Antique Plate World

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Archive for the ‘Antique Marks’ Category

What Do You Know About Antique Ironstone Plates and Ironstone Dinnerware?

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Charles Mason is credited with creating ironstone plates in the early eighteen hundreds and since he also designed antique bone china his designs and creations are highly collectible. But he was not alone in creating ironstone tableware, nor should they be confused with low cost dishes. Ironstone is also known by different names such as hotel china, white granite and semi-porcelain to name a few.

Today’s ironstone plates look great and hold up over time but are totally different to the antique ironstone dinnerware that is highly collectible.

Ironstone dinnerware has its roots like many things in mass marketing. The early 1800’s saw British potters experimenting to create an inexpensive dinnerware into the hands of the masses. This ironstone was refined earthenware but heavier and thicker than most porcelain.

Ironstone was given birth as the new ‘semi-porcelain’ of the time although as a refined earthenware is not true porcelain. It became popular in Great Britain first and then went viral in the United States where many ironstone potteries were thriving.

Ironstone was manufactured in Staffordshire, Great Britain where potters looked to improve dinnerware called pearlware. Charles Mason patented the term ‘ironstone’ in 1813. By 1820’s other local potters were producing the same transfer printed and hand decorated pieces but manufacturers discovered that their clientele preferred austere white dinnerware. Once the conquered the UK, America became their next target market.

Ironstone maker’s marks are normally a coat of arms and a crown of some kind. Unmarked pieces exist but without the entire dinner set it is difficult to determine whether they are genuine.

American Ironstone Dinnerware

At the time America had a small tableware pottery industry since most potteries focused on manufacturing bricks, tiles, stoneware and redware. The fashion for white ironstone dinnerware  meant potters could thrive without needing to know about hand painting or transfer printing.

New Jersey and the then Ohio had high quality clay and together with a highly developed transportation system made them the centers of American ironstone tableware production.

New Jersey

Ironstone production began in the late 1850’s and was marketed as ironstone china, white granite, hotel china and stone china and by the 1890’s a thriving industry was established.

Ohio (later New York)

This area began producing yellowware in the 1840’s but  by the 1870’s had moved on to ironstone dinnerware.  Two of the most famous brands from the region are Knowles, Taylor and Knowles and The Homer Laughlin China Company.

It is best to identify pieces by the maker’s mark found in the center of a piece’s base in under glaze black, dark blue or brown.

Following tradition, early American marks are similar to English marks, so research is needed to discover the origins of a piece. There are several guides available which can date maker’s mark and help identification.

Do not limit yourself to Mason antique plates but research and discover other ironstone manufacturers whose pieces will become more valuable with time.

Ironstone dishes also range in price starting from twenty dollars to anything over four hundred dollars. Today there are auctions, online auctions, forums and shows to help you buy pieces for your collection. Shows and forums give you access to knowledge on current pricing, condition and availability.

Ironstone plate collecting requires experience and lots of research but both these can be acquired over time. Ironstone antique plates are wonderfully collectible, great to decorate with and if you look to the UK and US there is also a great selection of ironstone plates to select from.

Written by admin

October 11th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Important Things You Should Know When Collecting Antique Cups and Saucers

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The best way to start collecting antique cups and saucers is by knowing everything about it. photo by


Do you know the value of your antique cups and saucers?

 You may not know it but you could be in possession of rare heirlooms passed down by your great grandparents.  

In the world of rare antique finds, antique cups and saucers may not be on the list of Tomb Raiders or Indiana Jones but that doesn’t make them less rare, precious or collectible.   

So dust them off because if you know the value of them, the manufacturers history and the family history then collecting more antique cups and saucers and antique plates could become a lifelong pastime.   

It is important for an antique cup collector to know the value of each piece in your collection. And the best way to start it is by knowing its background and everything that surrounds it.  

Silverware and Porcelain 

While very early cups were made of silver for the wealthy, today these are expensive and not as easy to collect as porcelain. The huge variety of colors, shapes and manufacturers that produced porcelain tea sets makes collecting easy and inexpensive.Once you know the style of what you like, the era and what you will happily pay the hunt begins in every nook, cranny, antique and garage sale.  

More Than Just Display

Don’t neglect them – use them. Just think how many teas, coffee or hot chocolate were poured and drunk from these cups. How nostalgic to think that the antique cup you sip your hot chocolate from is the same one your grandmother drank tea with her friends or relatives.How many occasions, happy and sad were celebrated over a cup of tea or coffee? And nicer than pulling out a photo album.  

While many choose to display their antique cup collections as decorations, it shouldn’t be forgotten that these cups were designed to drink tea, hot chocolate or coffee. Wash With Care.   

When antique cups are used as a display they collect dust. If you use them to serve at an afternoon tea party they could be stained by tea or coffee.  

Either way, hand washing antique cups and saucers is the best way to preserve them. Putting them into a dishwasher is a great no-no. They may break, chip or discolor. If you are enjoying your antique collection then take good care of them and always wash them by hand.  

It Is Not About Money 

For collectors, antique cups and saucers is not about money. But money is important. The question is how valuable is this tea set and what are you willing to pay for it?  

Know the value of the cup before buying it. And the best way is by looking at its background. Asking questions about where it was made, which manufacturer, the year and the cups condition are essential.   

Heirlooms, Collecting And More 

The more you learn about antique cups and saucers, the more knowledge you gain and the more your passion and interest in collecting grows.  

So when adding to your collection of heirlooms whether from an antique shop or buying online the best advice is; buy what you like. That way if they never go up in value you will continue to enjoy your cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.  

There are many antique cups and saucers out there, so are you ready to collect?

Written by admin

August 17th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Collecting Antique Cups? Three Common Practices You Should Avoid

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The first move to do when buying antique cups is looking at its background. photo by

If you’re collecting antique cups you are probably scouring the internet, looking at Google, Yahoo and Bing and other search engines and sites to get the best deal possible. After a while it’s overwhelming. So many sites, so many antique cups – so much information.

People searching the internet for antique cups are looking for the best places to buy or sell antique cups, how they should look after them, how they can repair them and even how to spot fakes. This short article will look at what three things you should avoid.

The first thing is to get a lot of background information on the type of antique cup you are looking for. After all, you can buy an antique cup for as little as one dollar. Not very much is it? But what do you get for your money?

Knowing more of the specifics is essential to good collecting. Such as what should an antique cup of that era, from that manufacturer and locality normally cost? Are you looking at a reputable site? Can you check the credentials of the seller?

Listed below are the three points you must avoid:

1. Avoid buying the first antique cup you find. Even if appears to be the right color, manufacturer and year, inquire about any cracks or stains that the cup has had. It is relatively easy to cover up a hairline crack in a photograph or even a stain. But once you have bought it, it’s too late. You can never be too careful when it comes to buying antique cups, especially when buying from a photograph.

2. Avoid buying from photographs. Is the photograph clear enough to show you the condition of the handle. Handles are easily broken. They can also be easily glued back. If you’re happy with a glued on handle for a fraction of it’s normal price that is totally up to you. But if you want a good quality item – double check before you buy – if the photograph isn’t clear enough then you have the right to ask.

3. Avoid buying the markings on the cup. Does the cup have markings and are they real? Don’t fall in love with the markings. Anyone can add a marking under a cup or plate and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could be buying a fake. This is a problem with the internet, researching, deciding and buying without seeing the product.

Your best option is to do your research first before you buy because once you have bought the antique cup it may not be so easy to return or get your money back. Even if you’re only spending a few dollars you want the time, effort and cost of each antique cup you buy to be worth it.

Deal with each of these issues and you will increase your chances of buying an antique cup that you will be happy to add to your collection and enjoy each time you use the cups to serve your guest tea and coffee.
If you’re really passionate about collecting, buying or selling antique cups then build your antique knowledge to cover different periods, manufacturers, styles and fashions. Whether it’s for your next tea party or just adding to your collection, the more you learn the more you’ll know what you like and why you enjoy them so much.

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August 11th, 2010 at 9:54 am

Antique Plates – Do You Really Know Their Value and How to Preserve Them?

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Would you use an antique plate every day and night? For most people plates are just another kitchen utensil used during mealtime.

But for others plates are more than utensils particularly if they are antique bone china passed down from generation to generation.

Your great grandmother handed it to your grandmother. Your grandmother passed it down to your mother. And now, the plates are under your care.

The length of time the plates stayed in your family could establish them as antique plates. Are you using valuable antique bone china every night and don’t know it?

Well, it is time for you to take your antique plates and dishes out of the cabinet and discover how much that antique bone china is worth – in dollars and historical value. But most of all, it is time to learn how to lengthen their shelf life, so you can hand them down to the next generation looking great and in great working order.

Putting Value On Plate

Play inspector. Imperfections found on antique bone china created by the manufactures should not disturb you. What is important is if our antique plates have cracks, stains and discoloration due to incorrect use. Check the designs. Take note if they are stamped, hand-painted or a combination of both. Stamped designs were popular after the 1900s.

Look for the MARK. Manufacturers or makers of antique bone china still leave a logo or mark on almost every piece they produce. It may include the series where the plate is included or even the date when the plate was created. If you antique plates have marks – what do they mean and what does that tell you?

Check out sources. Investigate online stores that can provide you with more information about the manufacturing company. If the name of the manufacturer cannot be found, refer to the logo instead. There are certain sites online that can provide you with manufacturer’s logo. You may want to compare it with the one found on your plate.

Ready for appraising. Now you hold the basic information you need about your antique bone china. It is time to visit a couple of appraisers to judge the condition and quality of your plate.

Increasing Shelf Life

To extend the life of you antique plates so you can display them or hand them down to your future offspring,

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here are some ways to do just that.

  • Put them inside a secure chest or cabinet so that no one can touch them. I personally don’t like this point unless you plan to see your antique bone china I think you should use them – even if only on special occasions.
  • Whether using your antique plates regularly or leaving them as a display – wash them regularly so they do get food, dust and dirt stains on them.
  • Never place antique pieces in the dishwasher. You run the risk of breaking them or stripping the designs from them.

Antique plates are great dinnerware and display, something of real value you can sell if you ever need to. For most people antique bone china is a great way to preserve family history.

If you’re interested in collecting, buying or selling antique plates and antique bone china then you should build your knowledge over different periods, styles, fashions and manufacturers. The more you learn about antiques the more you’ll know what you like and collect.

Written by admin

August 11th, 2010 at 9:52 am