Dear Helaine and Joe: Enclosed is a picture of a 17-inch-tall glass vase with metal frame. I want to insure and/or sell it. I believe it is Bohemian glass by Palma Koenig. What would be the estimated value of this blue/green vase, which is in excellent condition? Also, I have included photographs of two 10-inch-tall vases, blue on the outside and white on the inside. I cannot read the manufacturer’s mark. Thank you.
— D. W., Austin, Texas
Dear D. W.:The dates surrounding the Pallme-Konig glassworks are a little loose. But around 1888, Josef and Theodor Pallme-Konig named a new glass house after their mother, Elizabeth, creating “Elizabethhutte” or “Glassworks Elizabeth.” Research seems to indicate that within the next few years they merged with the glassworks owned by Wilhelm Habel, which was located at Teplitz (also known as Teplice), Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) and became Pallme-Konig and Habel.
Wilhelm Habel was granted a patent in 1900 for decorating the surface of glass with encircling glass threads. This became one of the signature motifs at Pallme-Konig and Habel. Some pieces had threads on the surface, but some had the threads deeply embedded in the body to produce veining that could not be broken off.
Other Bohemian glass makers used similar decorating techniques, but the piece in today’s question does appear to be a product of Pallme-Konig from the early years of the 20th century. This example has at least two things going for it: One, it is held within a pewter frame in the Jugendstil style, and two, it is exceptionally large. Jugendstil is the German counterpart of art nouveau.
What it has going against it is the rather standard blue/green color scheme, which in the photographs looks somewhat lackluster. Still, it is an impressive piece. Pallme-Konig examples of this size in metal frames are somewhat uncommon. At auction, the vase should sell in the $600 to $750 range, while at retail, we would expect to see it priced in the $1,200-$1,500 range or a bit higher.
Now to the two vases with the hard-to-read marks. It says “PM Sevres,” enclosed in a dotted circle. It is understandable to jump to the conclusion that the piece was made at the famous Sevres factory, which was founded at Vincennes, France, in 1738, but moved to Sevres in the early 1750s. Unfortunately this is not the case.
Instead, the “PM” stands for Paul Jean Milet, a French ceramicist who trained in the laboratory at the Sevres factory. Milet’s father, Felix Milet, had founded an earthenware factory in the late 19th century. Paul Jean began making pieces here marked “PM Sevres” within a dotted circle in 1911.
The original Sevres factory threatened to sue, and Milet changed his marks to “MP Sevres” in 1930. The blue glaze and bronze fittings on D. W.’s pair of vases is typical of Milet’s work and would probably sell at auction in the $300-$400 range for the pair with retail in the $600-$750 range.