Rosenthal Vases
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FAQ

1. Is the list of designers complete?
No, not by any means. The images are to help you decipher designer's signatures, which is the first step in finding out more about your vase.  I have concentrated on designers who made vases ca 1950 onwards, as most vases for sale on Ebay appear to be relatively modern ones.

2. My vase is not on your website.
This project started in 2010. So far, I have collected about 3000 Rosenthal vase pictures, and there are probably many more.

3. Are you a porcelain expert?
No - just a beginner. I am learning new things about the vases every day, and I will post them, as I go along. Rosenthal has been making lovely porcelain for over 100 years. You might be interested to know, that vases were either made by themselves, or they are part of a set. So, you might find a vase with matching ashtray, or with a complete set of plates, cups etc. The more recent ones are often made in different sizes - sometimes the identical vase a few centimeters smaller or larger. Or a black and a white version of the same vase. Other times, the decoration will be a little different, depending on the size.
4. Why do you have vases in inches and in centimeters?
Most of my vase photos come with the measurements that the Ebay seller has made. This could be approximate, or very precise, and depends on the sellers' country. Of course, the vases are manufactured in Germany, where everything is metric. Some vases have numbers impressed on the bottom, for example, 3456/22, in which case, 3456 is the model or form number, and 22 is the (approximate) height in centimeters.

5. Does your site link to Ebay's current listings?
The most recent photos that have been added, might be for a current listing, but most will be from old listings. I use pictures from several Ebay sites - USA, UK, Australia, Germany, etc.

6. Are all your photos taken from Ebay?
No, several have been kindly donated by fellow Rosenthal enthusiasts. When I started this project, I wrote polite notes to Ebay sellers seeking permission to use their photos. This correspondence was too much for Ebay and I have had to reset my password several times. By May 2011, 306 sellers agreed and 26 declined, so I have decided that as the vast majority of sellers agree, I will now post Rosenthal Vase photos without permission. This goes against my upbringing, but the alternative is becoming impractical.
Ebay's completed listings can be viewed for a while, before they get replaced. If you are unhappy with me prolonging the internet life of your photo and making it available for everyone to see, then email me and I will remove your photo promptly.
7. Can you tell me how old my vase is?
Sometimes. This is a complex subject, and requires much more knowledge than I have at present. So far, I have collected information on several backstamps - some are for a specific year, and others cover a time period of several years. There are many different backstamps, and various dots and dashes that need to be decoded. A new vase may be created in a certain year, and then be manufactured for the next decade. A few very popular ones, "Maria", for example, have been reissued, and bear old and modern backstamps.

Another way of identifying a vase is by the number that is usually incised, impressed, stamped or painted on the bottom. For the older, antique vases, this is another challenge. The first factory, for which there are records, was the one in Selb, Bavaria, and from 1898 - 1910 it produced model numbers 1  - 209, and most of these were vases. Some vases were described, others were not. From 1910 vases, figurines, ornaments and objects were manufactured by the Art Department "Kunstabteilung" in Selb, where the model numbers allocated, again started with one. From 1934, vases were no longer allocated a number in the model lists, but were given numbers starting with 2500.

To complicate matters further, Rosenthal acquired more factories over the years, for example, Kronach and Bahnhof Selb (Railway Station), where the production numbers used can be the same, and also the same artists worked at different factories.

After WW2, the factories were modernized and reorganized. In 1957 a standard "Rosenthal Germany" backstamp was introduced, and from the dots and dashes under the word "Germany" it can be determined in which factory a vase was made. There other markings which indicate the year of manufacture, and some of them have been made public and are also on my website. In addition, there are other backstamps, such as Classic, Classic Rose, or Studio Linie. Something to watch out for is that there is a difference between the older "Studio Linie" and the newer "Studio Line".

8. My vase only has a backstamp and is not signed.
This is what makes identification a challenge! Some vases are signed on the side, some on the bottom, and many not at all.
The older vases were often hand painted, and some bear the initials of the person who did the painting, which is not the same as person who did the designing.
You can have two identical vases, and one will have the designer's signature, and the other will not.
   
9. I have two vases of the same size and shape, but they have different designs and signatures.
Some artists created both the vase form and the decoration. Some created only the form, and other artists specialize in the decoration. For example, Tapio Wirkkala's plain, white polygon form, is decorated by Alain Le Foll,  Bjorn Wiinblad, and Ivan Rabuzin. Raymond Peynet decorated many different forms with his whimsical designs. So, here again, you might find zero, one or both signatures of the designers involved.

10. Can you tell me the Value of my Vase?
For over a year, I kept sales records for the different vases. I thought that many people would be interested in these figures, so that they might better list their vases for sale, or know the approximate value. In fact, I have had very few questions re value, so I will no longer be keeping track of any sales. There have been a few instances where an ignorant seller has listed a vase way below its value, whereupon it was bought by someone more knowledgeable and resold at a profit. But for the most part, the prices paid are a reasonable reflection of a vase's value.
You are still welcome to send me questions re identification, and, as always, pictures and catalogs are much appreciated.
11. What literature have you consulted?
Rosenthal Service, Figural, Ornamental and Art Pieces by Dieter Struss, Schiffer Publishing, 1977

Rosenthal: Hundert Jahre Porzellan by Hlega Hilschenz-Mlynek by Kestner-Museum Hannover, 1982

The "Bible" is Rosenthal Kunst und Zierporzellan 1897 - 1945 in 5 volumes by Emmy Niecol, 2001. This is not in any Australian library, and costs around EUR 400,00., so, it will be a while before I can see it.

I am hoping to locate some modern auction catalogs, for more details on vases manufactured since 1945.

12. Do you have other vase photos, not displayed here?
Yes, many more. The 100MB space allocation for this website is 95% used up. I have, therefore, as at the end of  August 2010, posted photos on to my other Rosenthal website, where there is still room and onto Pinterest.
13. You have been looking at the Ebay listings for several years now, what are your insights?
For sellers - take the best picture that you can - preferably with a plain background, anything else distracts from the vase. For buyers outside of Europe, see whether the additional shipping costs balance out the sometimes lower prices - lower because the vases are more common, particularly in Germany. Also, for those contemplating collecting, be aware of seconds - indicated by a score through the backstamp or "B" or "secunda". German sellers are under a legal obligation to point out any such issue.

14. A special thank you to Pekka Brummer of www.brummerhome.com  for her most helpful advice on Tapio Wirkkala.
 
15. Disclaimer
The information contained in this site has been compiled with care, and to the best of my knowledge. I am not a professional porcelain expert, and can take no responsibility for any mistakes.


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