How to Determine the Origin of Pottery

How to Determine the Origin of Pottery

Every piece of pottery tells its own story and the time and place of its creation. Generally there are some important details associated with pottery including a signature, date of origin, place of manufacturing, and the artist. In most cases, marks made on soft clay are hard to interpret and sometimes they even have incomplete information. We are going to discuss some simple tips to determine the origin of pottery and marks of the pottery maker.
How to Find and Identify Pottery Stamps
The marks found on pottery may reveal important information such as artist name, company that manufactured the pottery, date of manufacturing, and even the country of origin. Let go over some important tips to help you determine the origin of pottery.

  • The first step is to get some reference books and familiarize yourself with the field. It is best to choose a book with clear illustrations and proper explanation of these pottery marks.

  • There are some important points that can help you with date stamps. The trend of using colors for stamps started after 1850 and the trend of carving country of origin of the pottery started in 1891.

  • Try to identify the pattern of the stamp which can be a name or possibly a number. In case there is a number marked on the pottery, try to find out the meaning of this number in reference books or by searching online. You could try looking on a website like eBay or Amazon, or you could ask around on a pottery niche site or discussion board. More than likely you’ll be able to find someone who will point you in the right direction.

  • In case you find your knowledge insufficient then it is best to turn to the experts of the field. Some of the people you can seek help from include antique-store owners, appraisers, and even some replacement companies.

How to Find and Identify the Pottery Creation Date
Most people are unaware of the method of reading dates on pottery. There are some import laws associated with the import of pottery in the United States which makes it easier to determine the origin of pottery.

  • Any item having a mark of the country of origin indicates that the item was made after 1891 (McKinley Tariff Act). According to this law, every imported item must have the name of country of origin of the pottery.

  • In 1914, another change was made in the Tariff Act under which every piece of pottery must have “made in” words followed by the country of origin on the pottery.

  • The pottery imported after 1921 must contain the important details written in American English. It includes the date and country of origin of the pottery.

  • Pottery marks can help you identify the date of pottery and you should be aware of the meaning of any special symbols or shapes marked on your pottery.

Refer to books, online information, stores, or pottery enthusiasts to help you find out where and when your pottery was made. Every piece of pottery reveals a history behind its creation; though your piece may not be extremely valuable and rare, there is no doubt that you will have fun learning its history along the way.

November 25, 2013


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