Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Q: I have a vase that was left in my grandmother's apartment garage in the 1940s. They hired immigrant farmers to help with their cattle farm. The vase has a mark with five steeples and the words "Zsolnay, Pecs." It is also marked with an impressed "1063" and the printed number "68." What can you tell me about its origin?

A: Vilmos Zsolnay founded a pottery in Pecs, Hungary, and was producing ceramics by 1853. The trademark with five churches was first used in 1878. The medieval name for the town translates as "Five Churches." The initials "T.J.M." that appear in the mark on your vase stand for Terez, Julia, and Miklos, the children of Vilmos Zsolnay. They took over the factory after his death, but their initials were used as early as 1878. The impressed numbers indicate the year the piece was introduced. Number 1063 tells us that vases like yours were first made between 1882 and 1885. The other number might be a design or shape number. Similar vases have auctioned for $65 to $90 in the last year.

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