Sip in Style With Traditional English China

English tableware has been around since the mid-1700s. Traditional pieces of antique English porcelain china are often kept as collector's items or used for special occasions, and you can find affordable pieces of new or vintage English china at eBay. The value of a piece of china is determined by the maker, the item's age, and the popularity of the pattern that it features.

How do you identify real English bone china?

Bone china is a type of soft-paste porcelain that is made with bone ash. Bone china is known for being strong and resilient. It doesn't chip nearly as easily as other types of porcelain.

Most authentic English bone china can be identified by its transparency. Real bone china is translucent. You can also identify bone china by the distinct sound it makes as compared to glass or other forms of porcelain.

How to decide if a piece of antique English porcelain china is in good condition

Most antique English porcelain china will be in used condition, but some enthusiasts have kept their collections pristine. Once you've found the set or piece you are looking for, you can inspect the seller's photos for damage and authenticity.

First, check the piece of china for a maker's mark. Every piece from an English Aynsley porcelain bone china tea set is printed with the Aynsley backstamp. On eBay, the seller should have included a photo of the mark. Some manufacturers also print dates, pattern names, and the location of the factory.

Next, check for chips, scratches, and hairline cracks that are readily visible on the item's surface. You should also make sure that the paint is not scuffed and that the pattern is clear. If there is gold around the rim, see how badly it has worn away.

A piece of porcelain made 200 years ago is bound to have a few minor scuffs. As long as the pattern remains intact and there is no visible damage, you can assume that the china is in an acceptable condition.

Who are some of the most famous producers of English china?

You can't identify a piece, or even a complete dinner set of Johnson English porcelain china, if you don't recognize the backstamp. These are just a few of the names and marks you might see while shopping:

  • Aynsley China Ltd.: Aynsley China has been making bone porcelain since 1775. The Aynsley maker's mark features a crown with the words "Aynsley England Est. 1775" printed beneath it.
  • Johnson Brothers: The Johnson brothers started producing tableware in 1890. The Johnson maker's mark has changed many times over the years; expect to see the name of the design printed over a crown with the words "Johnson Bros England" printed underneath.
  • Wedgwood: Founded in 1759, Wedgwood is one of England's oldest producers of porcelain. The Wedgwood maker's mark is just the name "Wedgwood" in all caps. Some pieces say "Wedgwood & Bently."
  • Royal Doulton: Royal Doulton began making porcelain products in 1815; this company also produces Royal Albert china. The classic Royal Doulton maker's mark includes a lion standing on a crown over the words "Royal Doulton England." The oldest Doulton pieces do not include the lion, and pieces made since 2000 feature only the lion's face.