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Family Treasures - Edition 14
                              
February 2005

Miller's Price Guide 

Purchase Miller's Price Guide 2004/2005

Family Treasures 14

Jill Churchill, who writes on antiques and collectables for YOURS magazine, continues her series.  

Any old tiles?


Around twenty years ago, old tiles meant serious money. Suppliers would even go as far as stealing them from fireplaces in empty houses, such was the demand to put back ‘original features’ in their Victorian property.

 

Jackfield  Tile Museum - Tube Lining at Craven DunnillModern minimalism has changed all that, but old tiles still have a market. One tile auctioned at Christie’s last year was valued at ?80. It was a standard 6 inch square, with a decoration of Puck on the front, from an 1880s set of Shakespeare characters. On the back was the mark JOSIAH WEDGWOOD & SONS ETRURIA. Worth the investment, even though it might have fetched a bit more twenty years ago. As true 19th century tiles become harder to find, prices will rise again.
 

 


Got the set?

At present, a bog-standard (maybe that should be fireplace-standard or washstand-standard) tile is ?10-?15 if genuinely Victorian, more if part of a set. And special old ones by known designers fetch special prices. First look for a maker’s name on the back - the Staffordshire firms of Wedgwood and Minton are best, while Maw & Company of Shropshire is rapidly going up the charts.

Then look for a diamond-shape registration mark which tells that the design was mass-produced between 1842-83; after that a series of numbers give post-1883 codes.

Picture the scene

Jackfield Tile Museum Trade ShowroomIf your tile is 100+ years old, check further: some auction houses have access to old design catalogues and can tell whether yours is by someone famous. A ‘picture tile’ by Victorian artist John Moyr-Smith (who worked freelance for both Wedgwood and Minton) could get you ?120.
If your tile is by Maw’s, you might ask ?50 for an 1880 design by Walter Crane, especially if it’s a nursery rhyme scene. And a Minton tile is about ?30 if the design (animals in a landscape, say) is by William Wise.

Never mind the chips

Pre-Victorian tiles rarely survive unchipped, but a naively-painted bit of blue-and-white is worth checking (at an auction house again) in case it’s 18th century Delft. It may well be faked, but the real things are worth anything from ?20 to ?200 depending on the rarity of the design.


PS - in case you were wondering: ETRURIA doesn’t mean, as you might think, that a tile was made in classical Italy. In 1869 Joseph Wedgwood chose the name for his grand new factory in Hanley, near Stoke-on-Trent.


Family Treasures - 1

Family Treasures - 2

Family Treasures - 3

Family Treasures - 4

Family Treasures - 5

Family Treasures - 6

Family Treasures - 7

Family Treasures - 8

Family Treasures - 9

Family Treasures - 10

Family Treasures - 11

Family Treasures - 12

Family Treasures - 13

For subsequent editions - see the laterlife interest index

 


 

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