This is another example of the types of items that often may be found described as Victorian Flow Blue or Flo Blue and 'Antique,' even though they are not at all old. The mark on this plate, "W.W.R.& Co./ Staffordshire England 98" is similar to other marks seen on contemporary reproductions and fakes. Marks that are constructed in such a way as to more easily deceive and cause someone to make an incorrect assumption about an item's age. This particular mark has the potential to deceive even veteran buyers because visually it may seem oddly familiar to them. It resembles an early 19th century mark applied to legitimate items made by William Ridgway & Company of Hanley, England. But, look again. The mark on this modern piece includes several hints to its newness:
1. It includes the word 'Staffordshire' - an important pottery center in England since the 1700's. But Staffordshire is an area in England, not an individual city.
Generally, 'Staffordshire' does not make an appearance in maker's marks until about the second quarter of the 20th century.
2. At approximately 2 and 1/2 inches by 2 inches, the mark on this item is too big. Even when applied to large items, most authentic old marks are almost never going to measure over 1 inch (about the size of a quarter).
3. The mark includes the number 98. Clever forgers have discovered that when they add a number to a mark, or on an item in such a way as to encourage novice buyers to mistakenly believe it might refer to a year in the past when an item was made, their profits increase. Strangely, for some reason when a number like '98' is included, its presence does not seem to cause the guess, '1998,' instead, which would be a much more accurate estimation for the era of production for such items.
4. The pale and modern-looking blue used in the mark (and elsewhere in item decorations) bears no resemblance whatsoever to the dark cobalt of 'Flow Blue.' The cobalt blue color referred to as 'Flow' or 'Flo' blue by collectors today was originally used due to manufacturing constraints of the day.
5. This backstamp won't be found in any book covering the marks of historic makers.
Other hints as to actual age can be noted on the piece itself. Including:
1. The images showing the interiors of both base and top, suggest this to be a fairly newly made piece because it apparently has never seen actual table use. How rare would that be if it were really an item over one hundred years in age?
2. The foot rim of the lid was left unglazed. Not too smart a feature to find on an item supposedly made for storing cheeses at room temperature. Unglazed areas on ceramics are vulnerable to absorbing oils and liquids.
If the glaze that was applied elsewhere on the piece contains lead, as the glazes of imported fakes and reproduction items often do, this item never should see actual table use, either.
Dimensions of the under plate on this piece is 11 x 8 inches.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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