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It’s all in the Marks: Understanding Minton Date Codes

by Mike Wilcox (07/06/12).

One of the marks used by the English porcelain and pottery company Minton.

As mentioned in previous articles, there are several potteries that, for their own reasons, used markings as a way of date coding their products. Thanks to research and archived company records, these date codes are a wonderful resource to determine the vintage of pottery and porcelain, even if other indicators are there, such as country of origin makings, design registration or patent markings.

Minton, the well-known British porcelain company, traces its origins back all the way to 1793, when Thomas Minton and partners William Pownall and Joseph Poulson began production of their first pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. The company was not complete until 1796, then producing what was the most popular design of the times, blue transfer ware on earthenware. Unlike the later porcelain pieces, the early examples had no back stamp to identify them and are very rare today.

Minton, like most potteries, used a variety of back stamps that can indicate a start and end date for the type of marking, but their use often spanned periods of 30 years or more for a single mark, making them part of the solution to the puzzle. Minton began using identifiable markings in 1805. The examples below are Minton Back Stamps listed in WorthPoint’s Marks and Library website. Minton used them (from left to right) from the mid-19th to mid-20th century for the periods spanning 1863-1872, 1873-91 and 1912-50.

Minton 1863-1872

Minton 1873-1891

Minton 1912-1950

While identifying company back stamps is helpful, Minton’s date-code system for pieces made from 1842 onward is far more accurate and eliminates the need to refer to the company back stamps at all, unless the date code is too hard to read. Minton used this symbol date-code system from 1842 until 1942, utilizing a different symbol for each year. The marking can be found impressed into the base of each piece, which today supplies us with a solid 100-year history

of markings you can print on one page (see below). Being impressed markings, they are generally easier to read than hand-printed markings by individual decorators often are.

The mark below is a blown up example of a date code symbol used by Minton. Try consulting the chart above to determine the date it was used and see to see just how simple it is to determine a production date (answer below).

What year was this mark used?

If you determined the marking was used in 1865, you are correct.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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24 Responses to “It’s all in the Marks: Understanding Minton Date Codes”

  1. John says:

    I have 2 MINTONS plates with the 1912 – 1950 stamp with ENGLAND underneeth. Embossed mark MINTONS 11-29.
    and C4960.9. (written)

    Can you advise ?

  2. I have a Mintons cup. It is cream color with small pink roses and a green leaf border at the lip of cup.
    Bottom marking is the Minto stamp from 1987-1891. It does say England on the cup as well as handwritten in red in 1705P. the W in a circle is engraved as well. Any idea of the value? thanks

  3. Mike Wilcox says:

    It’s impossible to provide values for anything without images. I’d suggest using our Worthologist service to determine what you have and potential value.
    https://www.worthpoint.com/askWorthologist/index

  4. Hillary Stout says:

    I have a Minton 10″ plate with the Minton emblem designating 1912-1950, an embossed marking of 11 – 37. The pattern is a soft, light green which looks like delicate tree branches of five trees going around the outside of the plate with one smaller round group of branches in the middle. This is all on a cream background. Most interesting is silver (metal) trim affixed to the circumfrence of the plate of 1/2″. Can you tell me what the name of the pattern is or the collection this special plate comes from? Thank you.

  5. Nancy Hansen says:

    Can you tell me about the mark x2215 in red on a demitasse cup with the Mintons marking for the years 1912-1950? I’m only seeing up to numbers in the 1900′s from what is on-line. Is it because it needs to be an embossed marking to qualify as authentic?

  6. JL says:

    I have two Lyre pattern flow blue polychrome dishes. One has a blue Mintons crown (the one that says 1873 – 1891, but the date stamp is the setting (rising?) sun of 1920. It also has the markings “N” and 8667H. I assume the latter is the artisan’s mark?

    The other is a mystery. It’s the same pattern in a soup bowl, but has no Minton Mark. There is a “N” mark and 8667 CX. I’m guessing it’s a copy, but still appears to be the same age. There’s a square inside a circle mark, which would be 1877. The center stamp looks like a child’s drawing of a car with no wheels and two circles toward the middle.

    Do you have any insight as to 1. Why the markings on the plate are of different dates and 2. What the mark on the soup bowl might mean? I know there are a lot of knock-offs, but this one looks the age, just not necessarily Minton.

    Thank you.

    I bought them for a flow blue collector (shipped from the UK) only to learn that she didn’t like the polychrome, so I may sell them but I want to ensure that I’m giving accurate info.

  7. Janet says:

    I have a question. I recently bought 12 luncheon plates in a turquoise design that are marked Minton and Davis Collamore. The Collamore mark has the globe with no leaves, indicating a pre-1912 manufacture. However, on close inspection with a magnifying glass, I can see the ghost of the globe with the laurel. These were advertised as antique, which was a plus for me because I like older pieces, but I really bought them because the price was good and the color was what I had been looking for. I have no intention of returning them, even though I think the age was faked by somehow removing the 1912-1950 mark. I estimate them at 1943-1950–vintage, but not antique (I cannot find a readable incised year mark).

    My question is this: do I notify the seller that her supplier might not have been ethical, or that she needs to examine her stuff more carefully, or just let it ride? Or am I wrong?

  8. Mike Wilcox Mike Wilcox says:

    I can’t see anyone bothering to remove the mark, they tend to be underglaze and would have to be ground off, leaving a very visible marks where this was done. The term “Antique” is thrown around very loosely these days, one should get verification in writing as to the vintage if an item is claimed to be Antique, Eg. “Circa 1900″. This set having a mark used from 1912 onward technically would fit the bill of possibly being over 100 years old, you have to check the pattern production date to nail down a production period.

  9. Andrew says:

    I have a minature lazer blue vase With mintons underneath with a swearly s at the end of mintons, This is the only mark I have, I have been told its a rare blue colour but we cant determine the date can anyone help.

    • Andrew says:

      The undreneath says Mintons then No 7 just underneath the word Mintons. And its in great condition. Could anyone tell me anymore info please.

  10. Emma says:

    Hi – I have a number of very old but fairly good condition (age related discolouration and craze and a few chips) plates I believe to be Minton delft or delfy ? They are unmarked and your article says these are rare, does this make them valuable? Thanks!

  11. Mike Wilcox Mike Wilcox says:

    Some pieces really require a physical examination to determine what you are dealing with. I’s suggest contacting a local auctioneer for a referral to an appraisers in your area.

  12. Holly Anderson says:

    Hi,

    I am currently undergoing a conservation degree in Australia and have a Minton plate as an assignment. The plate has the globe and crown mark so I know it’s from 1873-1891, however I cannot find the name of the pattern. The back of the plate has G 3277 on it and the plate itself has a green and gold border with a stylised W in the centre of the white space. I can send photos if you’d like – I just need some help identifying its manufacture details. I have seen the dictionary’s and books on Minton however none are available through my library and I can’t afford to purchase them for one assignment.
    Any help you could give would be wonderful. Thank you for your time.
    Regards,
    Holly

    • Mike Wilcox Mike Wilcox says:

      Hi Holly, there are hundreds of patterns and not all then are named, they are only identified by a number. The largest database of visual china patterns I am aware of is at replacments.com.

  13. Mike Wilcox Mike Wilcox says:

    Chance are that with “W” monogram on the front it could very well be a piece from a commissioned set made to order. In such cases without a provenance it would only appear in Minton’s records.

  14. Holly Anderson says:

    Thank you everyone for your comments and help, I really appreciate it. I didn’t manage to find the pattern listed anywhere and I think Mike’s right that it was a commissioned set, probably through a department store. I ended up getting good marks for the assignment though, so once again thanks for your help.

  15. MingS says:

    I have a large Minton bowl, white china with flower motifs, in the Bala pattern. It is somewhat shallow, fluted, footed, 245mm across, and has two handles.

    The mark on the base matches the Minton stamp given on other sites as c.1951.

    Interestingly, this bowl was a wedding present to my parents in April 1942. They were given several pieces of china as wedding gifts – fortuitously a ship made it to Wellington, New Zealand despite the war and so people were happy to be able to buy something special as gift.

    Apart from the Minton stamp the only other marks are a handpainted pattern number S570 and letter K. I cannot see any sort of Minton date mark.

    It is usual for the company mark to be on a piece at least nine years before it supposedly applied? There is no question of its date of acquisition being incorrect, so I would be interested to hear what other, wiser, people would have to say.

    • Mike Wilcox Mike Wilcox says:

      Hi Mings, I’m not sure of which mark you mean, the last mark in our article goes from 1912-1950. If the bowl has a marking dating from 1951 the family history must be a bit foggy dating it to 1942. Appraisers run into this all the time, over a couple of generations the stories that go with these pieces often expands and changes.

  16. Janus says:

    Hi Mike,

    I was hoping you might be able to help me identify this set of minton plates that i found in my grandmothers basement. Some of the items are date marked with month/year around 1936/1937.

    The Pattern might be C5090.I have put pictures at:

    http://imgur.com/a/dfLfY/

    Do you know what it’s name is and is the dating correct ? Any idea if it very common or rare ?

    Thank you for your help

    BR

    Janus

  17. Missy says:

    I just bought a Minton pitcher and basin and cannot tell the year? It is blue on white with gold trim. Underneath it says minton and has a blue stamp? That says England. Any idea?

  18. Holly Anderson says:

    Hi JL,

    Thanks for the comment. I finally managed to get a hold of the books, however they didn’t have the pattern I was after either. I think Mike was right when he suggested that it may have been a commissioned piece. Thanks for your help.

    Cheers,
    Holly

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