Ask A Worthologist Question: Rosenthal Art Deco Urn

WorthPoint member Stella B. picked up this Rosenthal urn at a church bazaar, paying only $40 for it. She loves it and doesn’t plan on selling it, but wanted to know more about it. She engaged WorthPoint’s “Ask A Worthologist” service to find out.

The Rosenthal mark, along with the name of the artist, Kurt Wendler.

Stella B. picked up this Rosenthal urn at a church bazaar, in a box complete with plastic roses for $40 and stuffed with newspapers circa, 1959. As is usual with sales of this type, many of the items were donated were pulled out of closets, attics and basements with little or no documentation or family histories. Stella really likes it and has no plans to sell it, but would like some idea of its value, age and history. Stella contacted WorthPoint’s “Ask a Worthologist”service to inquire about this piece, her inquiry was forwarded to me,

Here’s her question:

“We recently had a fund raiser at our church and the congregation was asked to donate items for sale in our yearly bazaar. We normally have hundreds of items donated, most of it is stuff that’s been stored away for years by some of our elderly members or unwanted inherited bric-a-brac from the younger people. I don’t normally find much that appeals to me at these sales, but this urn really caught my eye. It had not yet been put on display it was still in was in a box stuffed with papers from 1959 and some very faded plastic roses. It came out of a Depression style Lane cedar chest someone had donated packed in with linens, tablecloths and doilies, etc. I paid $40 for it, which I thought was a wonderful price for such a lovely thing. It’s about 10 inches in height and is stamped on the bottom (see mark image) “Rosenthal” over “Selb-Bavaria” with a crown and scepters. Below that it has a name,” Kurt Wendler.” I don’t plan on selling it but would like to know what it’s worth, how old it is and anything else you can tell me.”

Here’s my response:

Well, you’ve certainly found a gem among the bric-a-brac. This is a wonderful Art Deco piece made by well-know porcelain works Rosenthal. The Rosenthal company was founded as a decorating studio in 1879 in Schloss (castle) Erkersreuth, Upper Franconia, Bavaria, as the Porzellanfabrik Phillip Rosenthal & Co. Phillip opened his first factory in 1891 and the first world exposition of his products was in 1900. Since then Rosenthal has been a renowned name for quality porcelain and remains in production to this day.

This particular piece is in the “Indra” pattern and one of the nicest bits from Rosenthal made during the early 1920s. The Indra pattern was found on a line that included plates, vases, urns and trinket boxes. This one was designed by Kurt Wendler (1893-1980), who worked for Rosenthal from 1920 until 1930.

In the past year, similar Indra pieces have been listing with presale auction estimates in the $1,400-$1,800 range and realizing those prices as well.

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


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