My husband bought these crystal plates from a non-Jewish acquaintance whose family had brought them from Czechoslovakia shortly after the Second World War (she had been storing them in her attic). A local antiques dealer told me they likely date from prewar Czechoslovakia, as the cuts are quite deep (unlike American crystal). What do you know of their origins?
Ellen Resnik, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Cleveland, Ohio
You are correct that they are most likely from prewar Czechoslovakia-so named in 1918-or the countries in the Bohemian region that preceded Czechoslovakia, as the quality is fabulous and typical for that time period and region. All of the objects made from crystal then were quite similar.
Although these dishes are adorned with the Star of David image we associate with Judaism, they are not necessarily Judaica. A set of crystal dishes would not have had ritual use in a Jewish ceremony. More likely the plates:
- might have been used in an alehouse in Europe from the late 18th century up to 1917. The alehouse symbol was the same six-pointed star.
- might have been dishes in a Jewish home. This is less likely, because adorning objects with a Magen David didn't come into vogue until the late 1920s-30s, when Jews started settling in Israel in heavier numbers and Zionism gained considerable popularity.
- were merely decorative.
Value: in the $200 range.
Thank you so much for illuminating us about our plates. Irrespective of their past, we are happy to have them.