by Dr. Lori Verderame
Would you pay $500 or more for an old serving platter? Staffordshire collectors do. Collectors of Historical Blue Staffordshire ceramics pay big bucks for plates, platters, pitchers, tureens, and other items that are regularly found hiding in kitchen cupboards and china cabinets. Owners rarely realize the value of these 18th and 19th Century china pieces even after looking at identifying pottery marks.
Most Staffordshire pottery pieces are easy to recognize. They have a brightly colored painted form and even clear glaze over a strong and sturdy ceramic body.
Staffordshire plates, platters, and teapots often have blue/white transferware decorations on them featuring famous places, military battle sites, and important figures. Some famous Historical Blue Staffordshire pieces are designed with pictures of Fairmount Park near Philadelphia, Boston Almshouse, Niagara Falls, Landing of General Lafayette, Cape Coast castle on the Gold Coast of Africa, etc. Staffordshire potteries produced wares with slogans and scenes highlighting Europe’s great wars or America’s fight for independence.
In the antiques trade, such collectible pieces of 18th and 19th Century pottery are called Historical Staffordshire or Old Blue for its evident blue color and blue/white contrast. Not to be confused with flow blue pieces, the pieces are characterized by their famous blue look with transfer ware decorations featuring famous landmarks, historic events, and important people. There are nearly 800-1,000 different subjects depicted in the series of Historical Staffordshire, all made by various manufacturers.
Some of the most popular Staffordshire figures are spaniel dogs (typically found in sets of two dogs), male and female figures such as farmers or street vendors, famous military figures like Louis Napoleon, equestrians, figures from literature such as Robin Hood, historic figures such as Benjamin Franklin, etc. Values vary widely ranging from $500 to several thousands of dollars for each piece depending on many different factors.
Staffordshire pieces were exhibited at World’s Fairs and public exhibitions like the Panama Pacific Expo of 1915. Also, Staffordshire pottery was collected by numerous members of high society worldwide including members of the ruling classes such as Queen Charlotte, Queen Victoria, and Catherine the Great.
Request an online appraisal of your Staffordshire piece from Dr. Lori.