Question: Attached are photos of a unique bowl and its mark. Inherited from my in-laws, it is 9 inches high, 10 inches in diameter and about 32 inches in circumference. Information about the bowl and its use is appreciated. - B.P., Somers Point
Answer: The mark shown on your stoneware jardiniere indicates it was made by the Royal Doulton Co. of Lambeth and Bur-slem, England. Founded in 1815, the company made stoneware and earthenware decorative items as well as bone china dinnerware for more than 150 years and now is owned by WWRD Holdings Ltd.
Your piece's mark, a lion standing on a crown over a twisted cord and the "Royal Doulton England" interlocking, quadruple "D" motif, was introduced to celebrate the company's receipt of the Royal Warrant granted by King Edward VII in 1901. Although many variations of the mark have been used over the years, yours is the original that appears on items made from 1902 through the 1920s.
The jardiniere's continuous design featuring classical figures and Greek key borders was popular at the turn of the last century, when archeological expeditions and reissues of "Bullfinch's Mythology" captured interest and imagination. The pattern continues to attract collectors who pay $45 for a jug, $240 for a pitcher and $600 for a humidor with cover. The only "bowl" I found which conforms to your measurements and your piece's decoration is a jardiniere (smaller examples are listed as cachet pots). Paired with a matching baluster, such jardinieres were offered by Royal Doulton as part of a plant stand that recently sold for $1,300.
Question: Years ago, my aunt inherited an old-fashioned silver mesh purse,
5 1/2 inches wide and
4 1/2 inches deep. It is lined with white leather and has a fancy frame with a
14-inch chain. The purse, now mine, is in an old cardboard mailing box with canceled August 1913 postage and "Good Stories Augusta Maine" stamped on the sender's corner. Can you tell me anything about this item? - D.P., Cinnaminson
Answer: The purse is a premium awarded to a subscriber of "Good Stories" a women's mail-order magazine, one of 17 published in Augusta, Maine, from the late 1860s until the early 1940s. Periodicals such as "American Woman," "Home and Fireside," "Practical Housekeeper" and "Good Stories" were subscribed to by women throughout America, especially those who lived in rural areas. Content included articles about family life, decorating, crafts, health, fashion and food as well as romantic fiction, short stories and poetry.
In addition to page after page of ads featuring everything from stylish frocks to patent medicines, the magazines were supported by thousands of subscriptions realized through publishers' "Club-Raisers" programs that offered rewards to subscribers who sold new subscriptions to friends and family members.
Your German silver mesh bag lined with white kid was a desirable fashion accessory when it was presented as a reward in 1913. Popular from the 1880s, mesh purses made from sterling, plated or German silver - an alloy composed of copper, zinc and nickel - originally dangled from long chains over bouffant skirts and later over flapper fringe. Eventually produced in gold and bronze tones as well as enameled models, 19th- and early 20th-century mesh purses are among today's popular fashion collectibles. Your purse is valued at $60 to $100, based on exterior and interior condition.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Life section, The Press of Atlantic City, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, N.J. 08232. Email:
Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.