Discover Vintage America - OCTOBER 2015
Little glass vase is Czech from the Kralik Glassworks
Q: At a recent appraisal event in Cole Camp, MO sponsored by Twice As Nice Antique Shop, I saw many beautiful family heirlooms as well as found treasures. This month I want to share with you a wonderful item that was brought in for an appraisal.
The beautiful art glass vase with attached metal flower frog is marked on the bottom "Czechoslovakia." It measures 5.5 inches tall and about 5.75 inches across at the widest point of the body. This beautiful Czech glass vase is free of any nicks or blemishes.
A: I have been a fan of Czech glass for many years and really enjoy seeing these beautiful little works of art in such wonderful condition. These vases are often found with the attached metal flower frog missing so it is really a pleasure to see a complete flower vase.
I was unable to get a good photo of the mark on the bottom but it is definitely from the "Kralik Glassworks." The mark the factory used was a line through the "O." While most Kralik pieces are marked, as many as 25 percent are not. A fallacy is that it is Kralik if it is marked "Czechoslovakia" along the inner rim on the bottom of the piece. That's just another reason you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
The notation of a country of origin has more to do with the McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 than what factory made the item. This act not only increased tariff (taxes) on imported goods but also required that the country of origin be clearly noted on items such as glass, porcelain, novelties, etc.
The Kralik glassworks was originally founded in Bohemia in 1815 by Josef Meyr. The factory was originally named Adolfshutte. Josef died and his son Jan took over the company, which had expanded to four glass factories. When Jan died in 1841, his two nephews, Josef Taschek and Wilhelm Kralik, took over ownership of the factories. The company name was changed to J. Meyr's Neffen, then upon Josef's death in 1862, the name changed to J. Meyr's Neffe. Wilhelm Kralik died in 1877 leaving the company to his four sons.
The most amicable way to divide four glass factories is for the companies to be split in two – Heinrich and Johann took the name Wilhelm Kralik Sohne, Hugo and Karl used the name Meyr's Neffe. In 1922 Meyr's Neffe merged with Moser glass while Wilhelm Kralik Sohne continued to produce high quality glassware until 1933 or 1939 depending upon the source one uses.
The country of Czechoslovakia was only created in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I. It suffered annexations from Nazi Germany and Hungary in the late 1930s. After World War II the country became part of the Soviet Union's eastern bloc of Warsaw Pact nations behind the Iron Curtain. Only after the fall of the Soviet Union and its fellow communist states in the 1990s did Czechoslovakia divide into two separate countries – the Czech Republic and Slovakia. So the country of Czechoslovakia only existed on the map between 1918 and 1993.
Taking all of the above into consideration I am dating this beautiful flower vase to the late-1920s to the mid-1930s. This is based on the design of the piece as well as the history of the company and the changes in the country of Czechoslovakia.
The value of this Czech flower vase with attached frog, in excellent condition, is $350.
Thank you for taking the time to read my column and I sincerely hope that you learn something from it. Please feel free to e-mail or snail mail me your questions with photographs. You can also use the paid appraisal site noted below for a more detailed and interactive appraisal.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.michelleknowsantiques.com for a one-on-one appraisal.