This Wedgwood Jasperware lilac-colored kidney-shaped trinket or pill box, decorated with white applied classical medallions between foliate frames and roses border 2 inches high and 3 inches across. It is marked “Wedgwood” and “Made in England” with an “F.” It sold for $26.52 on eBay.
The next item in this series of Unloved Antiques is something that can be quite valuable if it’s of the right vintage, but very little if it isn’t—Wedgwood “Jasperware.”
Jasperware is a very distinctive type of stoneware with ivory/marble looking appliqués of Greek and Roman classical design on a blue, black, pink, brown, red or green background. It was originally developed by Josiah Wedgwood during the mid 1700s. The Wedgwood company was one of the most far-thinking companies of its time, quick to take advantage of new decorating trends, notably in this case making pieces similar to the ones found by early archeologists digging Greek and Roman ruins. Like any popular maker, its products were quickly copied by other makers in both Europe and England.
While the 18th- and 19th-century examples by Wedgwood are much sought after, with rare exceptions, the 20th-century examples are not. One could have a china cabinet full of mid 20th-century Jasperware that, if sold, would not buy a weekend holiday. Fortunately, Wedgwood has made it quite easy to determine a piece of modern jasperware from the pricey 18th- and early 19th-century originals, by the use of a variety of company markings and date codes. One can become an instant expert at dating Wedgwood by simply flipping it over and looking for the marking. A mark such as “England” on Jasperware immediately tells you the piece being examined post dates 1891. A “Made in England” mark bumps the date up to circa 1908 or later.
The date code system is where it really gets interesting with Wedgwood, as the company was the first to use a three-letter date code, beginning in 1860. In the first Wedgwood date coding system, the first letter represents the month of manufacture, the second letter identified the potter who threw the shape and, most importantly, the last letter indicating the year the piece was made (beginning with 0 for 1860 to N for 1885). This system was repeated four times. In the third series, beginning in 1907, the first letter for the month is replaced by a 3, and in the fourth series, commencing with A in 1924 with the figure 4. The biggest change—and the easiest to date—took place circa 1929/30, when the year letter mark is replaced with the last two digits of the year. If the piece was made in 1932, for example, the marking would show a “32.”
The set of four Wedgwood Jasperware pieces—a clover-shaped covered box, a bell, a small tray and a votive candle holder—all have the “Wedgwood” and “Made in England” marks. The lot brought $26 at auction.
A classic Wedgwood Jasperware cobalt-dipped-on-white milk pitcher, dated from the last part of the 19th century through the first part of the 20th century, is marked “Wedgwood,” “England” and “M, 2, 48.” Standing 3 ½-inches high, it sold for $39 at auction.
The piece above is a 1950s vintage Wedgwood Jasperware trinket box in green and white. Mid 20th-century pieces like these trinket boxes routinely sell at auction these days for less than $25.
Previous “Unloved Antiques” articles:
• Unloved Antiques: ‘Limited Edition’ Collectors Plates
• Unloved Antiques: Singer Sewing Machines
• Unloved Antiques: Decorator Prints
• Unloved Antiques: Commemorative Whiskey Decanters
• Unloved Antiques: ‘Bronze’ Flatware
• Unloved Antiques: 1847 Rogers Brothers Flatware
• Unloved Antiques: Hummel Knockoffs
• Unloved Antiques: National Geographic Magazines
• Unloved Antiques: Dragonware
• Unloved Antiques: 19th Century Religious Prints
• Unloved Antiques: Depression Glass
• Unloved Antiques: Stradivarius-Style Violins
• Unloved Antiques: 19th-Century Pump Organs
• Unloved Antiques: ‘Starving Artist’ Painting
• Unloved Antiques: The American Old Family Bible
• Unloved Antiques: That Stack of Old Books
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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