Pottery Identification Marks


Not all Pottery Identification Marks are as easy to recognize as the McCoy, Hull, or other commonly collected Potteries.

Many who collect antique pottery are attracted to a particular artist or manufacturer, but one of the first things that new pottery collectors learn is that it is difficult to identify some pieces.

This is because pottery identification marks seem to be no more constant than the breeze through the trees, especially antique pottery marks.

Most of us know that if you flip over a piece of pottery you will usually find pottery makers marks of some sort on the bottom of the piece. This mark or hallmark as it is called, is sometimes pressed or stamped into, or even painted on the bottom of the piece for identification purposes. However, unlike the serial number on the bottom of your stereo equipment or back of your television, pottery marks especially the marks on old or ancient pottery are not consistent.

The importance of Pottery identification marks is not only in identifying a particular piece of pottery but identifying an original piece from a reproduction piece of pottery. There is great value in some pottery brand names, so reproductions have become extremely prevalent on the market.

Pottery marks can be displayed in many different forms

You will find everything from a scrolled writing mark to just a very tiny subtle mark of some kind. We will often see numbers of many styles stamped on the bottom of various pieces. Also remember, many different countries have produced pottery over the years, so you will also notice pottery identification marks that you may not recognize.
In fact, the process of identifying a piece of pottery can be one of great frustration. Although most companies did mark their wares some did not. Some companies also changed their mark over time which can lead to many problems when one is trying to identify a particular piece. Some marks even contain extra letters and numbers or strange symbols although which can add up to confusion for the person who is trying to identify any given piece.

Look for Clues

For those who choose to collect pottery one of the biggest challenges can be identifying a particular piece. The one hard and fast rule is that there are no rules when it comes the pottery marks, however one thing that you can keep in mind when it comes to pottery in the United States is that 1890 is a key date. As of 1890 all porcelain and China imported to America had to show a country of origin. In other words a piece that is stamped “made in England” generally indicates that it was created in the 20th century.

Another clue is the word trademark. Since the trademark act was established in 1862 then you know American pottery marks that include the word trademark or the more standard TM must have been created after 1862. The word Limited or abbreviation Ltd. was not used until the 1860s and the letters RN which stands for registered number was not used until the 1880s.

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