Q: My aunt gave me her beautiful porcelain bust of a young woman, perhaps a forest nymph, as a wedding present. I have a photo my mother took of me posing with the statue when I was 4 years old. I was thrilled to receive the bust. My mother remembers seeing the statue in my aunt's apartment during an early visit after marrying my father in 1948. Can you give me some background on the piece? There is a triangular clay seal on the bottom that reads "Royal Dux Bohemia." Unfortunately, we never thought to ask my aunt about the origin of the piece. I have no idea if it's valuable as an antique, but it is "priceless" to me.
A: The Royal Dux Bohemia mark on your statue was used by the Dux Porcelain Manufactory, which was founded by E. Eichler in Dux, Bohemia (now Duchov, Czech Republic), in 1860. The company specialized in Art Nouveau porcelain figurines and ornate vases. This mark with an "E," for Eichler, inside an acorn was used until about 1918, so your bust dates from before 1918. The German word for acorn is "eichel." Later marks had a "D" for Dux inside the acorn; after 1953, an "M" was used. In 1997 Royal Dux became part of Czech Porcelain, a joint stock company located in Dubi, Czech Republic. Value of the bust: about $1,000, depending on condition.