At the onset, let me state that I am not an expert on this topic. That said, I hope to use this guide to increase my knowledge, as well as the knowledge of other Ebay buyers and sellers, on the authenticity of items LISTED as Meissen which are actually NOT Meissen pieces.
I started collecting "Bone China Lace" ceramic figurines in December of 2005. As of this date, I have approximately 50 figurines. These pieces appear to be exclusively "Made in Japan" and "Made in Occupied Japan". What little I know of these pieces is that they were manufactured and sold for the "five-and-dime" trade as knock-offs of vastly more expensive German-made ceramic figurines. The two Japanese manufacturer's marks I see consistantly on these pieces are "Orion" and "Wales". Some pieces have indelible maker's marks (either under or on top of the glaze) and others have stickers. Many Wales pieces in this genre, in particular, have marks AND stickers.
The confusion between what is Meissen and what is, say, a Wales Japanese piece, seems to arise when the sticker has been removed leaving only the indelible marks under the base. The marks seem to follow the basic trend of being a cursive "Bone China Lace" in gold and two crossed swords in blue. Seeing the two crossed swords in blue has led to individuals believing the piece to be Meissen. At this early stage in my research, I understand these two marks found together to mean that the piece was manufactured and painted in Japan utilizing Meissen MOLDS. (See photo below of a Wales figurine base.)
Further adding to the misunderstanding is the fact that these pieces are usually of a very fine character when comparing their delicacy of porcelain detailing and painting to other "Made in Japan" pieces. However, when compared to true Meissen pieces, it becomes obvious that these are more "production line" than "one of a kind".
In conclusion, I'd like to state that I would LOVE to have others contribute to this topic. I am literally having a ball searching for and collecting these inexpensive figurines on Ebay. Every time I conduct a search, I learn a little more from the seller's descriptions. Here's the "funny-but-awful" thing: I find more Wales figurines listed as Meissen than listed as Wales! I ABSOLUTELY know it's not on purpose. However, with this guide as a start, we just might be able to resolve some of the confusion. I thank you, in advance, for any further information you could provide on this subject!