This is one sweet little demitasse cup and saucer set. Both pieces are adorned with the "Follow the Flag" logo of the Wabash Railroad. A miniature of the larger standard coffee size, this is an after-dinner set that would have been used for serving espresso or chocolate. This china pattern name is "Banner," magnificent in white base ware with gray trim and rich, deep red.
CONDITION is lovely - very near mint with NO cracks, chips, flakes or repairs. You may be able to find a surface mark or two but you must look very hard. The saucer well shows only the very slightest signs of use, if any. The colors are strong and bright, and the cup is exceptionally clean inside.
The saucer is bottom marked correctly by its maker, Syracuse China. The date code 1-LL translates to January, 1957. There were never any railway markings on the underside of Banner pieces. The little cup bottom has no marks, which is perfectly acceptable in demi cups, because the area is so small.
Collectors will note that "Banner" china was a custom design made exclusively for the railway by Syracuse China, which added the Wabash Flag top logo to the popular gray/red/white restaurant ware pattern it called "Highland." As a stock pattern, Highland was sold to any and all commercial customers. Indeed, the Wabash ordered some stock pieces toward the end of dining service, but it is impossible to pinpoint just which pieces and when.
BACKGROUND: Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the Wabash Railroad was a Class I railroad that operated in the mid-central United States. It served a large area, with a presence in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri and the province of Ontario, Canada. After a tangled history of mergers, takeovers and bankruptcies, the Wabash name disappeared under the control of other lines in the 1960s. However, the company continued to exist on paper until being merged into the Norfolk Southern Railway in 1991.
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