Overprinted mark on vintage "Imperial" bone china

GillianEMarch 23, 2014

Greetings. I am in a group fundraising for charity and we had 2 tea sets donated. Vintage and pretty, "Imperial", but a mystery. One plate has an overprinted mark (Spode, Copeland, USA, and more made out on it) and embossed plates that are overprinted with "Warranted 22KT gold" and 2 roses. The other set has a mark with a crown and wreath.
Anyone have any clues?
Would be nice to supply some info with the sets when we fundraise with them perhaps as a prize.....

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This is one of the sets

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:06AM
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this is the other mark

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:07AM
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Blanche de Chine is the pattern name and that particular plate was made by Copeland. Even though it has a U.S. Patent, it is made in England. I have no idea why it would be overmarked with an Imperial stamp. I'm posting a link to Spode Copeland Blanche de Chine examples. Poke around on that page and look at them. The plate with that overmark should be like the ones in the example, with a raised design, and that design was made in several colours. Are you saying that only one piece has this overmark? If that is the case, I'd assume it does not go with the other pieces of the supposed set, but perhaps overstamped to look like it. If that one whole set is a match, the cups should look like those in the Copeland Blanche de Chine line and there are examples of what those cups look like on the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: examples of cups and plates in that pattern

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 2:35AM
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Thanks so much for your reply.
The mark certainly looks like the underprinted mark! And the embossing definitely looks like that on the plate. All the plates have the embossing only one the overprinted mark....But the plates saucers and cups are covered with gold pattern and a pink and yellow roses! photos in the postings after the original....
The cups that went with the overprinted set are completely different in shape to that straight sided blue and white cup which is so much simpler and less fussy.
Do you happen to know who that Imperial name, and the Imperial plus the crown and wreath mark, was associated with?
This crockery survived migration to Australia many years ago and has been donated to us to help raise money for the Cancer Council. Whilst we are under no illusions that we have sometjing other than pretty vintage china, it would be nice to be able to provide some idea of its story!
I have been in contact with the Stoke archives as well with some success but not as informative as your reply
I wonder whether the odd overprinted plate is of interest to the Spode Museum. I might try and email them too
Thankyou for your information. our donor is fascinated by what we have found out so far!
Gillian Edwards


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:05AM
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I wish I could be of more help, but cannot. My interest is primarily in stoneware and not finer porcelain. I am also not familiar with the Imperial Mark. I used to work in a pottery and know that moulds are sometimes sold when a company goes out of business, and it could possibly happen when a line goes redundant, but that would not explain the overstamp. Why anyone would want to over-stamp a piece or pieces as respectable as Spode, I cannot guess unless a different company came upon redundant white ware for a good price and decorated over it, perhaps using several lines as base pieces for their own decoration. I am also not familiar enough with Copeland or Spode to know if any other potteries subcontracted to produce a line of china for them or if Imperial was a lesser known brand produced by Spode. It's almost as if the Spode/Copeland mark was made in error and they decided to salvage the wrongly marked pieces and over-stamp them. I hope you find your answer ,but may have to move them as 'a mystery'. ;-)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:59PM
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I suspect the Imperial folks bought in the Spode and did the gold embossing part, as china painters back in the day would buy plain white china to decorate.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:23PM
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I agree, smaller companies would buy blanks & do their own decorating. They would then put their mark over top. Not a lot of value I'm afraid. Everyone would like an interesting story, but alot of things were bought at the Five & Dime, especially after the war. mfrog

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Thanks mfrog and colleenoz, all adds to the story. A gentleman undergoing cancer treatment (china nut) has now got interested, so this is proving not only educational but therapeutic! :-) Had some clues on chinamakers who used Imperial, sometimes for seconds, but perhaps my query to Spode museum or another chance viewer might enlighten.... there appears to be heaps of vintage "Imperial" stamped pieces on ebay etc.... perhaps leads me to think might have been an Asian copy, 50's seemed to produce heaps of copying... often very good.... I have a Japanese copy of an English famous buttercups pattern which is, dare I say it, better (at least to me!) than the original! ...perhaps not in quality but in appearance, gorgeous :-)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 7:40PM
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