Ask The Appraiser

April 22, 2014

Ellen Miller
Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Auctioneer, Senior Appraiser and Director of Catalog & Specialty Auctions
Ellen Miller joined Cordier Auctions & Appraisals in 2000. In her current position, Ms. Miller heads up the firm's Appraisal Department, Antique & Fine Art catalog auctions and Specialty auctions.
Ms. Miller holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Temple University, is a certified personal property appraiser, and a Pennsylvania licensed auctioneer.


Question #1
I inherited this medicine bag from my uncle's estate out of Pennsylvania. I believe it is buffalo, and it looks quite old. I was wondering if you may know what tribe this might be from, or anything about it? I am also interested in selling this wonderful item. Thank you so much.
Raquel from Oklahoma

Dear Raquel,
In reviewing the photographs you provided, it is my opinion that the bag is African, not Native American, and probably a tobacco bag. The type of beads and the construction of this bag are not consistent with Native American pieces. I would estimate that the bag is circa 1950s or later and was probably made as a tourist piece. It was aged to appear older.
As it stands, I would put an auction value on the bag of $15 to $30. If the bag was Native American and of similar vintage, you would be looking at $50 to $150; antique bags can range from the hundreds into the thousands. Even still, you have an interesting and colorful remembrance from your uncle's estate!
To learn more about African tobacco bags and to view contemporary examples, visit and click on Tobacco Bags.

Question #2
I've been unable to find a Wedgwood Hunt Scene pitcher in the cream and green. It is part of an inherited collection, of approx. 900 pitchers, from my great aunt. The bottom is impressed with “WEDGWOOD MADE IN ENGLAND 24 4KG.” In what appears to be black ink, there's a series of numbers. The hand written “#623” was made by my aunt for identification purposes. It's approx. 6 inches high. I'd truly appreciate any help you can provide that will help me determine what it might be worth.

It sounds like you inherited quite a collection! This particular Wedgwood pitcher can be found in sizes ranging from 6 to 7.5 inches and is typically considered a cream pitcher. Several decoration styles can be found, including plain cream; full color; majolica; and cream with a colored sky, including silver luster, blue, and green such as yours.
Deciphering the marks on the base can help us narrow down the age. We'll start with the "WEDGWOOD" mark. This particular mark has serifs (or small lines at the ends of the letters) and was used from the start of the company until around 1930 when the font was changed to a sans serif (or no serif) font. The "Made in England" mark was used starting around 1909.
The three digit mark refers to a dating system used by Wedgwood starting in 1860 until about 1935. In the beginning, the first letter was a month code, the second a potter's code and the third a year code used in cycles. Starting in 1907, the first letter was changed to a "3" or "4" to help further identify the year code cycle. In reviewing the photos you provided, I believe the mark may be "4KC" not "4KG". The code "4KC" means this pitcher was made in 1926 ("4KG" would correspond to 1930). The black "C5315" probably references the color of the decoration.
My research showed that most collectors seem to favor the majolica and full color versions with values in the range of $50 to $200 at auction. Plain or colored sky versions such yours typically fetch $20 to $40. To learn more about Wedgwood, visit the Wedgwood Museum website at or contact a collector's group such as The Wedgwood Society of New York at or The Wedgwood Society of Washington, D.C., at

Please send your questions to We regret that we will not be able to answer every question we receive; however, we will read each one and answer questions of general interest in this column. Values given are opinions of value based on research of current market conditions, not a specific appraisal, and should be considered for entertainment purposes only. We retain the right to use any supplied images in this publication.


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