What’s in a Mark?

China mark

Marks give a lot of information on the product.

“A wine label is worth 100 years of experience.” Have you ever heard that saying before? This saying refers to the amount of information that can be gleaned from a wine label compared to having to learn all the nuances about the wine before arriving at the same conclusion as the label. The marks found on the back of a piece of china are just as important.

Recently I had a reader request some information on dishes he had. He wondered if there was any value to his grandmother’s set of china. I suggested he send me a photograph of the china as well as the mark on the bottom of a plate. He sent me a picture – but only of the mark, nothing else. I had no idea what the dishes looked like (White Mist is not just one pattern) but based on that mark alone I was able to give him the information he was looking for.

Based on this mark I knew information about the manufacturer. It’s easy to do pricing research when you know the company name and EBAY has a lot of Ridgeway for sale.

Secondly I knew the age of the dishes were because of the registration mark #828344. That mark let me know that the set was made between 1938 and 1939.

And the clincher: I knew that the set wasn’t monetarily valuable because of the words “Warranted 22K Gold Decoration.” The very fact that those words are on there shows that the manufacturer was trying to impress its customers with the fact that there was real gold on the dishes. It’s counter – intuitive, but people who could afford the higher end china such as Royal Doulton, or Wedgwood – just to name two – knew that their dishes were decorated with real gold. No need to add it on the mark.

That’s the beauty of a manufacturer’s mark on any objects. Although I wasn’t able to see the object, the mark gave me all the information needed to respond to his query.

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