Q: Enclosed is a picture of my old doll. Please give me your estimate of its value. She stands about 30 inches tall and has a bisque head and shoulders. Her hair and eyelashes are real, and she has blue sleep eyes. The body is jointed composition, but the hands and feet are bisque. Her mouth is open, showing her teeth. She is dressed in a 1900-style costume. The back of the head is marked "Halbig -- Germany."
A: Your doll was made by Simon & Halbig in Grafenhain, Germany, about 1900. In good condition, it should sell in the $1,750 to $2,000 range.
Q: The enclosed mark is on the bottom of a 10-inch dinner plate with a scalloped gold rim and a paneled border with a stylized garden motif. The colors are red, green and blue. Can you tell me anything about its origin, age and value?
A: This plate was made by Shore & Coggins in Longton, England, about 1900. It is fine-quality bone china and probably worth $50 to $60.
Let's eliminate the confusion about Irish Belleek and American Belleek.
The Irish version is a beautiful, lightweight, translucent porcelain made in a factory founded in Ireland by David McBirney. It has a creamy iridescence like a seashell. All kinds of articles were made -- tea sets, figurines, centerpieces, etc.
Irish Belleek enjoyed such popularity in America that there soon emerged imitators in this country. Ott & Brewer in Trenton, N.J.; Ceramic Art Pottery, later Lenox China; Willets Manufacturing Co., also of Trenton; and Knowles, Taylor & Knowles of East Liverpool, Ohio, were prominent among the American manufacturers of Belleek-type porcelain.
The American version is heavier and less translucent and is not likely to be mistaken for Irish Belleek.
The Irish Belleek is easy to identify by its marks, which show
some combination of a hound, tower, harp and shamrock. The American marks are also easy to recognize -- they all are marked "Belleek" for obvious reasons. In addition, they usually include their own name, such as Willets, Lenox, Coxon, etc.
Strangely enough, American Belleek brings prices as high as and sometimes higher than Irish Belleek. There has been much more of the Irish Belleek made than all of the American versions combined.
Irish Belleek bearing the first mark (hound, harp and tower over Belleek) was made between 1863 and 1891. It is the most desirable and brings the highest prices.
American Belleek hasn't been made in almost 100 years and brings higher prices than Irish Belleek made in the last 50 years.
Send your questions about antiques with picture(s), a detailed description, a stamped, self-addressed envelope and $1 per item to James G. McCollam, P.O. Box 1087, Notre Dame, Ind. 46556. All questions will be answered; published pictures cannot be returned. Mr. McCollam is a member of the Antique Appraisers Association of America.