Category Archives: Setting Up Shop

Is this Babar the Elephant King coffee mug vintage? Determining if your object is “vintage” for your Etsy shop

In order to sell vintage items on Etsy, the item must be over 20 years old (as of 2016,  before 1997).

Babar MugIf the item you are listing is something you have owned for over 20 years, then it is easy….or perhaps the object is a pottery or ceramic that is signed by the artist and has a date on it, like this panda mug by artist Win Ng  made in 1984 (for Taylor & Ng).

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Or maybe the object is a company with a long history, and  there is a record of when a particular factory stamp was used.

The company Arabia Finland is great at this, and it was easy to learn when this vintage casserole baker was made, based on the factory back stamp (it was made between 1964 to 1971).

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P1310163 This Arabia Finland Casserole Baker is listed on my Etsy Shop (click on photo if you want to see the listing).

You can also click here or the image below  to link to the Arabia Finland official website (with images of their factory stamps starting in 1874!).

Back Stamp Info

But what about an item that has no date, like this Babar the Elephant King cup?

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No date, but it did have the name “Nelvana Ross” on the bottom.

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My initial search led me to this page from the Worthpoint website indicating one like it sold in 2013…

Babar Cup on Worth Point

And while it is nice to know that the cup is rare, I still did not know when it was made.

So the next step was to research “Nelvana Ross’, which led to finding  out about a lawsuit in 1990.

It turns out there was a dispute over product licensing, so perhaps the products did not go out in mass quantity, resulting in making these cups rare.

So, the answer is YES, this item is vintage, and I listed it on the my Etsy vintage shop (where it sold very quickly).

Babar cup listing

And while I do not know the exact date  when the mug was made, the newspaper articles about the lawsuit at least gave me an idea of the manufacturing date  (somewhere around  early 1990 or before) to confirm that yes indeed, it was vintage.


The first Babar book was by Jean de Brunhoff and was an immediate success after its release in 1931. After the death of Jean de Brunhoff in 1937, his son, Laurent de Brunhoff (who was also an illustrator and writer) continued on with the character and the series of Babar books.

Since then, I’ve listed another Babar cup and plate set on the shop, by La Lourioux France Berry Haute Porcelaine.

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You can click on the Babar image above or below to view the listing on my Etsy shop.

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I’ll add articles as I learn more about how to date pottery and other objects.

If you have tips or links to websites with good information, please comment and share 🙂 .


You can return to the home page here, to see the most recent blog post.

Grouping products with similar colors for Etsy shop pages

It was a busy holiday season for the Market Tales Vintage Shop on Etsy!

stats visits from open date to end 2015The stats definitely ticked up from opening date in June 29, 2015 to the holiday season, as you can see from the above graphic, with many more visitors to the shop in December.

I will post an article about my experience since opening my Etsy vintage shop soon…

In the meantime, I am having fun grouping the objects in the shop in a an attempt at making pages have a more united color scheme, when possible.

Despite the variety of items in the shop (now over 300) it’s amazing how the look and feel of each page is improved if you happen to have  similar colors represented when posting items.

For example, finding this vintage and collectible Vera Neumann  scarf with bold colors in orange, browns and yellows in a “Mod” style…

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You can click on the photo to see the listing on Etsy

and finding this vintage Mikasa plate from the 1970’s (in the “Indian Feast – Half Moon” pattern) with the same color themes.

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You can click on the photo to see the listing on Etsy

What a nice coincidence, and the objects matched my shop logo colors — well, at least for a week or so, until the items moved on to page 2!

It doesn’t have to be similar objects, only similar colors.

Here is how the shop looked with the Vera scarf and Mikasa plate, along with the numerous brown color items in the shop:

Color Themes Post

Sure it’s an on-line shop, but just as we humans enjoy browsing at brick and mortar stores with pleasing color themes when we walk into the shop, we can do something similar within our Etsy store’s shop pages.

With vintage shops, it is more of a challenge, especially with many random objects to sell…but perhaps photographing and listing products with similar color themes can be part of the thought process before listing the object.

Here is a page with green colors that I found pleasing…

Green Color Themes on PageYou can also consider saving an item that is up for a listing renewal when you have newer objects to post in the same color theme.

This does not mean that I don’t post an item that I’m excited about listing, since I can always group it with similar colors later with the “rearrange your shop” option within Etsy.

For example, using the “rearrange your shop” option,  I moved objects with red colors to the front, main shop page a few days ago to give the shop a little Valentines vibe.

Getting ready for Valentines Colors

After 6 months of having the shop — I am getting better at grouping  and minding the colors 🙂 …

Do you do something similar?  Comment with your shop name and link so we can see!

Or if you don’t think it is worth doing this, let me know, too…


And if you want to see my ever-changing Etsy Vintage Shop pages , click here.

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Related:

To learn more about what the COLORS  convey in E-Commerce stores, check out this interesting article from the design magazine SpeckyBoy.com.

Corelle brand bowls now sold at Target

The Corelle line of tempered glass dishware and glassware was introduced by Corning in 1970.  The Corelle brand (along with Corning Ware and Pyrex) is now owned by World Kitchen.

The earlier versions of the Corelle product line can be be purchased at many Etsy vintage stores.

As of today, there are 3,423 Corelle related items for sale on Etsy.

Corelle Listings

I spotted these Corelle bowl sets at the main aisles of our local Target store recently…

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Seeing Corelle at Target made me curious if World Kitchen will also reintroduce the popular (past) designs in the Corelle line — as they did for the popular Corning Ware Blue Cornflower line.

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The Spring Blossom design — also fondly known as Crazy Daisy — was among Corelle’s most popular product line.

The bowls sold at the Target store were plain white, and the World Kitchen website — as of today — offered what looked to be completely new, modern patterns.  However, a search tag of “Corelle” on the Target.com website listed 96 items — in white and in a number of new patterns.

The newer Corelle patterns are pretty.

It seems with the ease in getting new Corelle pieces, whether at Target or other retailers, or through the Target and World Kitchen websites, it is inevitable that pricing (and desirability) of Corelle vintage objects will be affected.

New designs are great for new generation Corelle fans, but perhaps not so good for sellers of vintage Corelle items.

Just something to be mindful of if you like and sell Corelle in your Vintage Shop, in case you find your Corelle inventory sitting in the shop  longer than you anticipated.

If you use Corelle products, do you own new  or vintage patterns?

And if you have an Etsy store, have you seen a change related to selling your vintage Corelle pieces?


Back to Market Tales Home Page, here.

Note:  If you want to know the  difference between Corelle, Corning and Pyrex,  read this article posted when I opened up my Etsy Vintage Shop.   

Crafting detailed listing titles, tags and descriptions to help your Etsy vintage item stand out from the crowd

It’s been four months since I opened my Etsy vintage shop, and I’m getting better at crafting titles, creating more specific listing “tags”, and writing descriptions for my items.

This post is about my efforts to make my Etsy vintage items stand out from the mass of products available from web-based stores.

Based on my experience, this article covers:

  • Why it’s important to use all 13 tags within the Etsy listing system
  • How a little research can help a seemingly generic item stand out from the others
  • How including  the size of an item in my listing title may have led to selling it
  • And an example of finding a niche in a product category with 74 pages of listings!

Listing Tags and Titles

Using tags — words or short phrases — to describe your item listing on Etsy helps potential buyers find your item by matching your tags with a shopper’s search term.

Etsy allows you to use 13 tags for each listing.  Each tag can contain up to 20 characters.

At first, 13 seemed like a lot of tags — do I really need to use all of the tags?

I’m finding that the answer is YES, I do!

The tags help potential buyers find a listing in my store among the hundreds — or sometimes thousands — of similar products for sale on Etsy, EBay and the myriad of on-line shops.

Example 1: The Asian Fan with Red-Crowned Cranes

If you are looking for a traditional folding Asian Fan, and type in “Asian Fan” in Ebay’s search box, you will get thousands of results.

In fact, as of today, November 6, 2015, there are 12,406 “Asian Fans” listed on EBay.  Yikes!

Asian Fan in EBay November 2015

It was less overwhelming on Etsy, with just hundreds of fans in the different categories.

Still, there were a total of 2,069 items listed for “Asian Fans”.

Etsy Asian Fan Listings

So when I listed this fancy, gold-painted, traditional, folding “Asian Fan” on my store, I thought it would take a very LONG time to sell…

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The folding fan was an interesting vintage object, but what I really liked about it was the theme, and the painting of the two birds on the gold background.

I took a guess that these birds were a type of crane, since I knew a little about the importance of cranes in Asian cultures.

More specifically, they had a red crown… so I researched “Red-Crowned Cranes”, and learned more about these birds.

I decided to focus the listing on the birds, and used the words “Red-Crowned Cranes” in the title.  and included the string of words as one of my 13 tags for the listing.

Red Crown Crane Fan Listing

I also included a bit of what I learned, for the item’s description section.  Excerpt below…

Red Crown Crane item description

On Tuesday, the words “red crown crane” were among the search terms someone used to find their way to my vintage shop.

Here’s a screen shot of Page 3 of  the top keywords that day…

Red Crown Crane keywordsAnd yesterday…. despite this listing being less than a week old, the fan sold!

It was surprising to me because this item had zero views and zero favorites, prior to the sale.

Also, there was no search term that day for “Asian Fan” (or even Chinese or Japan fans, the other tags I also used for the listing.)

Perhaps someone was looking for something with a red-crown crane as a gift.  And though they may not have thought about an “Asian Fan”, the item became a gift option.

For this listing, I think the focus on the Red-Crowned Crane helped sell the fan.

Example 2: The Long Wood Box

If you type “Wood Box” within Etsy’s search box, here is what you will get (as of November 4, 2015):

Listings for Wood Box on Etsy Nov 2015

A whole lot of boxes —- 69,363 to be exact.

How on earth can you make your particular box stand out, like this wood box I listed among 69,363 wood boxes?

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Well, it’s a wood box with a specific shape (LONG)  and size (over 11 inches long ), information which I included in the listing and the tags.

Long Wood Box Item Listing

And also on Tuesday,  guess what words — actually, NUMBERS — showed up on my top keyword terms?

2by11 box Top KeywordsThe box size, or at least close to it — 2×11.

This box also sold that same day!

So, despite the 69,363 wood boxes on the Etsy website, this buyer found this specific box, because of the size, and this size number included on the listing title, item details and item tags.

Finding a Niche:  The Wood Magazine Holder Example

Here is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “niche”:

Niche Definition

My last example for this post is a wood magazine holder, listed on my shop pages in August.

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In August, when I typed “magazine rack” in Etsy’s search box  I got 3,097 results.

Being a fairly new seller, I didn’t even want to imagine where — or at what page (out of 74 pages!) my listing would surface.

Magazine Rack

Using a generic tag to include your item in a broad, general category is a start.  But even better is to use more specific language.

My item was a wood magazine rack.

If one types in “wood magazine rack, the results are less daunting.

Wood Magazine Rack

Now there are just 927 items, and only 23 pages of wood magazine racks.

Looking at my wood magazine rack, the wheel part reminded me of a Western wagon wheel, or a Western style decor.  I added the following words for the tags on this listing:

  • Western Decor
  • Western Style Rack
  • Wagon Wheel

And so now, if someone was looking for a “Western Magazine Rack” there is only 1 page of items, and only 13 results (as of August, 2015).  And Voila — there is my item!

Western style Magazine Holder

The wheel also reminded me of an old-fashioned ship or nautical type wheel, so I added the following terms to my listing tags:

  1. Wheel Decor
  2. Nautical themes

If someone was looking for a magazine rack with a specific wheel or nautical theme, they will have 1 page and 23 items to look through (again, as of August, 2015).

Nautical Magazine Rack

And now my listing is up on the top, in the first (and only) page, just as it was on the “Western Magazine Rack” search.

I barely have the patience to look through 5 pages of magazine racks….let alone, 74!  Being on the first few pages is definitely better.

So while this magazine holder has not yet sold, I feel pretty confident that it will find its way to a new owner, eventually 🙂 .


I’m still learning more about titles and tags…

What I do know is that using more detailed descriptions, and specific words or a string of words for your title and tags is a must, in addition to the generic terms for your listing (like magazine rack, or Asian fan).

When posting a new item, remember:

  • There are 13 tags to use — use ALL OF THEM.
  • Be creative, and think about what a potential customer may call the item or what they can do with it.  Can it be re-purposed into something else?
  • Be sure to use the listing title’s 140 characters to your advantage, and be as detailed as possible with your title.
  •   Include the size of your item — remember that the term “11×2” may be all it took for my long box to find its new owner.
  • Incorporate the words used in your title within your item details and description.  So far, I have not reached a character limit on my item detail description  — there is a lot of room for item details!
  • Have fun, do a bit of research on your objects and when possible, provide what you have learned to help the listing stand out from the masses.

I rarely put up a listing without using ALL of the characters allowed on the listing title. My “short” title means I use 138 characters and not 140.

Are you doing the same thing in terms of refining your tag words and using all the characters available for your listing title?

I hope this post was helpful.

— Jane

By the way, yesterday, the customer who bought the long box left a positive feedback — another 5 star review for the store!

Long Wood Box Review

The buyer of the Asian fan also left a 5-Star Review 🙂

Screenshot 2016-07-14 13.39.48


 

Related

Market Tales Article – My first listings — and describing my Franciscan Pottery and Heath Ceramics items

Etsy image link How to Get FoundEtsy Article – How to Get Found in Search Getting found in search may seem daunting, but all it takes is a little know-how

Etsy Blog – Seller How To: Tag-o-rama With Descriptive Keywords


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Better photos, quicker sale for the beautiful, handmade pine needle basket?

If you have visited my Etsy Vintage Shop, you may know that I love collecting and selling vintage baskets.

I have several pine needle baskets in my collection — gifts from my younger sister.  She purchased the baskets when she lived and worked in Central America in the early 2000s.

I treasure my pine baskets, and love the texture and the deep, rust colors of the pine needles.

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My large, beehive-shaped pine needle basket – a gift from my sister.

I remember my delight when I received this big, beehive-shaped basket from my sister, and our conversation about  the work it took to make these, with the weaver first having to collect a whole lot of pine needles to make one basket.

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The coiled bottom of my beehive shaped basket, with the weaver’s label.
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We use our baskets around the house, and unfortunately, some of the thread around the pine needles for the handles (so expertly connected to the basket body) has started to unravel. I include in this post to show the pine needles within the thread coil.

So…since I was familiar with pine baskets, I was happy to find this beautiful, round, pine needle basket at a thrift shop last month.

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I looked forward to listing it in the store, and admired the thick braid of pine needles incorporated into the design, and the wavy shape of the rim, giving the basket many “handles” all around the edges.

Almost 3 weeks after I listed the basket, I looked at the listing page again and realized the photos were lackluster, compared to the actual object.

P1310211I take most of my photos outside using natural lighting…so I wasn’t sure if my timing was off that day, or it was just a gray, cloudy day.

Perhaps my little camera was in a bad mood…

The photos were just blah, kind of dull, and did not reflect the beauty of this item, and its rich, natural colors.

I decided to retake the photos, and updated the listing.

This time, the photos had better colors, more true to the basket.

P1320734I replaced the photos with a brighter set, and a couple of days later, the basket sold.

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Was it a coincidence?

I don’t know for sure, but I do think  that the new photos better showcased the basket’s natural beauty and craftsmanship, and perhaps the improved pictures helped the buyer make the decision to acquire the basket for their own collection.

Lessons learned:

  • It’s a good idea to review your listings periodically to see if improvements can be made…not just for the photo, but the description as well.
  • If you think the photos do not truly reflect the beauty of your item — or show off its best features — then do not hesitate to retake it, and replace your listing photos.

It just may be the improvement needed to help sell the object, and for it to find its way to a new owner/collector.  🙂

P1320728Have you had a similar experience with photographs for your listing?


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Somayaki ( Ōbori Sōma-yaki) or Soma Ware: Pottery from Japan

Japan is known as one of the places that can date its pottery tradition to the Neolithic era (the last part of the Stone Age and before the Copper / Bronze Age).

In fact, the oldest known evidence of pottery making in the world can be found in Japan, as well as Korea and southern China.

I am continuing to add pottery objects to my Etsy store, and enjoying the research aspect of this process, especially delving into and learning about the different and distinct styles of my pottery finds.

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You can click on the photo to see the listing on my Etsy store

 

I recently listed Somayaki or “Soma Ware” double-wall pottery and found the story about these objects so interesting, especially that it was made in the Fukushima area of  Japan.

Below is what I learned and the information posted for my Soma Ware listings.


Soma-yaki  is a style of pottery that started over 300 years ago in Fukushima, Northern Japan, on the island of Honshu.

Among the characteristics that makes Somayaki pottery unique is its double wall, or multiple layer construction.

This clever design helps to insulate the pottery’s contents and keeps hot liquids hot, while the outer layer remains cool to touch.

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It is actually two pieces of pottery that are joined together — and you can see the inner layer through the heart cutouts on the photographs for this listing.

Another unique feature of this style of pottery are the galloping horse motif  — painted on one side of this teapot I listed…

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You can click on this photo to see the listing on my Etsy store

As well as inside, and at the bottom of the bowl I listed…

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According to the website ArtisticNippon.com (Yoshikawa Toki Co.) located in Choshi, Japan and specializing in Japanese pottery and porcelain,  the galloping horse motiff is known as “Hashirigoma”.

From the ArtisticNippon.com website…

The origin of the motif is the subject of much speculation, but there can be no doubt that it is related to Soma’s long history of horse handling ( the “ma” in Soma actually means “horse”).

….The galloping horse motif is painted on Somayaki following the tradition of the Kano School of Painting, one of the most prominent and respected schools of art in Japan.”

P1310772Along with the double-wall construction and the horse motif, Somayaki pottery is also distinct in its use of green colors and crackle glaze.

Again, from ArtisticNippon.com:

“Aohibi” is the name given to the distinctive blue crackled glaze seen on most Somayaki ware.

A combination of these three distinctive features combine to create warm, rustic pieces imbued with a sense of history and peculiar to the area in which they are produced.

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Tea pot lid with distinctive heart shaped cutouts (rim painted gold) aand scroll patterns

I also read that the scrolls seen on the pottery and the heart-shaped cut outs are to emulate wading birds, with the heart shape symbolizing the bird’s feet.


You may remember the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and subsequent disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power facility.

Sadly, the village where Soma-yaki pottery is made had to be evacuated due to its proximity to the nuclear power plant.

I did not find any other information aside from what was on the Artistic Nippon website, and they noted that the kilns were damaged during the earthquake.

It seems that unless the families and craftspeople who created this unique pottery are able to re-establish elsewhere, these objects may not be made in the quantity before the Fukushima disaster.  A website that previously sold Soma Ware teapots in the U.S. lists the items as “out of stock”, and no information when they will be available.

Some of the Soma Ware pottery we see here in the U.S were brought back by Americans who served at military bases in Japan and Okinawa while in the Armed Forces.

It also appears that the San Francisco-based import company Otagiri imported these types of pottery from Japan to the U.S., as I’ve seen listings of this style pottery with Otagiri origins.

By the way, if you happen upon this post and have information on the pottery photographed for this post, I would appreciate it (please comment or send me an email at MyMarketTales@Gmailcom).

In particular, about the stamp on these pieces (the photo below is from the bottom, and the inner layer of the bowl I listed) and if the type of blue “Made in Japan” sticker gives a clue as to the date that the items were crafted.

P1310852aWas this post helpful to you?  I’d love to know 🙂 …


Related Links:

Quote from Asia Art on Modern Japan Ceramics


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English “Transferware” Cups (and more)

My taste in cups — and most objects — tend to be simple designs using natural materials.  I am not into glitzy things, bling on my clothes or overly ornate objects.

My favorite cup at the moment is this blue-green little stoneware beauty, which came from a thrift store (I do not know the manufacturer, only that it is from Japan).

Current Favorite Cup marked from JapanNow that I have an Etsy store, it is easier to expand my appreciation for more ornate objects, since I am curating these for the store.

And although I am taking the item home, I know that my relationship with the object is short-lived… that is of course, if I am successful in selling the item.

I can love the object and know that eventually, it will go to someone who will love it even more than I do.  And if it is going to a home of an avid collector, then even better as it will have many companions!

Take this cup for instance…

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While this cup may not be something I would want to use everyday, looking at the intricate details of the image certainly gave me an appreciation for the artwork.

The image on this cup is applied via a process called  “transferware”.   Transferware also refers to a particular style of pottery and dinnerware ceramics.

The cup is made in England —- the place were transferware originated.

Cup Transferware Image Details

The beautiful image is first engraved by an artist on a copper plate.

Wet ink is then applied on the copper plate and pressed onto very thin, tissue paper.  The tissue paper is then transferred  to the blank cup (or plates and the myriad of tableware items) and then dried in a kiln to permanently set the image.

The story behind how transferware was started is nicely done on Nancy Roberts’ blog Nancy’s Daily Dish.   Here is an excerpt from Nancy’s article:

Although John Brooks, an Irish engraver is credited with having the first patent for the transferware printing technique in 1751, it was John Sadler and Guy Green of Liverpool, who independently discovered  the process, who are credited with perfecting the technique in 1756.

…Like his father, John was a kind man who showed compassion to the less fortunate. He would give extra prints he had to the children living nearby who would in turn go the local potteries and ask for the ‘wasters’ which were broken or un-saleable pots and pottery.

The children would affix the prints to the pottery and use them as decoration in doll houses and play.

When John saw the decoration he wondered, “What if pottery could receive an impression from a wet print, and then be fixed by firing afterwards”.

This thought sparked what would later come to be known as one of the greatest stories of mass production ever.

John, who had apparently developed a close relationship with Guy Green, probably like that of brothers, upon envisioning the idea of a piece of pottery with a print upon it, immediately and confidentially called on Guy Green to explore the possibilities of his new idea… (click here to read the complete article)

Here is my Etsy Store listing for this cup:

Etsy Listing Transferware
You can click on the image to see the listing at the Etsy website.

 

And actually… I had another transferware item — a plate — that I listed over a month ago (before I learned more about transferware).

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You can click on the image if you want to see the listing on my Etsy Shop

The castle image is what attracted me to this particular piece.

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You can click on the image if you want to see the listing on my Etsy Shop

The plate is by Johnson Brothers of England, in the Old Britain Castle Series .

This particular plate is the Blarney Castle 1792, with stamps on back and “Stoke-on-Trent England”.

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The city of Stoke-on-Trent is located in the county of Staffordshire, England — and Staffordshire is known as the area where the transferware technique was developed.

Interestingly, the famed English potter Josiah Wedgwood — founder of Wedgwood — was born in this area.

Because the Staffordshire area has an abundance of fine clay, a pottery industry has existed in this region since the 12th century.  Wow!

Though with so much manufacturing going to the Asia region these days, I do wonder if the pottery  industry will continue in this area, in this century.  Will we see less and less “Made in England” pottery?


So at least now, when I see this type of pottery and ceramic images, I will know a bit more about its history.

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Informative Links:

The Transferware Collectors Club is a forum for sharing information and interests between archaeologists, collectors, curators, dealers, historians, scholars,