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Pondering a Pot

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Question: I'm curious about this little ceramic pot I bought at a local estate auction. The only mark I can make out is "Czechoslovakia" in capital letters within a circle. The pot stands about 4 1/4 inches high on three short legs. Can you tell me anything about it?

Answer: The mark has been attributed to the Gustav Bihl pottery, which operated between 1896 and 1939 in Ledvice in the northwestern part of the current Czech Republic, known historically as Bohemia. In 1918, at the end of World War I, the Paris Peace Conference created a new country from the Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia sections of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, plus a northern strip of Hungary. The new country was named Czecho-Slovak Republic (with a hyphen). In 1920, the name Czechoslovakia (without the hyphen) was introduced. From then on, the word "Czechoslovakia" appeared on pottery marks. Faced with shortages of materials and fuel, the Bihl pottery was forced to close in 1939, a year after Hitler's army invaded the region. Czechoslovakia vases and pots like this sell in auctions for $40 to $80.

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