WorthPoint member Bill A found this blue and white plate in a box wrapped in newspapers from the 1940s. It came from his great aunt’s estate, and he has no idea what it’s worth. Worthologist Mike Wilcox says that be looking at the mark on the back of the plate, he can tell exactly when it was made, which makes determining its value very easy.
Bill A. found this decorative wall plate in a box of things he’d inherited from a relative quite a while ago and proceeded to forget he had even owned it. It rested in a box in his basement for several years before recently rediscovering it. Now that he’s attempting to downsize he’s looking to get rid of the “junk” in his life. Before tossing it out with the other junk, Bill wondered what kind of value does this plate, which was well-packed in 1940s newspapers, currently hold and where did it come from? He contacted us via WorthPoint’s Ask a Worthologist service to inquire about this piece. Here’s his question:
“I’ve always been a bit of a pack rat and over the years have managed to fill my basement with all manner of things I thought were interesting or I might have use for. Sadly, most of it hasn’t moved from where I put it 20 years ago. Some of the boxes were from my great aunt’s place I helped clean out several years ago after she died. Most of these boxes were labeled with the contents, but a few were not and I decided I’d start clearing those out first. My original plan was to have a yard sale if anything was of value, or donate it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Opening this one box, I found this large plate, about 14 inches across. I noticed all the newspaper used as packing dated form the 1940s, which meant to me that whatever was in there had to be at least as old as the newspapers. It looks quite old, but I’m not a collector of china and am not sure where to begin looking it up. I’ve included some images of the plate and the marking. Anything you could dig up for me would be interesting.”
Here’s my response:
Based on your images, your wall plate is what’s called “Delft,” named after the city in the Netherlands that it was its main center of production. Delft is a form of blue and white earthenware that was made to resemble Chinese porcelain, whose popularity was sweeping Europe during the 17th to 18th century. The earlier pieces actually used oriental design motifs rather than the more familiar Dutch scenes of windmills, dikes and sailboats on more modern Delft.
According to our extensive Marks & Library data base, which contains 40,000 marks and 150 reference books on antiques & collectibles, the marking on this piece is by the “Porceleyne Fles,” otherwise now known as “Royal Delft. The Porceleyne Fles, established circa 1653, is the only remaining original factory of the 32 or so earthenware factories that were established in Delft in the 17th century.
What’s great about pieces by Porceleyne Fles is that the company has used a date letter code since shortly after the company was taken over by Delft engineer Joost Thooft in 1876. That trademark and coding is still in use. The date codes used by Porceleyne Fles are probably the easiest to use of any one may run across in the antique business, as it is a straight letter code without the use of other symbols or numbers. The first series starts with single letters of the alphabet in 1879 with the letter “A” running until 1904 with the letter “Z.” The second series begins with double letters “AA” in 1905 and ends with “AZ” in 1930.
This mark and letter code fixes this plate as made by the Porceleyne Fles company, also known as Royal Delft, and that it was made in 1941. In the current market, wall plates and chargers of comparable vintage and design by Porceleyne Fles/Royal Delft now sell at auction for about $100.
The third series is also a double letter code, beginning with “BA” in 1931 to “BZ” in 1955. The date code is found to bottom right of the company mark.
When we use this code to determine the date of your piece with the date code “B.K.,” we find it was produced in 1941, so at the time it was packed, it was still fairly new. In the current market, wall plates and chargers of comparable vintage and design by Porceleyne Fles/Royal Delft now sell at auction for about $100.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
WorthPoint—Discover Your Hidden Wealth