WCE 1893-One of the Most Beautiful Souvenirs from the Columbian Exposition

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WCE 1893-One of the Most Beautiful Souvenirs from the Columbian Exposition

This hand-painted porcelain perfume bottle is simply one of the most gorgeous pieces we’ve ever seen from theColumbian Exposition; it is not the most expensive but from the moment I saw it the design, painting and overall appearance resonated with me. Obviously, this and other comments in this sale are the opinions of just one person—and I don’t hesitate at all to share my opinions about items I am selling! You can take my words as a part of the description, AND look at the photos to formulate your own opinion.

The 4-inch high bottle has painting around the entire piece and it has a distinctly Japanese feel to it. I could easily have pictured this with a Japanese building, but it features a painting of Horticulture Hall and the lagoon with a gondola.

The brass lid and chain are in perfect condition, as is the bottle itself. There isn’t a single mark, crack or other flaw anywhere on it. The lid is hinged, and very well I might add, to open.

I described this item over the phone to a customer, using the effusive language you read here, and the collector to whom I was talking said he very much would like the piece if I would sell it without putting it in the sale—and he would offer $400 sight unseen.

He had a good sense of value but I told him that it would be in the sale and not sold to anyone prior to it. I vacillated a great deal on how to price it. I simply did not want it to sell for anything less than it truly is worth, nor did I want to price it too high so that potential buyers might be put off. I thought about the offer and that I had figures of up to $750 in mind. When one has an amazing AND one-of-a-kind item, pricing becomes totally subjective and awfully difficult.

I’ve settled on a price I believe is more than fair and represents at least $100-$250 below what I would consider retail. In pricing items such as this I consider what a major auction house would ask and I’m quite sure that they would list it with an estimate range of $500-$1,000—and of course selling it there would mean a 10-20% seller’s fee and a 29% buyer’s fee….and if sales tax were added this could well become a $700-$1400 item.