Identifying Age and Makers – The Basics
In this Category will be posted the basic clues to identifying a piece’s age, country of origin and maker/manufacturer. I am sure that, as the site develops, there will be many pieces incuded where the manufacturer’s name is written on the bottom – but what is not always clear is the age of the piece…

Most people will recognise that:-

1) when a piece is clearly marked in English with its country of origin then it was almost certainly made after 1891. The word “England” on its own suggests that the piece was marked after the 1891 McKinley Tariff Act (a few pieces were marked in anticipation of trade restrictions – but almost all are post 1880)

2) Pieces marked with “Made in England” tend to indicate that they were made after the First World War.

3) “Registered Numbers” (Reg, Reg’d) appear in the mid to late 1880s.

4) “Trade Mark” and “Ltd” appear most commonly on china made after 1860

5) The word “Royal” on a piece suggests that it is likely to be Victorian, as does the diamond registration mark.

6) Royal Coats of Arms are occasionally late Georgian but, more commonly, Victorian.

but what about the pieces with registration marks? Are you comfortable about reading these? If the piece is only marked with a squiggle or a crown – or only a few numbers – are you confident that you know the manufacturer?  Articles added over the next few weeks will start to answer some of these questions…


20 thoughts on “Identifying Age and Makers – The Basics

  1. I bought a bowl at Goodwill the other day that has a stamping on the bottom of two crossed shamrocks and what appears to be the letters J, C, and T amongst the stems. This is all the markings on the bottom. Does this sound familiar to you?

    1. This almost certainly is Jaeger and Co, they were based in Marktredwitz, in Bavaria. The mark you describe dates from C 1872. However one would need to see the piece to identify date and place further. Hope this is a good starting point for your research.

    1. Hi, Not really enough information, could you send photos of all parts of the plate. If the floral pattern is hand painted we might be able to narrow it down to the maker or artist.

  2. I have a plate that has a scalloped edge to it and the rim has a gold edge. It is a pale blue on the outer edges with a gold pattern inside, but whitebto the centre of the plate.
    on the back it has the word PARAGON and two crests side by side.
    under the crest it has by appointment to HM the Queen & HM Queen Mary
    fine china, England
    Regd Stafford.

    around the lower bottom edge there is two marks in a brownish colour: one looks like a V but upside down with a dot after it, and the other mark is like a little speach mark.
    at the top of the plate is printed in the same brownish colour what looks like : x3a50/2.
    any ideas about this plate please and if it has any worth.

    1. This stamp was used by Paragon for a very short period, 1939-1949.The Royal crest on the left pertained to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Crest on the right belonged to Queen Mary, married to George 5th. The various small marks that you describe relate to, mold marks, painter’s marks and date codes. I’m sorry to say that this is not rare and unless it is beautiful enough to display on the wall I should use it as the best cake plate !

  3. Hello, I have recently come across a tea set, cups, saucers and plates with a gold fern design. It only has the numbers 1071 painted on the bottom I wonder if you could tell me anything about it.


  5. A friend has bone china from grandmother. White with robin’s egg blue scalloping in 6 hearts divided over plate. Gold filigree on edge and dividing blue hearts. Mark on back. “c” with 350 below the letter. No other marks seen.
    She is curious as to its age and origin

  6. Oblong piece 3/12 x 10 inches. 12 segmented scenes separated by gold leaf frames. Scenes appear to be mid-century French of lovers w/park setting. Center of dish has Fleur de Lis pattern. Only markings are on back of dish in a small oblong . Gold little bell shape with 55/1102 under the bell. ( May be an imitation of a classic piece).

  7. I purchased a small child’s cup, it is white(ish) with an image of Little Miss Muffet along with her spider. Underneath is stamped ‘England’ with three green dots forming a triangle. Do you have any information on the manufacturer and age? Thank you.

    1. It sounds Like a Staffordshire pottery piece dating between 1891 and c.1912 – The three green dots will be the workman’s mark, so not possible to be sure about the pottery manufacturer

  8. Good morning. I have a 10″ plate which looks like Japanese imari but on the back instead of a Japanese mark, there is a stamp which reads OR PPAL or it might be OR PPAV. Do you know what this means? It might be PORPAL or PORPAV. I can’t find this mark anywhere. I would be most grateful for any advice.
    All the best
    Anne Brian

  9. hi please help brought a cup and saucer set plus milk jug o the bottom it has a crown with a twisted rope under it then made in england . reg no 759778 or 0 . a lime green c two black dots with two black slashes under . all the plates cups are cream with a lime green border a hunting scene on the left and a lady on the right dressed as a maid with a hound sniffing her wicker basket would be very interested to know any history as never seen one like this before thanks in advance regards dougie

  10. I have a Paragon China Tea Set with what I believe is a pattern mark of X1263/1 on the underside of the saucers. It is not on the individual plates, nor cups, but is on the sandwich / serving plate. There are four cup/saucer/plates in the Set..

  11. Hello!
    I have 5 tea/coffee cups that are very thin (bone china?), each cup is hand painted with its own flower design at the top only, gold rim, and unique dragonfly handle white with gold hints. The bottoms of these cups are flat, no feet. On the bottom there are painted initials or mark, it looks like the letter S with an A or upside down V through the middle of the S. Each is also individually dated “Apr. 18, 1890, Mar. 16, 1891, Apr. 11, 1890, June 21, 1890, June 16,1890”. Any help on identifying the maker would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!!!

  12. Tea – Coffee cup(s) hand painted flower pater the top inch of each cup, gold line around the rim, dragonfly handles gold detailed and white and each cup has it’s own date from the year 1890-1891 hand painted on along with signature/mark that looks like an S with an A through the middle of it or an upside down V through the center. Any help would be greatly appreciated to find the maker! Thank you!

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