Even though the glaze on the Doulton Flambé animals is soft and prone to scratches, the animals seem to be making a comeback. This resurgence may be due to the differences in currencies but it also might be just the renewed attention that collectibles are receiving. The flambé glaze that simulates the early Oriental glazes, was first discovered by Bernard Moore around the turn of the century for Doulton. After two years of experimentation, the first examples were shown at the 1904
Perhaps the greatest artist at Doulton who used the flambé glaze was C. J. Noke and his signed pieces bring top dollar still today . Often Noke and Nixon, another Doulton artist, would have both their signatures on the same piece. Moore, who rediscovered the formula for the flambé glaze, decorated many of the flambé pieces, and there were two other artists besides Noke, Nixon and Moore, their names being Eaton and Bailey. The glaze was formulated by introducing cooper to the mix and allowing small amounts of oxygen to get into the kilns.
Most of the flambé animals were made in the 20's through the 40's and these remain expensive today. The company decided to bring them back in the 70's and 80's, but with not as great a success. The best book on Royal Doulton is in my opinion The Official Price Guide to Royal Doulton by Ruth Pollard. I believe the last one published was in 1987. These can be found used on Amazon for very little and this is one book that should be added to your library no matter what. The Lyle Price Guide: Doulton is another book that I would recommend.
Here are just a few flambé animals to watch for: Alligator $1500, Bull $2000, curled up Cat $800, Fish $1100 and Hippo $1300. On the flambé pieces, I would stick to our rule of only paying 25% of retail very closely. These pieces look quite expensive and it is easy to over pay for them.
I was attending a major antique show when I spotted a rather small flambe dog maybe 4" in length, that just had a different look. I couldn't pass it by, so picking the piece up, I discovered that it was signed and had one of the older marks. Asking the price, the dealer was quick to say that she would take $225, but was open to an offer. Not wanting to seem too anxious, I continued to look through her booth. She followed me very closely and when it seemed I was leaving, she asked is there anything you would like to make an offer on. Then I knew it was time for me to take action so I offered $125 which seemed to surprise her for a moment then she said "sold". This little dog now resides in a Doulton collector's home at a price approaching $600. Buying the Lyle Price Guide will provide you with all the Doulton marks and copies of the artist's signatures. A little knowledge goes a long way in this business.
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