My Vintage Porcelain Collection
Collecting Porcelain: A Glimpse at My Vintage Collection
Whether you decide to start a porcelain collection or want to identify your existing vintage and antique pieces or shop auctions for additions to your collection, you will find valuable information here on identifying antique and vintage pieces.
I started selling collectibles online a while back. The host website guidelines required that I fully describe anything I sell. In doing my research for the items I was selling, I found fascinating information on identifying porcelain by its mark.
The more you discover about vintage porcelain, the more interesting it is. Even if you do not want to get into collecting, looking at the pretty pieces is enjoyable and relaxing.
My collection is mostly inherited. The family pieces of that I have have memories attached to them.
Porcelain vs. Pottery
When porcelain is held to the light it is translucent. Pottery is opaque.
It is stronger than pottery.
Bone China is porcelain. It has some animal bone ash in the mix of the clay used.
Do you have a porcelain collection?
A Porcelain Collection Could Be Anything You Want It to Be
- You could collect everything by one manufacturer -- all Royal Worcester or Spode.
- You could collect all around one color -- a lot of collections are formed around blue and white designs
- You could collect figurines from different manufacturers of one item --- cats, roses, violets.
- Maybe you would like to just collect from one particular country: Germany or Japan
- Another idea is to collect all of one thing: snuff boxes, hatpin holders, pitchers, etc.
Porcelain or Pottery Marks
All quality porcelain has a mark (sometimes called a pottery mark or hallmark). Identifying the manufacturer associated with this mark is key in determining the age and value of your piece. You may even get some history about its origins.
Schumann/Bavaria - Royal Dresdner Compote Dish
This is one of a pair of compote dishes that I own. There is a base which screws on and off of this plate. This is the Royal Dresdner pattern with a scalloped edge pierced rim.
It was made by Porzellanfabrik Carl Schumann A.G. a factory which existed using this name from 1923 - 1994). The mark on the bottom was used from 1923 to 1948.
Photo of the Bottom of a Vintage Schumann/Bavaria Compote Dish
This Royal Dresdner blue pottery mark is a little hard to read as it is inside the pedestal of the compote dish shown above and thus, not on a flat surface. It says "Royal Dresdener" "Carl Schuman" "Bavaria" with and image of a crown.
What you are also looking at is the butterfly nut that unscrews the pedestal from the flat top plate.
Leuchtenburg Bowl - Made in Germany
This bowl has been in our family for quite some time. It was my grandmother's.
There is limited information on Leuchtenburg. It appears they were at one time either absorbed by, or a division of Lehmann & Sohn (Lehmann & Son). There is information on the internet, but it is in German. My German is sparse.
There is not much information on the green Leuchtenburg mark. It says "Leuchtenberg" "Germany". We can often date the piece by which version of the mark is being used.
The Three Examples of Nippon That Follow Are Not Especially Pricey
Japanese products were marked "Nippon" from 1891 to 1921.
"Nippon" refers only to the Japanese way of saying "Japan". It merely indicated that it was made in Japan. There are many different manufacturers who marked their china "Nippon". The quality and value varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
To determine more about Japanese porcelain in the Nippon period you need to check the manufacturer marks. There are many Japanese porcelain manufacturers and thus many porcelain marks.
Vintage Nippon Mustard JarClick thumbnail to view full-size
Another Example Of Nippon Era Porcelain - This reminds me of an arts & crafts period type of design.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Another Example of NipponClick thumbnail to view full-size
Nippon-Era Porcelain Available at Auction Sites
Remember to verify the pottery mark. There are a lot of forgeries on the market. Many forgeries are made in China and are very good copies. Some of the sellers are actually unsuspecting, and are not aware they are selling a forgery; some are not. Before you plunk down a lot of money for any piece, do some research.
Looking at similar items on the auction sites is another way to verify you are in the right price range when you bid. Do not base that estimate on the asking price. Some of those are over priced and will either never sell or take a long time -- until an uninformed person comes along.
Filter the pages by the auctions that are closing soonest, and look at the pieces people are bidding on and what they are bidding toward the end of the sale.
Andrea by Charles Sadek Candle Holder - Formerly Charles Sadek Import Company
The Charles Sadek Company is still operating. The image of the Sadek "Y" mark in the upper left hand corner. The number is the design number.
Things That Influence the Value of Your Porcelain
- If it is a quality piece. Sometimes a particular manufacturer is known for making high quality items. Some other manufacturers make items of a lesser quality
- Even some pieces that are worn are valuable if the wear is not unusual for its age. Of course, an older piece in excellent or mint condition is worth more than one that is worn.
- The level of detail in a particular piece. A simple vase may be worth less than an intricate figurine made by the same manufacturer. Look at the different Royal Bayreuth items.
- Scarcity or uniqueness. If for example it was a commissioned piece and there was only one made, the value goes way up. If the pattern is discontinued the may be less of those pieces available.
- Having all the pieces of a set, for example both candle holders and matching bowl, or the whole vanity set.
- A history. It was commissioned by someone famous or for a famous event, such as a coronation or anniversary.
The Most Important Thing About Value Is...
How much do you enjoy the piece or what does it mean to you? Does it give you pleasure to look at? Did it belong to a beloved relative? Did you receive from someone special for a special occasion?
Value is not always monetary.
Sontag & Maisel Floral Patterned Cup and Saucer
The mark was used by Sontag & Maisel between 1882 - 1902.
The large "T" stands for Tettau, a municipality in Bavaria, West Germany known for it's many porcelain manufacturers.
Do not place your fine porcelain in the metal plate holders with springs that hang on the wall.
The metal edges scratch the fine porcelain.
The spring action can also snap, cracking the plate.
Aynsley Pembroke Egg - A Relatively New PieceClick thumbnail to view full-size
Although Discontinued, the Pembroke Pattern Is Quite Available
There are quite a few pieces of Aynsley Pembroke on the market today
- My Teacup Collection
An article about my teacup collection
Furstenberg Bird Coasters - Made in Germany
Made by Furstenberg, Germany. Furstenberg has been in business since 1747. These coasters are from the late 1970s - early 1980s.
The coasters are numbered on back 02649; 1 through 6. Each coaster has a 3-7/8 inch diameter.
Game Bird Large Bowl, Porcelain Moschendorf Factory, Bavaria
The Porcelain Moschendorf Factory, Bavaria, Germany was in operation from c. 1904 - 1938. It is marked [green backstamp, PM with wreath and royal crown] This mark was used between 1895 and 1910.
Interesting story about this bowl.
My Mom had six small dessert dishes that matched this bowl. They were given to her by her great Aunt. Whenever my Mom served dessert in these dishes, she would always says "it's a shame Tante broke the big dish. Tante used to make Rote Grutze in the big bowl and dish it out in the little dishes."
My Mom and her great Aunt live in New York. One day I was wandering through a flea market in Connecticut and there was the large bowl. My Mom was so surprised when she opened her Mother's Day Gift and found this bowl.
(Tante means Aunt in German.)
Do not wash your vintage porcelain in the dishwasher. These dessert dishes used to match the above bowl.
Older pigments, paints and gilding were not made dishwasher safe.
Compare these dishes that were washed in the dishwasher to the bowl above. See how the iridescent border has faded.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Ellen Gregory