Dear Helaine and Joe: I have a porcelain carriage that must be at least 65 to 70 years old. It is 10 inches long by 8 inches tall. It is marked "Germany." What is its value? -- A.L., Acton, Calif.        

Dear Helaine and Joe: I have a porcelain carriage that must be at least 65 to 70 years old. It is 10 inches long by 8 inches tall. It is marked "Germany." What is its value? -- A.L., Acton, Calif.         


Dear A.L: The mark "Germany" usually suggests a piece made in that country before World War I, but we feel the look of this piece is later, and it should be circa 1930 (plus or minus 10 years).         


A number of companies made carriages or coaches such as this one, and its use of the word "Germany" suggests it was made to be exported as a decorative item -- possibly to the United States. A.L. needs to look hard for an additional mark -- he may find it in blue, or it may just be impressed in the clay.         


Many times when coaches like this are sold, they are referred to as either "Dresden" or "Royal." No porcelain was actually manufactured in Dresden, but some fine porcelain items were decorated there.         


For the most part, when a coach like this one is characterized as "Dresden," it implies this is fancy, highly decorated and well made. It also suggests that the women are dressed in "crinoline," which means a long, full, artistically proportioned hoop skirt that is often made from porcelain-dipped netting or lace.         


The word "Royal" implies that there are royal personages in the coach, and most often these "royals" are associated with Napoleon. At the crest of a royal coach, there is usually a crown and eagle crest, and a coat of arms on the door. This makes it clear that the coach in today's question was not intended to be a "royal coach."         


If A.L. does not find another mark, we will never know exactly which German factory made this piece, but there are two leading suspects.         


The first is A.W. Fr. Kister Porcelain Manufactory, which was founded in 1838 in Scheibe-Alsbach, Thuringia, Germany, and was nationalized by the East German government in 1972. Its most commonly seen mark is an "S" with a sideways "X" through the middle.     


The other is Alfred Voigt, which was founded in 1850 in Sitzendorf, Thuringia, Germany, and like Kister, was nationalized in 1972. Its most-often-found mark was a crown over an "S" with a line through the middle of the "S" and two slashes at the middle of the "S." 


It would be nice if one of these marks happened to show up, but we are not all that hopeful. It should also be understood that these coach pieces with a driver, a footman and a lady in an 18th-century gown are fairly common.         


Many examples of these coaches or carriages can be quite large, with lengths that can reach 3 feet or longer and widths that would double or triple the size of the one belonging to A.L. Some of these were made to have an electric light inside; others were just decorative like this one.         


Values for the larger porcelain coaches and/or examples made by famous manufacturers can go over well $1,000, and in some rare cases reach values as much as $8,000 at auction. This smaller, more anonymous piece, however, should be valued for insurance purposes in the $300-$400 range.                   


Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of "Price It Yourself" (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928. Email them at treasures@knology.net.