Tips and Terms for Collectors
- Dating and Backstamps of Royal Doulton: While impossible to be completely precise, these rules usually
hold true. Royal Doulton Trademark - It is unusual for a jug not to have a Royal Doulton Trademark, but
prototypes have been found, at times, with a blank base. Seconds are marked with a X or a hole drilled into
***Quick Hint: To quickly identify an Royal Doulton older piece, glance at the curved lines that look like vertical, curved equal lines on each side of the circle. LONG MARKS usually mean an older piece while SHORT MARKS indicate a more recent issue. Looking for the size of the marks is an simplistic, unscientific, quick way to USUALLY determine if a piece is an older specimen.
1901-1930's: The mark contains a Lion Standing on a Crown. Forming a circle are the words, "Royal
Doulton (on top), England (on the bottom) and Curved Double Lines (on each side of the middle).
These lines are usually thin and fairly long. (Long Marks) inside the circle are connecting marks that
look like D's. There is a long, line beneath the connecting D's that is long and curves up half way on
each side. Bleeding around the rim is also called a Shaded Rim or Oversprayed Rim and was usually
found on the large size Character and Toby Jugs. This practice was completely discontinued by 1973,
1930's-1940's: The words, "Made In England" were added and placed in a curve just beneath the
crown. They curve on each side half way down the logo. It still has "Long Marks". Often, there is a
single Registration (RN) number If the number could not be obtained in time, the words,
"Registration Applied For." may appear. A Registration Number DOES NOT give the date for a
specific piece-only the date design was protected. BUT a number that CAN date the piece may be
placed in the upper right, near the crown. Add that number to the year 1927 and you should have an
accurate date of the production of that specific piece! So a 14 next to the crown would mean it was
produced in 1941. In 1938, Royal Doulton also began to register designs in Australia and you may
find "Regd in Australia" added. Shaded Rims still present on the larger size jugs. Figurines carry the
"Bone China" below the backstamp from 1932 to the present.
1940's & 1950's: A capital "A" mark on the left of the lion and crown symbol is a kiln mark that was
used between 1939-1955. Still has "Long Marks" though they are slightly thicker and shorter. After
the war, Royal Doulton had to register designs in more of their export areas and in 1947 a copyright
date was added for Doulton and Co Limited and four Registration (RN) Numbers for the UK,
Australia, South Africa and New Zealand were used. Shaded Rims still present on larger size jugs.
1960's & 1970's: In 1966, Royal Doulton was able to obtain protection in each country and by 1973,
the Registration Numbers (RN) were completely phased out on Character and Toby Jugs. By 1973
there is no more shading around the rims of Character Jugs. In 1975 the Company's new name,
"Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd." began to appear in the copyright notice. The copyright notice was
changed from "Copr" to "C" also. The line marks are becoming shorter and thicker. As the decade
ends, we would then describe them as "Short Marks".
1980's&1990's: Registration Numbers on Figurines is completely phased out. Short Marks. Large
script was added for character names in the early 1980's and by 1983 the words, "Hand Made and
Hand Decorated" had been included underneath. Doultonville Tobies have these markings. Artists
names were added to seek public recognition of their skills. Some Figurines have the words, "First
year of issue" or "Final Year of issue" which identitfy exact production years. In 1998 the addition of
special dating symbol is added to many new issues.
- Mint Condition: is the term originally related to the coin collecting hobby and means that a limited edition
item is still in its original, like-new condition, with all accompanying documents AND box. There is NO
compromise on this term. Mint Condition means perfect and nothing less. If a collectible has minor
crazing or a factory glaze skip, it is NOT mint condition.
- Very Good Condition: may be used for those pieces that may possess a very minor flaw such as a bit of
crazing, a factory glaze skip or pinhole. This is an "almost mint" condition. Not perfect but possessing no
flaws that would seriously affect value. Even the most minor flaws must be disclosed.
- Good Condition: should be used to describe most collectibles. Crazing, factory glaze skips or pops, glaze
pinholes and even some minor discoloration is allowed under this term. Though all flaws should be
disclosed, even these won't affect value more than 20%. Most vintage pieces will have some wear and
flaws from years of use. You may even want to be a bit suspicious of a piece that is 100 years old and is still
in "mint condition".
- Acid Etching: Some ware has acid-etched
decoration. After a piece has been glazed,
certain parts are masked off (using a wash, rubber or other materials) and
the piece is dipped in acid. This removes the glaze from an unmasked portion
of a piece.
- An allotment
or allocation is
the number within a limited edition which a manufacturer allows to a given
dealer, direct marketer or collector.
- An annual
collectible is one which is issued yearly.,
mostly used to describe a range or merchandise such as omaments or plates.
- Art Pottery
is ornamental ware either hand decorated by artists or glazed with special,
controlled effects. In other words, pottery made and decorated by hand.
- A backstamp
is the information contained on the back or bottom of a plate or collectible.Information
can include item name, designer/artist, identification number, date of
copyright, manufacturers logo, and artists' markings. These markings can
help to identify when the item was produced and who the painter was. This
information can also serve to document the piece as part of a limited edition
- Bisque Ware
is Clay that has been hardened through a first firing. Bisque
Firing is the first firing or baking in
a high heat.
- Porcelain that contains bone ash is called
The ash is added for translucency and whiteness.
slip is poured into plaster molds. The plaster draws moisture from the
clay so that the ware can be handled.
- Porcelain dinnerware that is thicker, heavier
and more durable than fine china is generally called Casual
- A Certificate
of Authenticity is
a document which accompanies a limited edition item and includes such information
as the series name, item title, artist's name and/or signature, edition
number, and the date of edition.
- A Christmas
series consists of any collectible items
which are issued to commemorate this yearly holiday, but which normally
are sold and displayed all year long.
- A closed-end
series is a group of collectibles which
comprise a specific number-be it 4 or more. The total number of items in
the series is disclosed when the series begins.
- A commemorative
is an item which is created to mark a
special date, holiday or even. While the term does not mean limited edition,
most merchandise is limited by production time or year of issue.
- A decorative effect, Crackle
(also Craquelle) reveals a network of tiny cracks that resemble crazing.
- An edition
is the term which refers to the number
of items created with same name and decoration. An edition can refer to
items in the general range or limited merchandise.
- An Epergne
is a decorative centerpiece that may have compartments or branches for
fruits, flowers, etc.
- A firing period
denotes the time frame which serves to limit an edition, usually ranging
from 10 to 100 days. The number of items made is limited only by the capacity
of the manufacturer.
- When mentioning a first
issue, you would be referring to the premiere
item in a series, whether it be open-ended or closed -ended.
is dinnerware: plates, platters etc. In otherwords, pieces that lie flat
or nearly flat.
- Dealers (or collectors) who deal on the gray
those who buy through secondary sources. For example, if an account is
not able to get the quantity of merchandise they require from the US, they
will go to other dealers, mostly in the UK, to obtain this merchandise.
- A mark stamped with pressure is said to be
It may be done by hand or in the mold itself.
- Issue Price
is the original price upon introduction
of a collectible, established by its manufacturer.
- Shiny glaze containg lead oxide is called
- The term limited
to any item produced with a specific number of pieces in the line - usually
anywhere from 250 to 10,000 pieces. This practice became widely popular
in the mid-1960's. Factors in the success of limited edition merchandise
include the reputation of the firm, the artist or designer, fine craftsmanship,
and a strictly numbered edition with the edition number on the piece and
- Limited Production identifies
collectibles which are produced within a specific time frame. The total
number of pieces will vary with the production time as the qualifying factor.
This term is somewhat misleading as thousands of items may be produced
in a year, unlike limited editions. When the limited production is finished,
the molds are destroyed, much like Royal Doulton's Figure and Jug of the
- List Price
is a printed price, as in a catalogue,
subject to trade and cash discounts. The suggested selling price.
is a metallic glaze which gives an iridescent effect.
- A "Nappy"
is a round, incovered vegetable or salad dish usually 8" or 9"
- An open-ended
series is a collection whose issues appear
at intervals, usually biannually or annually, with no limit on the number
of years in which they will be produced and no upfront explanation of the
total number of issues in the series.
- Unglazed porcelain (bisque ware) intended
to resemble marble is called "Parian".
- Primary Market Price
is the "buy-sell" arrangement
whereby individuals purchase collectibles directly through a dealer at
- Secondary Market Price
is the retail that a customer is willing to sell or buy a collectible that
is no longer available on the primary market. These prices will vary from
one territory to another depending on the popularity and demand for the
subject in each particular area.
- When an item is signed
and numbered, each
piece is signed with a consecutive number by the artist. The edition is
limited to that certain number.
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