Question: My late wife’s mother collected old china items she called her “Delft ware.” Some of the pieces are white dishes with deep blue decoration but others are tiles colored with bright blue, green, yellow and purple designs. I have an 18-inch-long, 14-inch-wide mahogany-framed arrangement of the colored tiles that hangs on my wall. A neighbor offered me $100 for it. I would appreciate anything you can tell me about Delft ware and this item’s possible worth. J.H., Salem
Answer: Delft is tin glazed earthenware made in Holland and England for centuries. Dutch potters created blue and white articles while English artists also offered large quantities of tin-glazed Delft ware enhanced with vibrant polychrome decoration.
Dutch potteries began producing their blue and white objects during the mid-1600’s and later introduced a few soft colors, but by 1800 there was reduced interest in the ware.
English Delft pieces, particularly apothecary items, barber basins and puzzle jugs, were popular in the early 1700’s. Later, plates, bowls and vases were created but by 1790, demand had declined.
During the mid-1800s, polychromatic English Delft tiles became popular tourist souvenirs purchased by foreign travelers. At that time, many bold, framed Delft tile compositions like yours were purchased in England and carried home by their owners to America and other countries.
Last year, several similar framed English Delft tile arrangements fetched $375 to $500 each.
Question: Is it possible for you to provide some information, including value, about a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis salt-and-pepper set bought at a yard sale. There are two shakers (heads only) each 3 1/2 inches high. Dean Martin’s head has an “S” printed on its back and Lewis’s head is marked with a “P.” Both heads can rest in a 4-inch-long white ceramic base shaped like the duo’s collars and bow ties. A foil “Napco Japan” label is on the base’s underside. P.C., Bordentown
Answer: The 3-part set you described was one of many made for use as tableware at Dean Martin’s “Dino Lodge”
Los Angeles, California, restaurant located on Sunset Strip from 1942 until 1962. Such sets also were sold as souvenirs to regular patrons and folks who visited the celebrity nightspot as tourists.
Your set was made by the National Potteries Corporation, also known as the Napco Company, founded in 1938 at Bedford, Ohio. The firm produced Napcoware ceramic items that include ashtrays, planters, figurines, mugs, salt-and-pepper shakers, wall decorations and Christmas novelties. Napco was purchased by Inarco Co. in 1986 and later moved to Jacksonville, Florida.
Most presently collected Napco items were made during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Your circa 1950’s set attracts folks who search for salt-and-pepper shakers or celebrity and restaurant memorabilia.
During this year, sets like yours sold for prices ranging from $160 to $275, based on condition and if complete with original stoppers.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: email@example.com. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.