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December 15, 2012

Royal Dux figurines once hot, now not

:Dear Helaine and Joe: Would you have an idea of the value of this Royal Dux Bohemia centerpiece, No. 647? It stands 16 inches tall and 15-by-10 inches at the base. As far as I can discover, there are not flaws. Any information would be helpful.

A.M.B., The Villages, Fla.

Dear A.M.B.: This is art-nouveau imagery at its very best.

This magnificent piece features two scantily clad women with typical curly hair -- scandalously cavorting at what appears to be some sort of a pool surrounded by leaves and foliage. It’s a little bit racy by some standards.

“Royal Dux” is the name that collectors give to the products of the Dux Porcelain Manufactory, which was located in Duchcov, Bohemia, until 1918, Czechoslovakia until 1993 and, now, the Czech Republic. The company was founded by Eduard Eichler in 1860, and in 1945 the concern joined with other companies and was nationalized to become Duchcov Porcelain.

Royal Dux was famous for its decorative tablewares, and this elaborate object would have been used as a lovely centerpiece either on a table or on a sideboard/buffet. The mark is a pink triangle with an acorn in the center surrounded by the words, “Royal Dux Bohemia,” with a capital “E” in the bottom part of the acorn.

According to Robert E. Rontgen’s “Marks on German, Bohemian and Austrian Porcelain,” this mark was used starting in 1912,which is a little late for pieces with an art-nouveau style. Rontgen also suggests that the “E” became a “D.” in 1947 and an “M” in 1953. Collectors greatly prefer authentic Dux pieces with the “E.”

We found a reference that said that Dux used porcelain to make its smaller pieces, but pottery (earthenware) to make its larger models. This may or may not be true, but if it is, it suggests to us that this piece is probably pottery rather than the more refined and highly fired porcelain.

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