This terrific tea pot is a wonderful example of the California Poppy pattern. It was made for either** the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad or railroad restaurateur Fred Harvey who operated dining establishments and hotels along the route of the Santa Fe.
CONDITION is as close to mint as not-new china can be. There are NO cracks, chips, flakes, crazing, hairlines or repairs. The pot is exceptionally clean inside and out -- it looks like it has never been used. Even the spout is absolutely perfect.
Bright and attractive in tints of warm sunny yellow and mossy green, this pot includes all three floral transfers from this pattern: the full bouquet of wide open blooms; a smaller spray of a partially opened flower and bud; and on the lid, two buds.
The teapot comfortably holds 18 ounces (three, formal 6-ounce cups). Note the front of the lid and pot rim both are squared off, to secure the lid on the pot when it is tilted to pour.
SIZE: 3 inches tall at the tip of its spout. Across the top from the tip of the spout to the edge of the handle it is approximately 7-1/4 inches.
DATE: Date coded for production March 1970 (99-C), correctly bottom marked by Syracuse China.
** Please note that this piece is documented authentic, although it has no railroad markings. This is correct because "Poppy" was an "exclusive" pattern -- Syracuse China contracted with the AT&SF Railroad and Fred Harvey to produce and sell them the Poppy china, but the contract was ONLY for the heavy restaurantware. While some Santa Fe pieces were marked, most were not, nor was Harvey china marked. Accordingly, California Poppy china without a railroad (or Harvey) mark is absolutely authentic as long as it is the heavy, commercial ware.
COLLECTOR NOTE: The Santa Fe Railroad and Fred Harvey purchased exclusive rights to the California Poppy pattern, produced by Syracuse China. However, this ownership apparently applied only to heavy restaurant/hotel commercial weight ware. Unfortunately, Syracuse China made and sold lighter household weight china decorated with identical “Poppy”artwork. This "thinware" is often mistaken for railroad china, BUT it was never sold to the railroad or used on trains. Instead, it was distributed through standard retail outlets. Don't be fooled!
Beware especially of pieces with “S.S.” (“Store Selection") in the bottom marking. This mark was applied to high-quality seconds that would be sold at Syracuse factory outlets. However, although this ware has no collectible value to railroad china collectors, many enjoy using it on the table, while their authentic Santa Fe pieces sit safely on display cabinet shelves.
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