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Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Posted by babney (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 30, 12 at 12:58

You can view the complete set here: http://www.instappraisal.com/antique-appraisal/1900-30s-giesha-girls-tea-set.

I brought this tea set back from Germany and would like an appraisal/possibly sell. It was an heirloom from my wife's grandmother. It is fine bone (see thru) porcelain. From the markings on the pieces and the gold enamel detailing, it dates from 1890-1915: Marking: http://gotheborg.com/marks/index_jap_marks.htm; This mark is Nippon Tokusei mark but with two unidentified characters ("mountain" = san something). After 1915, the gold enamel detailing was replaced with white if detailed at all.

I have found many copies of this Geisha Girls motif but none as densely imaged, intricately detailed nor with the gold highlights. For example, in addition to the extensive gold detailing on cup rims, the handles, the geisha girls' robes and the pagoda, each cup has eight, 1/8 in. x 1/16 in., 24ct. golden leaves as well. Additionally, the white lotus blooms are raised (evident on lower cup and second saucer). Of course, as they are hand painted, each piece is absolutely and discernibly unique in it's own right. This set appears to be one of a kind (the original iteration of this particular motif) if what is available on the internet is any indication.

The saucers are approximately 3.5" in diameter, the cups 2.5" dia. x 1.3" tall to provide size approximation for you. The only damage is a tiny chip on the lip of the sugar bowl (covered by the lid) and chips on either side of the sugar bowl lid gripping surface. Other than that there is no discernible wear or damage on any of the other pieces.

This set is for sale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Complete Set


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Okay, now go sell it on eBay!


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

What you have is a sugar and creamer, 6 saucers and 4 cups. You are missing a tea pot and 2 cups to make it any more than miscellaneous pieces.
It's not bone china, that was made in England not Japan. And that Rising sun tokosei mark wasn't used until after 1920....more likely closer to 1950.
AND this is not a site to offer things for sale....nor appraisal.
As was suggested by justlinda, offer it on ebay...if you start low enough you will sell it.....but a better idea is to put it in a yard sale, then no one will have to pay shipping.
Linda C


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

The link is specifically discussing the exact rising sun mark...1900-9130s. further research revealed that the gold enamel was replaced by white enamel due to expense between 1910-1915. None of the other examples of this motif that I've discovered even have gold enamel detailing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Details on Marking


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

You must be looking at a different page....what I see is that the mark on your partial set dates it to the Early Showa period at the earliest....I can't find your link to the picture of the mark...I suspect you have to sign into that appraisal site.

In the late 1940's that stuff was considered junk...it came with tea as a premium often in the 5 and dime store. Age and the fact that it was not highly regarded now makes it desirable, but not very valuable....there's a lot of it out there.
You asked for an opinion....I am telling you what I know.
Sell it at auction....that will give you the true value....which is what someone will pay.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

This link is the Gotheborg page for Japanese manufacturing markings: http://gotheborg.com/marks/index_jap_marks.htm.

The exact mark on our pieces is right about the lower third of the page but there's a lot of markings...very useful info.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

I think this person just doesn't GET IT! This site is not for selling PERIOD.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

You can call it anything you want to....but that doesn't make it so....
And.....you won't find a buyer here.
Garage sale it out....you will get a better price that trying to peddle it on the internet.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

I guess this is the site of irrational overreaction and personal possessiveness I've been searching for. I asked a simple question, answered what many might consider a logical question in advance of it being asked and shared my research in hopes of gleaning a little more knowledge. Sorry to have offended you all!! You guys really are "experts" and a "community." WOW! I'll really have to be more suspect of that extensively research and documented Gotheborg site and listen to you guys. Who woulda thunk finding identical manufacturing markings could be so misleading...those guys are just freekin diabolical.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Why not try posting a picture here of the mark?...The link to your pictures sends to a page that says it does not exist....below is copied and pasted from the Gotheborg site...how is this different from your cups?
Nippon Tokusei (Japan Special Made)
These marks appears to belong to the 'Early Showa' period, where Showa was 1926-1988 and 'Early Showa' is often used to cover the Showa reign before 1945.
10, 15, 16, 18. The characters immediately below the "rising sun" read from right to left as Nippon (=Japan). The two characters written vertically read Nippon Tokusei i.e. "Japan special make" or "Specially made in Japan".


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

This mark is Nippon Tokusei mark but with two unidentified characters ("mountain" = san something) probably 1900-30s. 778. The characters immediately below the "rising sun" read from right to left as Nippon (=Japan). The two characters written vertically read Nippon Tokusei i.e. "Japan special make" or "Specially made in Japan". The two characters below is probably the name of the factory.

Another site, http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/post-colonial ceramics/Less Commonly Found/JapaneseOverglaze/index-japaneseoverglaze.html, said:
Gold gilt is sometimes used to decorate handles and rims. Around 1910 to 1915, white and yellow enamel dots, lines, stars and zigzags began to be used as a less expensive alternative to gold enameling.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Below is a link to some china that looks to be pretty much what you have.
May I suggest you watch it on ebay and see if they get their minimum bid....currently it's $4.99 with $11.00 shipping.
That will tell you the value or your cups and saucers.

Here is a link that might be useful: cup saucer and plate


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

One last thing, that last site was discussing "printed porcelain" and "Made in Japan" marks rather than the manufacturing markings we have. Each of our pieces are individually hand painted and images are precisely detailed. No two are identical.

I understand there are "garbage," mass produced versions of these pieces. That's why I'm attempting to capture more information.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Of course I want ours to be better but two things jump out at me, the colors are nowhere near as vibrant and there's absolutely no gold gilding. If you look at the rims of our cups, edges of our saucers and the tops of the creamer and sugar bowl, all those slashes are 24 kt. gold and there's much, much more. As I stated in my first posting each cup has eight gold leaves as well as gilding on the pagodas, robes, handles and elsewhere. The manufacturing marking, while very fuzzy, appears to be the same


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

There are gold slashes on the rim of the plate and cup and saucer linked...pictures are poor quality but if you zoom in on the plate it's evident.
You keep talking about "the last site" none of your links work...evn copying and pasting into a browser.

You say you brought the pieces back from Germany? How did they get there? Were they imported into Germany? The laws for import into the US are different due to the Mckinley tariff act. After 1891 pieces had to be marked with the country of origin, and after 1921 that mark had to be in English....but there were many examples of the rules not being followed....and much unmarked ware.

Do you really think that every little outline on those geisha girl china pieces was done by hand? Not so....they were printed and hand finished...that is the colors of the hair, gowns, rims and the gold slashes and the moriage were hand applied....but the rest was printed.

The term "egg shell porcelain" was also used to describe that sort of ware...but that includes many patterns, like the dragon lithophane geisha ware and the stuff known as screaming eagle and the think it's called 1000 ancestors pattern.
There was some of the Japanese stuff of that period that appears mostly hand painted....but it's scarce!....see the link...that looks to be hand painted to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese tea set.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Sorry about the links not working. From the items that you linked, one feature that's similar between those pieces and ours are the raised white lotus(?) flowers. They are evident on all our pieces as well. One other thing that indicates the hand painting, none of the pieces are identical as can even be seen on the picture above. For example, the grasses behind the green geisha are discernibly different on the two saucers in front. The placement of the green geisha on the two front cups are different, note the distance between her hair and the rust colored rim. Also note the leaves above and behind the hair of the blue geisha on all the cups, all 4 are different.

I don't know how they got to Germany but they were my 1st wife's grandmother's. She's 55 and her mom gave birth to her her in her 40s so the timing is right for the early 1900s IMHO.

does this site work: http://www.instappraisal.com/antique-appraisal/1900-30s-giesha-girls-tea-set


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

The link works now....but it's easier if you make a direct link, so a viewer doesn't have to copy and paste....
My question about Germany was was your first wife's grandmother German? Was the set imported into Germany? or the US? makes a difference.
I'll look closely in a few minutes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to set.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Your pieces have printed outlines....the differences in placement you see are due to the printing being laid on the piece differently or to differences in how the hand done embellishments, coloring was added.

The puzzle in the whole matter is the mark.....early showa period...1920's and after. BUT the McKinley tarrif act passed in 1891 made it illegal to import porcelain without the place of origin marked...
Perhaps it was bought but not for import? Or imported into Germany? or perhaps at one time it had a paper label also attached....or perhaps the importer turned a blind eye....that happened some!

All that said....it's still not worth much. I still say garage sale it....because the packing and shipping will be prohibitive. Someone may pay $50 for the set....but not when they have to pay another $30 for packing and shipping.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Linda, why is there all that white on the creamer at the top, next to the spout? Was this decorated with a decal that wasn't placed accurately on the creamer?


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

The red and the colors of the dresses, hair, flowers, plants etc are all applied by hand....not in a slow painstaking way....but in a sort of mass produced way. Slap the paint on and move on to the next!
It's just that the decorator wasn't terribly careful.
those Geisha Girl patterns also were made with blue or brown where the red is....called....wait for it.....blue geisha ware! LOL!
But the red is more common. It was made for export...Japanese don't use cream nor sugar in their tea nor have salt and pepper shakers on the table matching the tea cups. Nor do they use hot chocolate pots... This stuff was made in a hurry to export.
I remember my grandmother had an egg cup in that ware she got with tea....she gave it to me....and I'll bet it's in a box somewhere!!


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

To this day (well, until about 15 years ago at least) it was not required for goods sold in Germany to show country of origin. As a Canadian shopper who compulsively reads labels for that info, this drove me nuts! But there it was, and probably still is.

Karin L


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

I have a similar set and I know that 1 tea cup and saucer is worth $75 and that is just for 1 set...u may want to try a free site that I belong to... collectors weekly...you can search it on google...it is more helpful with identifying and history of your collectibles...I love that site.. if u are looking for a friendly and supportive share site then come and sign up...I am embarrassed that I stumbled upon such rude comments made to you about your lovely and antique set...thank you for sharing and try out collectors weekly...I am positive you will find it to be a great experience as opposed to this.


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

I have 5 little lithopone cups
5 saucers
5 little spoons
They are all white with geisha on bottom. Can anyone give me any idea on value please??


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

I have 5 little lithopone cups
5 saucers
5 little spoons
They are all white with geisha on bottom. Can anyone give me any idea on value please??


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

I can't help you with value but my advice would be to check e-bay for the average sale prices of similar sets.

My father's favorite aunt was married to an officer stationed in Japan during the occupation and she had a beautiful little lithopane or lithophane teaset.

I don't know what happened to hers, but I bought one on e-bay a few years back. Sorry I don't remember what I paid.

I found my geisha in the gallery of this collectors' site. I'm posting the URL link or just type lithophane geisha into google and it will probably come up.

Here is a link that might be useful: site by UK collector of lithophane


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RE: Value of Antique Geisha Tea Set?

Love this tea set! It's really nice!!!


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