Instant Antique Expert Tip #4 – Numbers

Teacup Collections

Teacup Collections

Identifying what the marks mean on the bottom of a teacup can be sometimes challenging but other times, ridiculously easy. This Instant Antique Expert Tip  answers the question “What does this number mean?”

Manufacturers have been required, by law, to register their items especially when the objects were intended to be exported. In previous posts I explained how to read marks and how to find information about the makers of the piece. I’ve also discussed in a previous post what the lack of marks might mean about an object. This time, let’s talk about registration numbers.

Are you confused yet? Don’t be. This is so easy, you’ll blush.

Fenton jam jar

This little enamelled jam jar is made by Fenton

Let’s look at the jam jar above. Now turn it over and look at the marks on its base. It has the name Fenton on it which identifies the manufacturer. Now you could research Fenton to find out what years the company used the mark on its wares but wait! There’s an easier way.

Fenton Reg number

Note the Rd No 696571 on its base

Notice the mark that starts with Rd No followed by a number? That’s the registration number I was talking about. This number isn’t just on china or pottery but can be on wood, leather, metals and more.

This number is Rd No 696571. Go online and seek out sites that feature registration marks (there are many – there’s link to one below). I use the book,  “New Dictionary of Marks” by Kovel to do my research but you can use either, books or online sources.

You will find a list of years starting from January 1st, 1884 (Rd #1) all the way to 1981 (Rd # 998302) when they stopped using these registration numbers on objects. Simply look at your number and look to see where it might fall in numerical order.

The number 696571 falls between 694999 and 702671. This means that this jam jar was made between 1923 and 1924.

Too easy for words, right? My next blog tackles two questions I am often asked: 1) When is the best time to sell my antiques? and 2) Where is the best place to sell my antiques?

Stay tuned. Here’s one site for you to try out your new sleuthing skills:

Until then, have a good week.


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