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China ‘fish set’ could net $800 |

China ‘fish set’ could net $800

Question: Among things I was given when my stepfather decided to sell his home several years ago is a group of antique Limoges china pieces he described as a “fish set.” It consists of a 25-inch-long oval platter, a dozen matching plates and a matching sauceboat with stand. Each piece is marked with a green underlined ELITE over an “L” over “France.” All are decorated with colorful, hand-painted fish swimming in pale blue water surrounded by cobalt borders touched with gilt. Can you tell me anything about this set? — J. A., Woodbine

Answer: Your 14-piece set represents a collecting category known as Game Service Dinnerware. Used on dining tables in well-to-do Victorian and Edwardian homes, its decorative subjects include fish, birds and animals that were hunted and often served at large, formal dinners.


Game service sets usually include a service platter with matching plates and sauceboats that hold condiments traditionally offered with certain game.

The mark on your set’s pieces is that of the Elite Works. Elite was established during the early 1870s in Limoges, France, where for years the company’s artists decorated porcelain items produced at Limoges factories. After World War I, mergers with two other firms occurred before Elite closed in 1932.

This year, a fish set similar to yours and in very good condition fetched $800.

Question: I would like to know the history and worth of an old 28-inch-tall doll in a long red dress, purchased by a friend at a Haddonfield antique shop during the 1960s. Its molded papier mache head with painted black hair and eyes is glued to a cloth body. A paper label on the doll’s shoulder reads, “Greiner’s Patent Doll Heads No. 7 Pat Mar 30 ’58 Ext 72.” — M.C., Bellmawr

Answer: Listed as a Philadelphia toymaker in 1840, German immigrant Ludwig Greiner was issued an early U.S. doll patent for his “improved” papier mache doll heads in 1858. During 1872, Greiner’s No. 7 patent was extended.

Created from a mixture of white paper, chalk, flour, glue and cloth, Greiner’s doll heads were called “shoulder heads” because each consisted of a combined head, neck and shoulders later attached to a cloth body.

Many Greiner doll specialists and collectors believe the wide variety of bodies and clothing found on the dolls suggest the shoulder heads were purchased without bodies, then finished and dressed at home or by Jacob Lachmann, who patented U.S. dolls’ bodies in 1871 and 1872.

A Ludwig Greiner doll such as the one you describe recently sold for $180.

Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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