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Family curious about 50 year-old vase with Nippon mark |

Family curious about 50 year-old vase with Nippon mark

Q: I have enclosed a photo of a porcelain vase that has been in my family for over 50 years. The colors in the photo do not do it justice. It is decorated with a raised surface, much like cloisonne but without any wiring. Marked in green letters on the bottom are the words “Hand Painted — Nippon” and an image of a maple leaf.

I am more interested in its background than its value. Any information you can provide on our beloved piece will be appreciated.


A: The McKinley Tariff of 1891 required that objects exported to the United States include the country of origin. “Nippon” is the Japanese word for Japan. It was used in trademarks until around 1921. Japanese porcelain exported to the United States was often designed to appeal to Western tastes. Your hand-painted urn was decorated with moriage (raised decoration) and polychrome enamels. The maple leaf mark can be found in three colors: green, magenta or blue.

Your urn was made around 1900. Its value might be in the range of $200 to $300.

Q: I have enclosed the mark that is on the bottom of a round ironstone soup tureen with a matching under plate. It is decorated with a blue, red-orange, green and gold Asian pattern. The tureen is 10 inches in diameter, and both pieces are in perfect condition. They have been passed down in our family for generations and kept in a china cabinet for years.

We have been planning to add it to our insurance and hope you can tell us its value and history.

A: This mark was used by Charles J. Mason Co. Charles James Mason descended from a long line of potters in Staffordshire, England. In 1813, he purchased the Fenton Stone Works at Land Delphi, Staffordshire. Not long after establishing his pottery, he patented his famous ironstone. It was a welcome alternative to expensive porcelain. Ironstone can be mass-produced, and it is extremely durable and affordable. Your Asian pattern was inspired by Imari designs that originated in Japan. Mason’s pottery produced tea and coffee sets, dinnerware, cheese tubs and chamber sets. It was in business from 1800 to 1854. The mark you provided was used from 1829 to 1845. Your tureen and matching under plate should be insured for $450 to $650.

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Category: Dinnerware  Tags: ,  Comments off
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