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Identifying Marks on Delft Pottery

Because I’ve had many inquiries, and because I’ve noticed a lot of interest, I thought I’d address this interest…as much as I’m able to anyway.

First off, I’m not an expert! I’m merely a woman who grew up with a love of Delft because of European parents, (Dutch mom, German dad) and add  that to the fact that the color itself it lovely.

People who love Delft Blue are often left to educate themselves on the history, and the worth, of their pieces. Quite often it’s possible that your Great Aunt Tilda left you something or maybe you found something in the attic and now, you’re wondering what it’s worth.

First, remember that it doesn’t matter if it’s a Maserati, a diamond ring, or a beautiful piece of Delft Blue Pottery…regardless of what an antique book might tell you the value may be, it will only be worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

If your item is a one of a kind piece, and you can find a collector for it, then there is a chance your Delft has some value. The marks or stamps on the bottom will often tell you the town where the pottery originated. And many of these places had their own individual marks impressed into these pieces that would indelibly fix them as their own. And if it was a hand-painted piece, you might see a small signature, or initials.

The color of the delft also is an important part of your pottery although it’s not an exact indication of true delft ceramics. Even the cheaper pieces made today that are screen printed or handpainted with quick brushstokes, are considered delft. Some pieces are cheap knock-offs from China, that sitting side by side on a shelf with Delft-ware, may often be indistinguishable from each other.

The age of your piece may be determined more by how long you personally have known it’s been in your family and if you can prove it’s provenace. The longer a piece is around, the chances are it develops that ‘aged’ look; fine spiderweb cracks in the glaze and sometimes the inevitable nicks that come from being packed and unpacked and moved from one place to another too many times. Because many of these places in Holland are LONG out of business, it’s a very good bet that what you might hold in your hands from Great Aunt Tilda is indeed an older piece of Delft.

But what is it worth? That is the 64 million dollar question. Unless it is SO rare that there are so few left in the world, and it’s such an unusual piece, that chances are good you might not get a lot for it. That is simply to say that I’ve seen quite a few pieces go on a Dutch auction site and while I didn’t understand the language, I sure did understand the monetary exchange!

My best suggestion, if you are intent on selling an old piece that you know is handpainted, has that rich, deep cobalt blue color of the famous Delft, start searching for a buyer with a price you have in mind after visiting with a good reputable antiques dealer.

You might find it hard to part with and want to keep Great Aunt Tilda’s Delft Blue mug warmer after all :)     … matter how much it might go for!

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3 Responses to “Identifying Marks on Delft Pottery”

  1. lois courchene says:

    large bread or cheese box signed with brown star and indented #,I found in a barn in Germany in early 1970′s.Wood trim around the rectangular shaped box with large brass screws on each corner.Piano hinged lid slightly pitted for the age.Lovely natural patina on light colored wood around the edges to match the wood encasing the box.The porcalin over tin box is indented in each cornor to accomadate it’s encasement.The box has deep blue colorsI don’t remember the scene.I think it is orental.Help

  2. admin says:

    I wish I had a photo. of your piece….Just recently a lady bought a piece from a garage sale or flea market (don’t remember which) and I was hoping it was worth something. As it turned out, even though it was older, the marks on the bottom only represented the company that it was from here in the U.S. They bought the bisque from China, then painted it (hence they could ‘legally’ say these pieces were handpainted ) and sold it. But it still didn’t make it the true delft. They eventually sold their company to another one here in the U.S.

    It is actually kind of hard. to tell the worth at times. Sometimes, the deep blue colors are something that the manufactures like, but that doesn’t always mean it’s true delft. What can help you, though, is to know that real handpainted delft is not as detailed in the brush strokes. An oriental scene would probably not make it delft. You might definitely have something like a Currier and Ives piece? Or, if oriental, and from the 70′s, because it’s so different, it might we worth a little something anyway!

    Regardless, it sounds like you have a nice piece that probably is interesting enough to make it worth something in its own right just because it’s not a piece you find everyday.

    Madeleine Jacobs

  3. Adrian Simmons says:

    I am going crazy trying to find this mark! I have this same piece. Would you please look at item number 140518481713 on eBay? I have researched forever for this mark! Thank you for your time.

    Kind Regards,

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