Transferware, collectible pieces of pottery originating from Great Britain, bear special patterns transferred from prints made from copper plates. Dating back to the 18th century, transferware has become highly sought after not only for its unique charm, but also because many pieces are quite valuable. The world of transferware is an extensive one, and with thousands and thousands of patterns, a variety of color choices, and so much information on how, when, and where to find valuable pieces--navigation through this fascinating hobby can be a bit overwhelming at first. If you are new to transferware collecting, here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin to build a collection that's fun to find and lovely to display.
(Picture Credit Veranda Magazine)
Importance of Colors and Patterns
Transferware comes in many colors including red, yellow, green, blue, purple, cranberry, pink, brown, gray, and black--and sometimes more than one color will appear on a particular piece. All colors are desirable, and one isn't necessarily more valuable than another. The importance of color depends mainly on the collector's preferences, and some colors may be more popular at one time or another than other colors--shifting back and forth depending on the demand. Although the number of patterns made is unknown, at the very minimum the number is in the thousands. Databases containing the many patterns are the best places to learn about which patterns are highly collectible, the primary determinant being which ones are the most rare or hardest to find.
On the backs of many transferware plates you will find some sort of mark or stamp that will help you date pieces. From 1842 to 1883, pieces were registered with London's Patent Office, each one bearing a mark to indicate when they were made. After 1884, numbers were used on the back of the plates--making it possible to determine an approximated date that they were made. Other stamped, impressed, or hand-signed indicators of date on transferware pieces include "England" (1890 to 1920), "Made in England" (1920 and on), "limited" (after 1880), and "Trademark" (most likely after 1875). Some pieces have no information on them that would help determine when they were made. In those cases, the body type, pattern, style, and glaze would be examined in order to date unmarked pieces.
The value of transferware is determined by several things. Age, pattern, condition, and demand are some of the factors that make one piece more valuable than another. Generally, transferware free of chips, cracks, and cut marks are much more valuable than damaged ones. A perfect piece typically sells for much more than a less-than-perfect or restored one--but if the pattern on it is a rare one, some collectors will ignore the condition and pay big bucks to acquire it anyway. The best way to determine if your transerware is valuable is to take it to an expert and have it appraised.
Blue and White Decorating Ideas- Transferware Cathy Kincaid
One way to authenticate transferware is to look for the faint lines left behind from the transfer paper used to make the pattern. Also, the markings mentioned that indicate the date or place the pottery was made can also verify authenticity.
Places to Find Transferware
There are many places to find transferware--and the search for pieces to add to your growing collection is a big part of what makes this hobby exciting. Transferware can be found online at auction sites, in online antique stores, and on transferware collecting sites where members buy, sell, and trade their pieces. Antique stores, estate sales, and sometimes even flea markets are other great places to find this beautiful pottery.
An interesting history, gorgeous patterns, and elegant style are just a few of the reasons that people enjoy collecting transferware. With the help of these starter tips and a treasure trove of valuable online resources at your fingertips, you'll be off to a good start on your new transferware collection.
Guest post from Jean Clark. Jean writes for BackgroundCheck.org
Picture Credit- Alberto Pinto, Annie Brahler, David Netto Veranda
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