Rescuelifeproducts raises an important question. Like in all appraisals three factors determine value: Rarity, condition, and aesthetic appeal. The last one is the most difficult to assess. How do we differentiate passing fads from styles and makers that have withstood the test of time? I personally tend to emphasize the quality of workmanship, others may focus on other aspects. One way is to survey the high end market. Sotheby’s web site allows you to search and browse their catalogs. More significantly Sotheby’s has implemented a very nifty imaging technology. You can zoom into their pictures within seconds without loss of resolution and without having to wait for minutes to download large files of the entire image (by the way, I personally believe advanced imaging techniques are critical for on-line antique activities and represent a business opportunity for creative IT specialists, but that is another story). By examining high end porcelain in this manner and comparing estimates with realized prices you can begin to develop an intuitive feeling for valuable porcelain. Once you have focused your preferences on a certain style or manufacturer, you have to hit the books.
A good rule of thumb to follow is know where the piece came from. If you are buying the porcelain at an antique shop, look at the other items the seller is offering to decide how much does that seller know about porcelain. This is a very wide and varied subject...so, let me just comment about figurines. See if the item is well signed. Then, look at the details, especially the fingers and hands..the fingers should be graceful and in balance with the hands, not too short or too long..even the feet should be in scale to the rest of the figure. The eyes should be well defined , not only in the molding, but in the paint details. Be sure the item has not been repaired...if it has, there is usually a little difference in the feel and color at the repair spot. If you are investing a large sum of money, have someone with you that does know porcelain...or, take notes or a photo...go home, and research the maker's mark and so forth on line to be sure the item is a good piece and not costing more than it should. If you are buying a figurine because you just love the way it looks, and want it for your home, I say, buy it. You are buying it for the pleasure of the piece, not as an investment. From me to you, Linda of RC Antiques on Ruby Lane