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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

A Bothersome Bee

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Question: I couldn't resist purchasing this quirky teapot featuring a man with a bee on his nose. I've never seen anything like it. Do you think it's a one-of-a-kind item, or was it mass-produced? Can you estimate what it would sell for in a shop or at auction?

Answer: An internet search quickly turned up several examples of this hand-painted ceramic teapot called "Chef With a Bee on His Nose." Matching cups and a sugar bowl were also found. Some of the items bear labels marked "Tilso & Co.," which was an importer based in New York City. It is said that the name was derived from the names of the owner's wife and daughter, Tillie and Sonia. The company imported various ceramic items from Japan, including vases, clocks, dishes and figurines. It is likely the teapot was made in the 1930s to 1950s. They are found on internet sites priced from $25 to as much as $85.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News

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