Whomever scooped this breathtakingly rare porcelain candle holder up for $29.99 should be thanking sweet Jesus they were trolling through the listings when this popped up. This is arguably the most coveted single item from the many the Germans produced for their porcelain tea set service from 1908 through 1932. Prior to this listings I had seen only two examples in the same large lot that was sold to me many years ago. One has been in the collection ever since, the other, heavily damaged and missing pieces, was sold. I have a long list of people who really want this. I sure hope whomever got it was on that list. The seller was foolish. She obviously had no idea what she was selling, given that she describes this as being from the 1970s. She basically robbed herself of thousands of dollars as I have zero doubt this would have sold for significantly more than SGV given its rarity and how many collectors want it. The lesson to be learned here is simple: If you don't know what you are selling, never list it as a BIN - always use an auction format.
Every now and then something surfaces on eBay that astounds. I've been collecting a long time and have never seen this before. That said, I don't care for it much. It seems to be a rather clumsy and nonsensical pastiche of pieces. The factory obviously found another use for the candle holder body, grafted a small cup to the top and added a handle and that unfortunately-sized honker. Going through my wholesaler catalogs, I can find no description of this item, which means nothing in and of itself. Wholesalers often didn't get every item and things were much less formal back then. This is almost certainly a one-off, perhaps made by a bored worker, but I completely speculate. Because I am a completist, I'd typically make a play for this, but the damage is too extensive for it to be part of the collection.
10/09 Update: This sold for $787.77.
These great items sold almost precisely at their sustainable guide values. Neither the lidded sugar nor the saucer was marked, so one has to be on alert that the sugar wasn't actually made in Japan, thereby considerably lessening its value. (The Japanese never marked these Halloween porcelain wares, whereas the Germans more often than not did mark these wares.) The Japanese didn't make saucers, so the only question is whether the lidded sugar is German or Japanese. It is definitely the former based on its finish. The 3.25" saucer is devilishly difficult to find.
I'm surprised this listing lasted as long as it did -and even then it was only a handful of hours. I was preparing to comment that someone should snap this up asap when the listing changed mid-post to indicate that someone had bought it. Kudos! This medium-sized tea cup is a just a tad harder to find than the smallest size, even though both are assigned a Relative Scarcity Index number of "3." The guide price, though, illustrates that difference. If you want to see the finest array of pieces from the various sized tea sets the Germans made early in the last century shown in any reference, pick up a copy of my newly revised and greatly enhanced third edition of Vintage Halloween Collectibles.
I have always coveted pieces from the surprisingly varied porcelain tea set made in Germany beginning in 1908. The handled cups are harder to find than the non-handled variety, and the saucers are always a good score. For loads of information and photos of pieces in this set, please refer to pages 119-121 of my newly published third edition.
This is at least the second time this seller has tried to unload this set. It was listed in late September 2012 with an opening bid of $1,900. Here is what I wrote then: "These are all great items (especially the small cups and saucers) and appropriately marked, but the opening price is already a fully valued number. I think the seller is making an error starting so high as that price will engender few bids. Why not start the lot at $500 and let the vagaries of the auction setting determine the price?"
The seller is slowly making progress in the right direction. They have listed it with a Buy-It-Now price of $1,695 with a willingness to accept offers. Given the described condition of the pieces, I feel this set is worth in the $1,100 to $1,400 range depending on your tolerance for imperfection.
This is the seventh of a planned release of one dozen short videos. I will be releasing these over the next few weeks. Enjoy!