I have several Victorian-style bisque porcelain figurines; two of them have numbers on them, the others have no mark. How can I tell what they are worth?

Answer

While porcelain is smooth with bright colors, bisque is an unglazed porcelain (sometimes called "biscuit") with a rougher surface and softer colors. German bisque has been newly made using old molds. Older German examples are somewhat smoother than modern versions. Many German companies made bisque figurines with no mark, only an embossed number. You can usually tell the difference between German and French pieces as the German figures feature fuller faces while French pieces show finer facial features. So just because your figurines are unmarked does not mean that they are worthless.

Unmarked figurines are sometimes copies produced (in the Far East or Eastern Europe) for customers who could not afford high quality products. They were not intended to fool the market but to sell at lower prices, just like lower end china that mimics expensive brands. Of course there are unscrupulous people who will try to pass off copies as authentic higher end items. Copies often have a sandy feel to the base. The gold on a modern copy is usually bright while older, high quality figurines show a duller, honey colored gold. Not all copies are clunky looking but can be quite attractive in their own right.

The value of bisque figurines depends on condition, quality, and demand. Remember that the often sentimental or highly ornamental products typical of Victorian design is not highly sought after in today's market. However, certain companies created products that may seem corny but still hold value, such as figurines and piano babies by Gebruder Heubach.

You will need to take your unidentified pieces to someone in the know. An expert often has to see an item in person and to feel the weight and surface of the piece. While you may not want to commit to a professional appraisal, you may find help from an antique dealer who sells that sort of thing. Take the figurines to several dealers to see if they can advise you. You can also have a cheap online appraisal but one can not always rely on just a photograph.

Describe your figurines into a Google image search along with the number on the bottom. Also check out Ruby Lane or Collector's weekly online for comparisons. Try this every week for awhile as inventories change quickly.

Updated on January 28, 2020

Original Article:

Antiques and Collectibles: How to Value and Sell Your Old Things
By Dolores Monet
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