Ming dynasty vases would be quite valuable!

These porcelain vases were made in the 20th century. (Courtesy of John Sikorski)

Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.

Q: My mother told me that years ago, a Chinese woman escaped the country with these two Ming dynasty vases under her arms as she swam across the Yangtze River. I was wondering if they are authentic and have any value?

— D.H., Internet

A: The Ming dynasty was 1368-1644. If your two porcelain vases date back to that period, they would be quite valuable. I think your two pretty porcelain vases were made in the 20th century. Lark Mason is a nationally recognized expert in the category of Chinese antiques, art and antiquities. I suggest you contact him at Let us know what you discover.

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Q: These pitchers have been in my family for many years. I would like to know something about them. The largest one has "Austria 41" on the bottom. The smaller one, which seems to match, has "Vienna Austria," a crown, and what looks like an "H" with a "J" in the middle. The third one, with darker blue around the bottom, has a red circle with "Made in Slovakia" in it. Any information about these pitchers will be greatly appreciated.

— S.G., Internet

A: Figural porcelain hollowware was popular during the late Victorian era and on into the first quarter of the 20th century. Figural moose-head creamers were produced by many ceramics manufacturers in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia for export to America. The three you have would each sell for less than $50.

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Q: The enclosed picture is of a 52-piece set of dishes that I bought in a thrift store 20 years ago. There is a service for 10, plus serving bowl and serving platter. The back reads "Crown Ming T.M. Fine China, Made in China Jian Shiang." Can you tell me the value, if any?

— L.S., Internet

A: What a beautiful pattern. There is no specific collector interest in your set of china. The value is based on demand in the china replacement marketplace. I suggest you contact Replacements Ltd. in Greensboro, N.C., and see if they have an interest in buying the set. The phone number is 800-REPLACE.

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Q: I have a bottle of 25-year-old Chivas Regal that we estimate was bottled in about 1890. I also have a bottle of Burke's Irish Whiskey, which was bottled about the same time. These bottles are sealed and unopened. I also have two other antique sealed bottles and a lot of background. My problem is finding a knowledgeable person in vintage alcohol. Do you know of anyone?

— J.M., Daytona Beach

A: I was not able to find any specific collector interest in your bottles of whiskey and scotch. As far as I know, it is illegal to sell liquor without a license. Potential dollar value is catch-as-catch-can.

John Sikorski is an Ocala antiques dealer. He hosts a call-in radio show, "Sikorski's Attic,'' on WUFT-FM (89.1 FM). It can be heard each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Send your questions to Sikorski's Attic, c/o The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608-2015; or email

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