUT the only limit is that the items are manufactured for a year. I have made several attempts over the years to find out how many plates are made in the year span of time but have yet to get a response. Suffice it to say that with current automated manufacturing capabilities this number is quite large.

With so many of these plates being purchased there is a glut on the market and this in turn lowers the secondary market value. The first in a series will generally sell for $15-$20 and pieces from later in the series sell for less than $10. There are a few exceptions such as the "Gone With the Wind" series and a few of the noted personalities such as Elvis but even these plates sell for much less than the original purchase price. A true limited edition item is limited to a specific number of pieces such as 50, 100 or even 500.

With all of this being said, your plate is worth $15-$20 to a very willing buyer.
Thank you for your question and allowing me to address this often asked question.

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.