Q: These vases were given to me by a friend as "compensation" for helping out at her garage sale a few years ago. There are several repaired cracks, but I love their vibrant color. They are about 10 inches tall. I can't make out the mark on the bottom, but they look like vases we saw in Florence that were dated in the 1700s. Can you give me some history and an estimate of value?
A: The mark on the bottom of your vases is similar to the scrolled cartouche with date letter used by the Sevres Manufactory in Sevres, France. The letter "c" is the date letter for the year 1755, but your vases are not that old. They are in the style of early-19th century Sevres. Other manufacturers in France, Germany, England, and the United States copied the Sevres mark on their porcelain, so we can't be sure who made your vases. There appear to be metal rivets on the bottom of your vases--an early repair. Riveting the pieces together was the best method of repair until epoxy and resins became available in the 20th century. Pieces were often repaired because they were expensive and not easily found. The rivets add interest to the vases, and some collectors search for pieces repaired with rivets. The pair, repaired, could sell for a few hundred dollars.