This sweet little bone china cup and saucer set is from the Canadian National Railway. It is a demitasse size, that would have been used for after-dinner espresso or another coffee drink, or perhaps chocolate. It dates from the 1920s, the era when rail passengers were treated to nothing but luxury on board.
Made by high-end Royal Doulton, the pattern name is Queen Elizabeth. The pretty design incorporates a maple leaf framed within a pastel blue background with gray outlines and gold trim. At the center is a shield declaring Canadian National System. This mark appears as a side logo on the cup, while the saucer has no marking (which is correct). Both pieces are trimmed in brilliant gold. According to our collector guides, "Queen Elizabeth" was used by the CN between 1923 and 1927, and despite the word "system" suggesting hotel use, indeed has been confirmed as having actual railroad use.
The ware is Royal Doulton's bone china, with each piece correctly stamped with their green mark that authenticates 1920s production.
SIZE is a "miniature coffee" with the cup approximately 2 inches tall and the saucer 4.5 inches across.
CONDITION is exquisite, showing little or no use. We could find only a few of the slightest surface marks on the top of the saucer. The decoration is colorful and sharply detailed. There are no cracks, no chips, no flakes and no repairs. The high quality gold trim is in excellent condition with only a few light rubs. It is a wonderful representative of this pattern and a fine addition to any collection of railroad dining car items.
BACKGROUND: From a plebian beginning in 1918, the Canadian National Railway Company (French: Compagnie des chemins de fer nationaux du Canada) prospered and grew until today it is Canada's largest railway in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network. A Canadian Class I freight railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, it serves Canada and the Midwestern and Southern United States. The CN is Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning the nation from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia. With "North America's Railroad" as a slogan, it became privatized in 1995, having previously been government-owned and a Canadian Crown corporation. Today, the CN is a public company with a market capitalization of double-digit billions CAD in and thousands of employees. In 2011, Microsoft's Bill Gates was the largest single shareholder of CN stock.
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