Lot 13 Wedgwood Princeton University Collector Plates

  • Sold for: Start Free Trial or Sign In to see what it's worth.
  • Item Category: Toys, Dolls, Games & Puzzles
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Oct 05, 2007
  • Channel: Auction House
Plate/Auction Description. Lot of 13 Princeton Collector Plates. Some Doubles. Plate Condition. All plates are in nice condiiton some are in mint condiiton. T are a few 3 or 4 that have blue ink spots on the back I guess from printing and stacking before the ink dried. Other then that t are no chips or damage at all. List and quantity of plates for sale in this auction. 2 Blair Tower 2 Clio and Whig Halls 1 Cuyler Hall 2 Graduate College 1 Holder Court and Tower 1 McCosh Walk (McCosh Hall in background) 1 Stanhope Hall 2 Tiger Gateway and Little Tower 2 1 Witherspoon Hall ___________________________________ 13 Total Plates. History of Princeton Plates

Princeton's first commemorative plate set, the 1930 Wedgwood plates, are comprised of twelve panoramic photographs of campus, transposed on porcelain in Wedgwood's trademark blue etching. Included in the collection are panoramas of McCosh Walk, Nassau Hall, Stanhope, and Holder Court. Following the precedent of Harvard University's own commemorative plate venture, Nassau Hall contracted the Wedgwood Company to produce and design the plates, while retaining exclusive rights of sale and distribution. Sales were by subscription only and first advertised in the Princeton Alumni Weekly in the spring of 1930. The complete set of 12 plates cost $15.00.

Alumni demand proved to be overwhelming, quickly outstripping the initial supply of 600 sets. By July of 1930 over 2000 sets had been ordered, forcing Wedgwood to go into several reprintings, and giving then University Secretary V. Lansing Collins the unenviable task of mollifying irate alumni who had not received their sets by the initially promised date, Christmas, 1930. All told, close to 2500 sets were sold.

The commemorative plate enterprise proved successful for the University. According to an account of January 1933, the University gatd a 20% profit, with total net revenue of $8000.29. Unfortunately, it was not only the University that profited. Overwhelming demand appears to have created a sort of "black market" for the plates. Curtis W. McGraw '19, for instance, of McGraw-Hill reported that a friend paid $75-100 a few years after they came out.

Continued demand for commemorative plates also helped fuel a proposed non-university series of plates in 1949, sponsored by the Bureau of Student Aid and Employment. To be manufactured by the Nassau China Company of Trenton, New Jersey and with center-piece etchings by G.A. Bradshaw, the plates were described as having a black over-glaze and floral border. The initial cost ranged from $3.00 to $5.00 per plate depending on the type of porcelain used. Included in the etchings were drawings of Nassau Hall, Firestone Library, and the 1869 Princeton-Rutgers football game. Records of their sales are not available, and we cannot confirm that these plates were ever created.

Prompted by this new series of plates, continued pressure from the University Store for "official" commemorative plates, and perceived shortcomings in the original Wedgwood design, the University commissioned an entirely new design in the early 1950s. Designed by Princeton Professor Feay Shellman, Jr., the new set (also produced by Wedgwood) consisted of eight campus scenes in brown etching. Set either on Queensware China or translucent bone china the complete set could be ordered through the U-Store for $25 and $75 respectively. Among the eight drawings are pictures of Nassau Hall, the Graduate College, and the Chapel.

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has sets of the two Wedgwood runs, but not of the G.A. Bradshaw china.

For the list of Princeton Wedgewood Plates, 1930 edition. Scroll below, I have most of these plates and some doubles. I am missing 3 to make them a complete set. So i decided to list 1 single plate per auction. All my auctions start at $8.00 and never have a reserve. Make sure to check my other auctions* to see the other plates listed for sale as well as some other interesting Princeton University .
Note clic...