Q: I am enclosing a photograph of a rocker that we inherited. The carvings are unique.
What can you tell me about this piece? Its age and value?
A: This is called a platform rocker; the first one was patented in 1876.
Yours was made between that date and the turn of the century. It would sell for about $365 to $385 in good condition.
Q: This mark is on the back of a porcelain plaque that measures 12 by 8 inches. It depicts a man with a woman holding a child. They are seated in front of a small house.
L What information can you provide about its origin and value?
A: This was made in Limoges, France, by the A. Laternier company during the late 1800s. It would probably sell in the $500 to $600 range.
Q: My nine-piece chocolate set (pot, four cups and saucers) is marked with two flowers and "J.&C." Each piece has floral designs on a pink-and-white background.
Please identify the maker and vintage. I would also like to know its current market value.
A: The mark you describe was used by Jaeger & Co. in Marktredwitz, Germany, around 1900. A set like this would probably sell for about $100 to $125.
Q: What can you tell me about a blue-and-white china platter? It measures 13 by 10 inches and is marked "Kaolin -- P.W.& Co."
A: You have a Flow Blue platter made by Podmore, Walker & Co. in Tunstall, England. Kaolin is the name of the pattern.
It was made in the late 19th century and would probably sell for about $165 to $185.
Q: The mark on the bottom of a bisque figure of a blond dancing girl is a sunrise in the top of a circle, with the monogram "G.H." in the lower half. The girl has a blue dress trimmed in white.
I would like to know the name of the maker, when it was made and its value.
A: Your figurine was made by Gebruder Heubach in Thuringia, Germany, about 1900. It would probably sell for $265 to $285.
Q: I have a candle holder that consists of a basket with two girls at each end of the handle. Socket for the candle is on top of the handle. It is marked on the bottom "R. St. K."
Please tell me anything you can about my prized antique.
A: This unusual candle holder was made in Turn, Austria, about 1900 by Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel (the company was also known as the Amphora Works).
It would probably sell for at least $100.
Q: The enclosed picture is of a bench that was thrown out for trash. We had it completely restored and reupholstered.
Can you tell me anything about its origin and value?
A: This is an Empire-style bench probably made in the mid-1800s. It might sell for $500 or $600.
In 1616, a special clay necessary for the production of porcelain was found in the Hizen Province of Japan. Previously, Japan had imported its porcelain from China and Korea.
Many small kilns were built in Hizen Province; they exported their porcelain through the nearby seaport of Imari. The European traders gave all the porcelain the name of Imari.
The colors used were blue and red or orange on a white background. It became so popular with the traders that it was copied in China and given the name of Chinese Imari.
Within 100 years, dozens of potters in England, Germany and France were imitating Imari and printing an imitation Oriental chop mark on the back.
The blue on the Japanese Imari was darker than the Chinese. Japan used an Indian red; the Chinese, a coral red. The Japanese glaze was grayish; the Chinese was greenish.
The early 17th- and 18th-century Imari is extremely rare and very expensive.
By the 19th century, the quality and beauty of Imari had deteriorated; the colors were gaudy, the designs elaborate and often lacking in taste. Well-executed 19th-century Imari is hard to find and very expensive.
A 20-inch 19th-century bowl decorated with lotus and dragons and waves sells for about $400. A 24-inch charger of the same vintage with flowers and birds lists for $650. A 15-inch vase decorated with courtesans, dragons and flowers sells for $500.
An 11-inch square sake bottle from the mid-1800s decorated with birds and grapes lists for $750. A
inch bowl made around 1900 with floral scrolls and lotus medallions lists for $200.
Some very ordinary Imari items can be had for less than $100. Exceptionally fine 19th century pieces will run more than $1,000.
Book Review: "The Complete Cookie Jar Book" by Mike Schneider (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.), with more than 2,000 color photos, makers' marks and prices, is unquestionably the most definitive work on the subject.
During the 1930s and early 1940s, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, at the Franciscan convent in Seissen, Germany, achieved recognition for her talent as an artist. She specialized in pastel drawings of small children at work and play.
From 1935 to the present, the Goebel Co. in Rodental, Germany, has produced hundreds of figurines of small children based on her original art.
All genuine figurines are incised with her signature, "M.I. Hummel." They also bear one of six trademarks that may be used to determine the period in which they were made.
The first mark, a crown over the monogram "WG," indicates that the figure was made between 1935 and 1942. There are five additional marks covering production up to the present.
Naturally, the ones with the first mark are the most valuable.
The most valuable is probably the "Advent Group With Black Child." This is a candleholder consisting of the infant with two white angels and one black. The number is 31, and if one should turn up today, it would be worth more than $10,000.
In second place would be an almost identical "Silent Night," No. 54, which is worth between $5,000 and $10,000.
Fortunately, all Hummels are not so expensive. There are hundreds to choose from for $100 or less.
Those who have serious interest in Hummels can contact the Goebels Collectors Club, 105 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591, or The Hummels Collectors Club, P.O. Box 257, Yardley, Pa. 19067.