Identifying Marks on Antique Pottery & Porcelain

By Linda Stamberger
Antique utilitarian pottery

Antique porcelain and pottery was manufactured up until the early 1900s. The range of such items include both utilitarian and decorative wares. There are various types of markings that help identify both porcelain and pottery.

Types

Look underneath pottery and porcelain for an identification mark. Anything that is marked “England” or “English Bone China” is not antique, but manufactured in modern times, after the 1900s. Porcelain marked with the word “Royal” was made after 1850.

Significance

Research marks found on pottery and porcelain in appropriate guidebooks. Certain symbols used on porcelain and pottery can be found listed next to company names within guidebooks. These tell the history of the company and may also date the piece of piece in question.

Identification

Examine the coloring of the mark. Anything other than blue would be a piece made after 1850. Look for design abbreviations, such as “RD” or “Ltd” (or the whole word “Limited”). These markings were used on pottery and porcelain after 1885. Pieces that are marked “Trademark” were manufactured after 1862.

Considerations

Obtain an appraisal from a professional antique dealer familiar with antique porcelain and pottery. Get a written estimate if possible.

About the Author

Linda Stamberger began writing professionally in 1994, as an entertainment reporter for "Good Times Magazine." She has written online copy for The Volusia Community website and is the author of "Antiquing in Florida." Stamberger studied creative writing at Southampton College, where she won a partial writing scholarship.