Discover Vintage America - SEPTEMBER 2014
Tea set was probably a queen's gift
Q: I am writing on behalf of an elderly friend who inherited the five-piece porcelain creamer, sugar and saucers you see in the enclosed photos.
According to the family, this set was presented to a Mrs. Lindsay (Lucy) Patterson, purportedly an attaché at the American Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, by Queen Marie of Romania prior to 1926 when the queen visited the United States. My friend's grandmother purchased the set from Mrs. Patterson's estate in Winston-Salem, NC. I've confirmed that Queen Marie visited the U.S. in 1926 and was in Kansas City on Nov. 11 of that year, but have not been able to confirm the rest of the story. According to my friend's grandmother each piece is monogrammed "LP" in recognition of the original owner, Lucy Patterson. Any information you might be able to provide regarding the origin and value of this set would be most appreciated.
Thank you, Dan M.
A: First, I would like to thank you for the very detailed photographs and information. In your letter you also included research on the marks or backstamps on the pieces and you questioned the four digit red numbers that are on each piece.
This is a stunningly beautiful service set which includes the underplates. The design is flourishes of gold on a cobalt blue ground. The white accent areas also have gilt designs and all of the edges are trimmed in gold. Often with family stories it is difficult, if not impossible, to validate any part of the story but I was very excited when my research led me to a wonderful article on Lucy Bramlette Patterson at http://ncpedia.org/biography/patterson-lucy. There is also quite a bit of information on Queen Marie.
Lucy was a very remarkable woman and a prolific journalist. "During the reconstruction period after World War I, Mrs. Patterson visited the Balkan countries and wrote letters home describing her experiences, some of which are preserved with her papers. She became acquainted with the royal family of Romania and was later entertained by Queen Marie (of Romania)."
I was also able to confirm that Queen Marie of Romania was traveling though America with her children and briefly visited Kansas City on Nov. 11, 1926 for the dedication of the Liberty Memorial. That evening after the dedication ceremony she had dinner at the home of Ella C. Loose, widow of Jacob L. Loose, who was founder of the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company and one of the city's most generous philanthropists. I love the Kansas City connection! The queen and Mrs. Patterson had several common interests but their love of writing and compassion for the less fortunate more than likely created the bond between these remarkable women.
With all of these pieces falling in to place, it is entirely possible that Queen Marie gave this set to Mrs. Patterson and I would not be surprised at all if at one time there were cups, saucers, small plates and a coffee or teapot that went with these pieces. It would have been more proper to give an entire tea or coffee service than just a few pieces.
I spent a great deal of time examining the area that looks like a monogram but I remain torn on this matter. If you look at it closely it does look like it might have been added at a later time because the spacing is a little off on one of the underplates but I am still having difficulty turning that decorative detail into the letters "LP".
Now on to the marks on the bottom. You are correct that the shield, aka "bindenschild," commonly referred to as a beehive, mark looks very much like that of the Imperial & Royal Manufactory of Vienna. This particular mark was/is copied by a number of manufacturers second only in replication to the famous Meissen crossed swords mark.
I do not think that the Imperial & Royal Manufactory of Vienna manufactured the set, as
its bindenschild mark was hand painted which creates irregularities and this mark is too perfect much like you would see from a stamp. The bidenschild mark actually looks more like that of Ackermann & Fritze (1908-1951) Volkstedt, Germany and most of their works that I have seen over the years do have a series of four digit numbers which are internal company marks to signify shape or color scheme.
Seeing the bindenschild in conjunction with the written "Carl Thieme, Saxon Porcelain in Potschappel/Dresden" backstamp written in German we are left with two possibilities. 1) The pieces were made by Carl Thieme, in operation circa 1903-1930s and he used the bindenschild mark. 2) The set was actually fabricated by Ackermann & Fritze then decorated by Carl Thieme's Saxon Porcelain. Option two makes the most sense to me.
Even though there is a very high probability that Queen Marie gave this set to Lucy Patterson we don't have any documentation verifying this so I cannot include this in the value of the set.
I date this set from the mid-1920s-mid-1930s. The resale value for this five-piece service set is $300-$350. Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful service set and the wonderful story that is probably behind it.
Send me your questions with photographs, I will put all the names in a hat and in November have a drawing in which one lucky winner will receive a small token of appreciation from my personal collection of goodies.
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 email@example.com. 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 www.discoverypub.com/ask_michelle for a one on one appraisal.