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Pitcher Perfect

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Question: I have never come across an enamelware pitcher in this particular shade of bluish green. The bottom is marked "Ultra," and the piece is in very good condition. Based on the mark, can you tell me the pitcher's age?

Answer: Everyone rejoices at finding a maker's mark on an antique because that bit of information is often the key to learning its origin. Alas, this is not one of those cases because the Latin ultra is a word with different meanings in multiple languages. Enamelware, often called graniteware, is enamel-coated iron or steel kitchenware. Developed in Europe in the 1830s, it was widely produced there and in the United States well into the 20th century. Your teal blue coffeepot, with its gooseneck spout and clean lines, has the look of a mid-20th-century piece made in Europe. Similar enamelware coffeepots listed for sale on internet sites attribute the countries of origin to France and Poland. Prices for similar enamelware coffeepots in nice condition range from $30 to $60.

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