From the Worthologist’s File: High-Relief Capodimonte Centerpiece Bowl

One of the advantages of being an appraiser is the sheer volume of incredible things one comes across on a weekly basis. Not all are hugely valuable, antique, rare or even all that sought after. Often, their value is sentimental, but many times they come with priceless provenance. Our Worthologist filing cabinet is a treasure chest of such items, stuffed with appraisal requests from our clients asking about everything from stuffed aardvarks to folk art zithers, all of which we’ll cover in this column.

Our Client’s Request:

This piece hails from one of our clients in Colorado, but it’s origins come from halfway around the world. Our client reported it as being six inches in height and nine inches wide, and, based on the images, appears to be in good condition. There are no company or maker’s markings on it and they have no family history other than it has been in the family as long as anyone can remember. It’s the style, however, that tells the tale for this piece.

An Ask a Worthologist client wrote to us asking about the value of this high-relief Capodimonte centerpiece bowl. Worthologist Mike Wilcox fielded the question, did the research and replied.

Our Valuation

These high-relief centerpiece bowls are a lot newer than they first appear. While they are patterned after examples of 18th-century porcelain, they are actually Continental pieces made in either Germany or Italy prior to and just after the Second World War. The largest producers of such pieces were potteries centered in Dresden, Germany, and Capodimonte potteries in Italy.

Capodimonte has become a generic term to describe Italian pottery noted for its high-relief decoration, flowers and figures, such as cherubs, in its design. Capodimonte porcelain actually dates back centuries. The first pieces fired by this company were produced in Naples, Italy from 1759 to 1780 at the Royal Factory. One of the marks the firm used was the “Crowned N,” and this mark has been used by a large number of European potteries that have no connection to the original Royal pottery since the company closed.

Most pieces like this in the Capodimonte style were produced for the export market, and in some cases the only marking would be a paper or foil label applied by the importer. Values for these pieces tend to be rather modest in today’s market, due to changing tastes and estate clearances of the World War Two generation. As a result, the market has been filled with decorative porcelain, dinner services and figurines. In terms of value, according to data from our Worthopedia, comparable Capodimonte-style pieces now sell most often in the auction market, as seen here, here and here, in the $60 to $100 range.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement. He can be reached through his website

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