The Identifying Pottery Marks Forum

Identifying pottery marks is something of a speciality of this website.  We do it for fun because we enjoy the mystery solving process - the thrill of the  chase!  Join the sleuthing with us.


Together, we have been quietly identifying pottery marks since 2006 - Here are some mysterious marks we have already solved thanks to contributions from countless site visitors:-

For example:

We got this mark which appeared to say 'YANG'.  Written in hand which looked like writing on a blackboard.

I had no clue.  After some time, people found this post and solved the mystery for us. 

The words said 'Mana' not Yang at all.  It is the mark of a group of Native American peoples in the USA making beautiful contemporary wares.

help with tricky to identify pottery marks

Mystery mark with archer's helmet, 6 crossed arrows and a cup

Then there was the mystery helmet with arrows and a drinking cup. I thought it might be English due to the the shape of the helmet and the reference to the long-bow.  Then I thought it might be modern and a made up mark from Japan or China.

I was wrong, Paul, a friendly site visitor, told us he knew it was a German company called Mitterteich.  When I checked my Rontgen book, he was right, I had missed it! (my excuse it was a difficult mark to classify - and I had been looking in the wrong sections).

Iron Mountain Stoneware backstamp

Then there were the strange USA squiggles.  The photos showed some really lovely art pottery work.  I thought the mark was like a Van Briggle.  Turns out it was more modern art pottery and was eventually identified by the potter's granddaughter as being 'Mountain Stoneware'.

The very hard to identify Muller Volkstedt mark

And what about the tiny blurry mark in the shape of a moth which on closer inspection looked like it said "MZ"? 

Well it wasn't  moth and it didn't say MZ, but rather "MV" for Muller Volkstedt!


Try to help if you can....

BUT!  . . .  Many people come to these chat pages wanting mainly to know about whether their stuff is actually worth anything.

We help identify, sleuth, sort, discover and share, but when it comes to value, we need to bring in help in the form of an appraisal. 

The programmes below offer solutions to this burning question of VALUE so we can keep the chat forums clean of the dirty money fights!

Post your contribution below.  To become a published contributor, you must abide by the China Chat forum rules - mainly being that you need to write a 600 word entry about your item and yourself.

The Pottery Marks China Chat Space

......Hey, Let's Talk!

Please try to add value to the site with your contribution. Read below to find out what is required...

These interactive spaces are all about chatting to others about ourselves and finding out where our interests and experiences meet.

Don't mistake this gathering of like minds as a free appraisal service - it ain't! Those kinds of posts get short shrift here, as really they are nothing but spam, just like the stuff that annoys everyone on Facebook & Twitter.

However, in the process of chatting, we sometimes can help each other identify markings and fascinating histories (but we stay away from values as that causes arguments). Instead, go here to the valuations service. Thanks.



An interesting exchange on why we don't discuss values on this site - we stick to identifying pottery marks!

A person who shall remain nameless asked for a professional valuation on a tableware service from a very obscure Japanese post-war maker.

She got very irate when the professional expert had a different view on her idea of the value which she had gleaned from the retailer site

We don't want irate people on these identifying pottery marks forums, we want to keep it most friendly, so we deal with values separately. Just click on the treasure chest photo in the right column for values.

Here is my reply which attempted to calm the waters and explain about what 'fair market value' exactly means.

    "2 pointers for you...

    First, is not a good place to research the value of an item as they are retailers who ‘make the market’ by being prepared to hold stock for many many years (decades in some cases).

    Due to their system of selling, rarity within is not a benchmark for the general market outside when it comes to obscure brands.

    The real value of something is what an item will fetch at auction in general trading when a seller has the intent to sell (and not the commitment to hold stock for many years).

    When you have the set up of, you can use their pricing system, but, sadly, not until then (do you have 20 years and $10million to spare?)!

    For this reason, sale at auction, either on eBay or in offline auction rooms is the only true indicator of fair market value. This is why all expert appraisers, either on TV or within teams like my own, have an auction-house background (not a background!).

    Second, in the case of this very obscure Japanese maker, virtually uncollected anywhere, there is considered by experts no difference in the market value from pattern to pattern. There is no such thing as a benchmark market value for any Adline pattern, as there is no significant market.

    The items are so few that even one person wanting to build up a set in one pattern can skew results considerably and make inexperienced people think there is a market that doesn’t exist. hold little stock of any Adline pattern and, as I said, make up their prices as they go along according to their own private rules – not general market rules, so there can be no general market inferences from these anomalies and therefore the prices shown on for Adline can effectively be ignored in terms of the fair market value (it would be different for, say, Old Country Roses where they are not ‘making the market’). As my expert said, there has been only one offline sale in the West of Adline in the past 7 years (we hold records of all sales for that period in main city and provincial sales in the USA, Europe and UK).

    So valuations have to be made with the experience of a professional eye who has seen many services of this type (but not necessarily this brand or pattern) go through auction rooms time after time. There is a reasoning behind the prices obtained for this type of ware – and pricing in no way shape or form reflects this with regard to an obscure brand like Adline.

    If you are interested, my premium service of $29.99 gives you the breakdown of what each item is valued at and also gives a deluxe printable certificate in pdf format.

    Remember, valuations are matter of opinion and judgement, they only become born out by an actual sale (and, as I constantly keep being reminded by my expert colleagues – ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!’).

    Sales are greatly helped by a quality valuation certificate. No one is going to be fooled by retail prices shown on"

Identifying pottery marks is what we do in this section.

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