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ABC Plates

ABC Plates

1880?  One badly damaged and clumsily repaired ABC plate 7½" in diameter. Various patterns encircle the alphabet displayed on the plate's rim. On its inner circle in capitals are "Ęsop's Fables" above and "The Fox and the Grapes" below a pleasing design of a fox walking away from grapes hanging from a tree. Maker unknown. $29.99 from Susan Levine, Scarsdale, NY through Ebay, Sept., '99.

I have seen ABC plates on Ebay and hoped to land one, but they have been very expensive. Finding a broken one was my lucky way to beat that problem! Someone e-mailed Ms Levine during the auction with the information that it was customary, after a child grew up, to break his ABC plate and then glue it back together. Maybe that is what happened here. Actually, I like it broken! Around the letters of the alphabet are, in order, diamonds, and a maze pattern surrounded with a dark band that reaches to the edge of the plate. Colors are painted onto the central scene: red for flowers; purple for grapes; brown and green for leaves, grass, and ground. Has some color washed off?

1880?  Repaired ABC plate 7½" in diameter. Various patterns encircle the alphabet displayed on the plate's rim. On its inner circle in capitals are "Ęsop's Fables" above and "The Fox and the Grapes" below a pleasing design of a fox walking away from grapes hanging from a tree. Maker unknown. $24.99 from Cindy Schneider, Wellington, OH, through Ebay, Oct., '00.

Here is a much better exemplar than the plate I had found earlier. The colored design in the middle is very well preserved. Repairs have been made to reinstate a smaller piece from about 10 and 11 o'clock and a larger piece extending from 11 to 4 o'clock.

 

1880? One ABC plate 7⅜" in diameter. Various patterns encircle the alphabet displayed on the plate's rim. On its inner circle in capitals are "Ęsop's Fables" above and "The Leopard and the Fox" below a simple design of a fox looking back at a leopard away from whom he walks. $15 from Robin Jorgensen, Greeley, Co, Sept., '10.

A curious feature of this ABC plate is that there are three areas of green leaves and an area of blue flowers, but otherwise there is no color. Neither animal has any color. The leopard suffers from the regular problem of having a human face imposed onto an animal frame.

 

 

1880? One ABC plate 7¼" in diameter. Various patterns encircle the alphabet displayed on the plate's rim. On its inner circle in capitals are "Ęsop's Fables" above and "The Travellers and the Bear" below a pleasing design of a bear sniffing at the head of man on the ground while his mate climbs a nearby tree. $42.50 from Fletcher Art and Antiques, Warren, Maine, through eBay, Oct., '10.

There are three areas of green leaves on trees and an area of blue flowers on the ground. The absentee friend climbing the tree is also colored blue. Is it surprising that neither the bear nor the prostrate man has color? The bear suffers from the regular problem of having a human face imposed onto an animal frame. The word "Bear" in the title is clipped in its last two letters.

 

1900? One ABC plate 6¾" in diameter. The alphabet is embossed on the plate's rim. In its inner circle is a presentation of MSA in brown and white. A seal on the back of the plate is illegible except for its ending: "Sons, England." $20 from an unknown source on eBay before July, '06.

The plate presents the phase in this story in which both father and son ride on the ass. Clouds, trees, fields, rocks, and a path are visible. I am surprised that this motif would be taken up on a child's alphabet plate.