Ilmenau Slightly Different Porcelain Mark than I have seen before

by Richard

Ilmenau Slightly Different Porcelain Mark than I have seen before

Ilmenau Slightly Different Porcelain Mark than I have seen before

Ilmenau Slightly Different Porcelain Mark than I have seen before:- This is an Ilmenau plate, with a mark that I could find exactly duplicated in my references (which are, ahem, basically from using search engines).

The shortened staff of the "M" is somewhat atypical over the history of the line, but similar marks were used after 1934, and maybe as late as 1949. I have found marks with no Country of Origin, and marks that say "Germany" underneath, but none others that say "Made in Germany" as this one does.

I don't think this pattern is particularly gorgeous, and in fact, it is similar (but honestly, better than) some very pedestrian Ilmenau plates of later vintage.

What sets this plate apart are the handwritten numbers underneath. What does this mean "517/6 P7462P 15". I'm not even sure I got all of those numbers and letters right.

What does that handwriting mean? What clues does it give, and why is it so hard to find information about such handwritten things on the backs of plates?

I do like the, not uniqueness, but un-usualness of these handwritten parts of pottery marks. It gives one the sense of more personal craftsmanship.

I also wonder whether this was a plate that was supposed to be used, or just for decoration, since there seems to be quite a bit of gold on the front that does not show a lot of wear from use.

This is not my favorite plate all things considered, and you know it is not a great sign when the mark is more intriguing that the front design.


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Peter (admin) says:-

Dear Richard

Many thanks for a very very well written and thought provoking contribution.

You made several points. Let me
deal with the one I think you feel is the most important to you - that of the hand written pottery markings. I have been in and around porcelain factories most of my working life and these hand written marks are often to do with internal production considerations, and not so much for identification. They can be to do with the decorators/painters marks, and also technical details of production, so that the factory knows exactly how to reproduce the item if stockists want to reorder exactly the same items in the same color etc etc. With a big busy factory producing thousands upon thousands of variants over hundreds of different shapes and variations, imagine how enormous the production managers cataloguing would have to be unless he made notes on the base mark itself.

Now, about the mark itself. This is a standard mark using the device of the Henneberg coat of arms, as you say, used from 1934 (according to the authority German ceramics website it was registered on October 25th 1934). There were several variations of this pottery mark and if you look at the page in the link above, you will see that the there are versions which say 'made in Germany', but these have the full stroke of the 'M' not the truncated version like in many of the others versions. However, I am sure there were more variations than are shown online or an any reference book.

The later wares also use this same mark, but they tend to have the 'dishwasher safe' or GDR additions.

As for the attractiveness of the wares, I think this is a very splendid pattern from a very interesting maker in a unique period if time, so very worth collecting.

Hope this helps in your research.

Peter (admin)

For general free advice on how to research your collection, I wrote these pages:

My vintage and antique china values page

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Comments for Ilmenau Slightly Different Porcelain Mark than I have seen before

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Many thanks
by: Richard

Dear Peter --

Let me return your very nice compliment by saying that I truly appreciate your thorough and engaging response to my question. Your information was so complete, and compelling, that rather than being a beginning to my research, it is basically the ending.

The story you paint, of this post-WWI factory, with its probably typically German efficiency, writing these production codes on this plate, out of thousands of others, is very compelling, and frankly, the kind of thing that makes collecting ANYTHING interesting.

In defense of the my remarks on the pattern, it is certainly better than its more recent copycats, I am afraid the existence of the copycats does somewhat cheapen my appreciation of it. But thinking about it more, if I imagine this design is the original, which continues to be bastardized and changed throughout the years (as impossible as it is to know the "original" of anything), it is a more romantic way of looking at it.

Thank you for this excellent resource of a site, which makes the idea of collecting pottery, for its own sake, interesting and attractive. After all, it is this element that drives the idea of "value", which seems to be the chief concern of many these days. (Not that there is anything wrong with that either, because if nothing else, the idea that things may be "valuable" is what prompts succeeding generations to bring these items out in the sunlight for examination!).

Collecting Pottery & Porcelain
by: Peter (admin)

Dear Richard

Many thanks for your kind words, glad to be of help. I began this site with a keen interest in English ceramics, and feel privileged to have been associated with the greatest names in British manufacturing history before they took a turn for the worse and forsook their traditional English production for cheaper mass-production abroad (Royal Worcester, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, Coalport etc), but over the years, due to interesting submissions like yours, I have also become very interested in all ceramics, German, Bohemian, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, American.

This is a very rich and interesting world. I am creating a free online resource where collectors, sellers and also people who inadvertently inherit or somehow stumble across interesting porcelain or pottery can come to this site and discover exactly what they have.

This is a mission for me, and one I find very enjoyable. I sometimes wish I had more time to devote to it, but I am still sculpting everyday with factory deadlines always looming. I am often amazed at how site visitors can help solve long-standing mysteries where my knowledge and books fall short.

When you said "Thank you for this excellent resource of a site, which makes the idea of collecting pottery, for its own sake, interesting and attractive"....

I realised for the first time this website has an aspect I had not thought of before - that of saying to people:- "Pottery and porcelain might not be at the height of fashion right now, in this minimalist age of chucking out the chintz, but actually, it's OK, it's a really interesting world to explore and care about. It doesn't have to be all about the head-liners of Ming vases and antique Meissen, there is growing fascination in what was the everyday". Mid 20th century Ilmenau might not be antique just yet, and might not be Meissen, but it is fascinating none-the-less.

Peter (admin)

by: Anonymous

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