Thursday, January 01, 2004
As we enter a new year, I think it is worth considering two currently running Ebay items in the Art Tile category.
The items in question, two 6-inch square majolica-glazed and dust-pressed floral relief tiles, were manufactured by the Kensington Art Tile Company in Newport, Kentucky during the last years of the 19th century.
One of the sellers, the fantastic shop owned by the authors of Art Nouveau Tiles Sandie Fowler and Wendy Harvey, is asking $50 for one tile.
The other seller wants $45.
Just four years ago the occasional Kensington floral would appear on Ebay with modest regularity and sell for $10 to $15.
The point to consider, dear reader, is that these increasingly scarce tiles have tripled in value in less than 5 years!
Anyone watching Ebay’s Art Tile section this past year would have noticed the general market weakness was occasionally interrupted by truly fine items hammering at very respectable levels after spirited, almost bubble-era, bidding.
I can recall three 6-inch square AETCo tiles showing an owl, a bat against a crescent moon and an owl against a crescent moon each hammering around $500 in the early months of 2003.
Only a few days ago a rare 6’ X 12” panel of dancers, a lyre player and a swan designed and manufactured by Adolph Metzner and the Hamilton Tile Works in the mid 1880’s sold on-line for $590.
Clearly, in a seller’s market that continues to see limited supply, prices for all American Art Tiles through 2004 will continue to be strong.
The modestly priced floral tiles from Kensington, American Encaustic, Hamilton, Cambridge and United States Encaustic, to mention only midwestern manufacturers, offer the ordinary person an affordable opportunity to own and enjoy a piece of American decorative history that will grow in value.
Photos: Antique Articles, Tabby Cat Tiles