Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Alva Vanderbilt BelmontQ: My mother bought this plate in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1961. Taped to the back is a piece of paper with my mother's handwriting which says, "Made for a lawn tea party given by O.H.P Belmont at Marble House, Newport, RI, in 1910." It has a lion and banner mark with the words "John Maddock & Sons, England" on the back. The plate is 6 inches wide. Is it valuable?

A: Alva Vanderbilt Belmont (1853-1933) was the widow of O.H.P. Belmont. After her first marriage, to the wealthy William Vanderbilt, ended in divorce, she married the even wealthier O.H.P. Belmont. After his death in 1908, she became active in the women's suffrage movement. She had the "Votes for Women" china made by John Maddock & Sons for a party in support of women's suffrage held at her Newport "cottage," Marble House, in 1909. Luncheon plates, salad plates, soup bowls, and cups and saucers were made. The dishes were also used at a tea party held at the mansion in July 1914. Both events raised money to support the suffrage movement and guests received pieces of the china as favors. The Newport Preservation Society sells reproductions of Votes for Women china. Reproductions have been made by five different manufacturers since the 1960s. The mark on your plate indicates it is one of the original pieces and was made c.1896 or later. An original plate like yours is worth about $800-$1,000. Reproduction plates sell for $20 or less.

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