Question: The ceramic figurine shown in my pictures was purchased for $12.00 last year at a silent auction. It is 8 1/2 inches high, in perfect condition and has a 4 1/2 -inch high rectangular well behind its ruffled skirt. There is an oval black and silver sticker on its base printed "Josef Originals" and a black "Japan" sticker. I am curious about the piece's maker, age and value. - E.W., Riverton
Answer: California entrepreneur Muriel Joseph George was making lucite jewelry when World War II cut off the sources of her materials. In 1946, a year after the war's end, Muriel and her husband, Tom, founded Josef Originals. Their company designed and produced an enormous selection of ceramic items until it was sold in 1982.
Initially made at Muriel and Tom's Southern California factory, Josef Originals items were manufactured in Japan after 1959, when the Georges formed a partnership with distributor George Good. Good convinced them that their ceramic wares could be produced more cost efficiently at Japan's Katayama factory. His advice proved sound and business boomed.
Today's collectible Josef Originals include Muriel's signature Mice series, Birthstone and Baby Doll series, Pet series and a Lady series featuring women gracefully posed in beautiful costumes. Your piece is one of the Lady series planter figurines, a glamorous model with wind-swept, gilt enhanced skirt and petticoats that hide a built-in container created to hold a plant or floral bouquet.
Made from the 1960s to 1980, many Josef Originals Lady planters are selling for $130 to $165, based on model, age, rarity and condition.
Question: Enclosed is photo of a framed picture owned by my grandparents. I have not been able to find any information about it or G.W. Bohde, the artist who signed it. Thank you for any help you can provide. - G.M., Brigantine
Answer: Your drypoint etching by American artist George W. Bohde (1878-1939) appears to be "The Harbor," a scene depicting the Long Island shore. It was published at the turn of the last century by Fishel, Adler & Schwartz, high-end New York City art dealers and agents. Copies of the art later were printed by Radthe, Lackner & Co. of New York.
Most of Bohde's etchings, featuring landscapes, seascapes, farms, mills, small bridges and other rural scenes, were created during the 1890s, while his sought-after, rarer watercolor art was painted from 1900 to 1915.
Because Bohde's etchings were mass-produced, they are somewhat common and most can be purchased for $50 to $300, depending on size, condition and if they are in an original frame. His watercolors, which were not reproduced, have listed for as much as $7,500 at worldwide auctions.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist whose consulting firm, Treasures Unlimited, is based in southern New Jersey. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email: email@example.com
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.