Approximately two years ago (if I remember correctly), a number of unpainted pieces of Troika pottery came onto the market. Also available at a similar time were some of the moulds used in the creation of various popular Troika shapes.
These had apparently all been hoarded by a mysterious person in the north of England at the time the pottery closed.
The unpainted pieces were being sold at auction houses around the UK as unpainted blanks – quite legitimately. However, as they sold for much less than decorated pieces, there was an obvious opportunity for unscrupulous people to buy them, paint them and then resell them as genuine, decorated Troika.
According to a report in the trade publication Antiques Trade Gazette, this now appears to be happening – with fake pieces appearing on eBay and, I have heard personally, in auction house sales as well.
If you are familiar with genuine Troika then it should be easy enough to determine that there is ‘something wrong’ about these decorated blanks – colour, glaze and quality of painting are all likely to be wrong.
According to the ATG article, the following errors are likely to be apparent on the recently decorated wares:
- Inappropriate colours, poor finishing and obvious brush marks
- Inaccurate decorator/pottery marks
- Lacking proper hard, shiny white glaze to inside of ware – this should not look like paint
If you aren’t familiar with Troika, then it might pay to familiarise yourself a little – at antique fairs and auctions – before you start to buy, thus avoiding the risk of a costly mistake. To get started, why not take a look at our Troika pottery marks guide, Troika pottery price guide and the excellent Troika resources on the Digital Museum of Cornish Ceramics website?
Update: Fellow 20th century ceramics dealer Deco to Modern has also posted a comprehensive report on this issue on its website, including photographs of some apparent fakes recently on sale at a provincial auction house.