Tag Archives: dating Arabia Finland ceramics

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 🙂 .


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