A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Majolica Reproductions

I've addressed the topic of Etruscan Majolica reproductions a couple of times already in this blog, but the number of other repros flooding the market has become so sizable I feel a need to address the topic again.

If you go to flea markets or auctions on a regular basis, you're familiar with seeing majolica reproductions often. The truth of the matter is that the knowledgeable buyer is not usually the one who is the target of these phony pieces. It is generally the new collector or just the casual buyer who knows little about majolica that is the focus of these poorly made pieces.

I'm not talking about the high quality reproductions from companies like Mottahedah like the one shown above. These are clearly marked as reproductions meant as gift ware.
I'm talking about the poorly made pieces like the pitcher below, usually made somewhere in Asia and never marked with the intention to deceive.

This piece is a copy of a well loved majolica design from the 19th Century shown below.

Where the original has a value of several hundred dollars, the reproduction will generally sell for less than $100.
This reproduction was found on Ebay's English site and described as an "antique pitcher" in "excellent condition."
For all we know it is entirely possible that the dealer has no idea that this is a reproduction. That is why it is important that any antique collector do their homework before buying .

Another monkey piece found commonly is this reproduction of the Jones monkey creamer.

As you can see by looking at the real thing directly above, there is no mistaking the quality of the genuine article.

George Jones, I'm afraid has been the subject of many reproductions, some better than others but all of lower quality than the original. Take a look at these repros, followed by the true Jones piece below them.

No major potter has been spared when it comes to reproductions. Even Holdcroft, whose pieces are generally much more reasonably priced than George Jones or Minton, has had pieces copied:

The bottom line is that there really is no substitute for education when buying antiques. I encourage everyone to read everything they can and keep up with the market of repros. 

I have even seen seasoned dealers fooled by some of these pieces so keep on your toes when buying. There's no reason you need to be one of those left holding the phoney.

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