Ask A Worthologist Question: Roseville Vase

WorthPoint member Jeff A. found an unmarked vase in an antique store he liked. It looked like an early Art Nouveau piece, probably from the turn of the 19th century. The dealer concurred, and eventually they struck a deal. After engaging WorthPoint’s “Ask A Worthologist” service, Jeff now knows that the preconception as to when it was made made it hard to find out the real history of the piece.

Jeff A. found an unusual vase he thinks is Art Nouveau. He recently bought it at an antique store because he liked its design. His curiosity got the better of him and he’s since done a little research on it. He’s intrigued because it has no maker’s marks, number or letters to give any idea as to who made it and he’s come to the conclusion that because it has no markings on it and the decoration is full of organic, flowing lines of intertwined morning glories, that the piece must be a pre-1891 Art Nouveau example. He only paid $250 for it, using the fact there was no marking on it as a haggling point from an original price of $300. The label on it had nothing claiming it was anything in particular, but the dealer said, in his opinion, it was probably a turn-of-the-19th-century piece. As Jeff has not been able to find a match for this piece as Art Nouveau he contacted WorthPoint’s “Ask a Worthologist” service to inquire about its origins and value. His inquiry was forwarded to me, here’s his question:

“I bought this vase from an antique store around a month ago asthe design was a little unusual and I liked it. The dealer didn’t seem to know much about it because it had no company stamp on it, but said it came out an estate auction with a bunch of pottery that was marked dating to the turn of the 19th century. I managed to haggle him down from $300 to $250 because it was unmarked. After I got it home I did a little digging on Google and think this might be a 19th-century Art Nouveau piece because it has no country mark* and the morning glory design. I could not find a match for this vase searching for “Art Nouveau Morning Glory Vase” and am really curious as to what it really is.”

Here’s my response:

Sometimes research takes us in the wrong direction if we have a preconceived notion as to what we are looking. While many pieces made prior to 1890 had no country of origin marks, and the morning glory vine is a Art Nouveau icon, in the case of this piece, neither of these assumptions are correct. Your vase is actually quite a bit newer than either you or the dealer believed. It’s actually a piece by the well known Art Pottery by Roseville in its “Morning Glory” pattern. This pattern dates to 1935. Yours is a model 730-10 in green, but it was also made in white as well. The green version is generally more sought after than the white.

The reason for the lack of markings is that some pieces in this pattern originally had foil labels, which were either removed or have simply fallen off over time. Standard colors for this pattern are green and white, green is usually priced higher than white. In addition to the foil labels, some early Morning Glory pieces were also marked with hand-written shape numbers. Some examples have familiar, die-impressed Roseville script marks telling of the shape number and size.

There are about 18 different Morning Glory shapes that I’m aware of, including, candlesticks, bowls, baskets, vases and wall pockets. Even though your vase is not what you originally thought it was, you still did quite well by getting it retail for $250.00. In the current market comparable Roseville Morning Glory vases often sell even at auction for more than $300.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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