How to date Royal Bayreuth pottery

By Cynthia Smith

One of the first factories to make pure, white-porcelain ceramics -- available to those who were not royalty -- was the German factory that makes Royal Bayreuth. Over 25 marks were attributed to the Koniglich Priv. Porcelain Factory Co. between 1794 and the present. One reason for so many marks is that each plant manager changed the logos during their tenures. With knowledge of the basic attributes of these marks, Royal Bayreuth pieces can be dated with confidence.

Lift the Royal Bayreuth piece to check the base or underside for marks. Incised numbers of one to eight -- along with a "T" in script form -- are found on early 18th and 19th century pieces. This "T" mark is most often in red overglaze; it also appears in green and black overglaze, and blue underglaze. It is usually carved into the base. Variations of the handwritten letter "T" identified Royal Bayreuth and Tettau products for nearly 100 years. A standing lion holding a flag with a typescript "T" was done in gold overglaze from 1866 to 1887.

Look for a lion wearing a crown, a shield with a letter "P" or "T" and a company name of Royal Bayreuth or Tettua. The lion's presence signifies the piece was created after 1900. The lion pairs faced each other until 1968, when the lions began looking away from one another. Aside from a rarely seen incised mark -- typically described as conjoined, lit tapers -- the Royal Bayreuth logos consisted of these elements. Variations of them are found in blue, green and black underglaze. Overglaze marks are blue, gray, gold and red.

Locate crowned lions with shields featuring an eagle crest on the left side, and a diamond pattern on the right side. The lions are printed in green underglaze, indicating the piece was made close to 1919. In the mid-1940s, the single-crowned lion returned; it featured either a diamond pattern or capital "T" within its shield. The words "U.S. Zone" -- added to original stamps -- were often seen during this period. The U.S. Zone stamp indicates merchandise was subject to a duty tax from 1945 to 1949.

Notice the subject matter or design elements of the porcelain. Tapestry, scenic and portrait pieces were produced during the years 1890 to 1915. The range of depicted items included toothpick holders, condiment holders, vases, ashtrays, candlesticks, bells, dresser sets, hatpin and match holders, shoes, planters, wall pockets, hair receivers, creamers and sugar bowls. Animals, flowers, fruits, birds and fish -- as well as the Red Devil and Cards -- were made from 1900 through 1915. Sun Bonnet Babies was another popular series that appeared after the turn of the century. Santa Claus pieces are early 20th century designs. They are found in green and brown, as well as the traditional red.

A piece of blue- and white-patterned porcelain -- with a "T" mark in either the "Old Tettau Blue" pattern or the "Old Tettau Chrysanthemum" pattern -- is the oldest Royal Bayreuth known. These patterns were integrated into cups and saucers, pitchers, tea and coffee pots, creamers and sugar bowls, and were manufactured near the year 1800.

About the Author

Obtained Nursing degree followed by Registered Nurse license in 1984. Have held several positions in long term and intermediate care, acute care and home health with much of this experience in leadership roles. Years of management and staff education give me a solid basis of nursing expertise and medical knowledge. In addition, conducting in-services and community health education forums involves public speaking, an ability I have utilized scores of times.