Royal Worcester factory marks

The Worcester Royal Porcelain Co Ltd was formed in 1862. Over the years factory marking of pieces has evolved and although marks vary from impressed and hand written to printed emblems, the majority of bone china produced was marked in the way described below.

The standard printed factory mark, included the number 51 in the centre that refers to the year 1751 when the Worcester Porcelain Company was founded by Dr John Wall. The mark can appear in any colour, and on a variety of materials.

The marks almost always included a code to indicate the year of manufacture.

Between 1862 and 1875 specific indications of the year of manufacture are rare but may sometimes be found in the form of the last two figures of the date, eg 75 for 1875, printed below the standard mark.

From 1867 a letter system was also used to indicate the year of manufacture. From 1876 the crown sits down to fit the circle.

A = 1867 B = 1868 C = 1869 D = 1870
E = 1871 G = 1872 H = 1873 I = 1874
K = 1875 L = 1876 M = 1877 N = 1878
P = 1879 R = 1880 S = 1881 T = 1882
U = 1883 V = 1884 W = 1885 X = 1886
Y = 1887 Z = 1888 O = 1889 a = 1890

From 1891 pieces were coded with a system of dots and/or symbols with the addition of the words ‘Royal Worcester England’.

1891 = ‘Royal Worcester England’ added
1892 = One dot
1893 = Two dots
1894 = Three dots

This system continued until 1915 when 24 dots are arranged around the standard printed mark. From 1916 a small star or asterisk appears below the mark.

1916 = * below the mark
1917 = * and one dot
1918 = * and two dots

An extra dot was added each year until 1927 when 11 dots are arranged around the standard printed mark.

1928 = Oblong shape and the words ‘Made in England’ added
1929 = Diamond shape and Made in England
1930 = Division mark and Made in England
1931 = Two circles and Made in England
1932 = Three circles and Made in England
1933 = Three circles and one dot and Made in England
1934 = Three circles and two dots and Made in England
1935 = Three circles and three dots and Made in England

This continued until 1941 when there were 9 dots and the triple circle mark. Between 1942 and 1948 no date code was used in the mark.

1949 = the letter V was introduced, ENGLAND added
1950 = the letter W
1951 = the letter W .(with one dot)
1952 = the letter W ..(with two dots)
1953 = the letter W …(with three dots)
1954 = the letter W ….(with four dots)
1955 = the letter W …..(with five dots)
1956 = the letter W or R in a circle ……(with six dots)

This series of codes continued until the 1960s when the dots are arranged around the R (signifying registered) in a circle. From 1966 the date coding system was rarely used and from the mid 1960s, a different format of factory stamp was also adopted for bone china tableware. The date included is the year of introduction of the design, not the date of manufacture.

In April 1988 a system of year of manufacture identification that fitted with that used by Spode was introduced and an M within a diamond was incorporated below the factory mark. In January 1989 new factory stamps were used with an N in a diamond under the mark. Soon afterward black numbers were introduced to identify the lithographer. These numbers were replaced with grey ones in August to reduce their visual impact.

In 1990 all factory stamps reverted to the R in a circle under the mark. A printed grey lithographer identification number (eg 39) was used, plus a suffix to signify the year of manufacture.

Printed in grey Printed in white
39-0 = 1990 39-00 = 2000
39-1 = 1991 39-01 = 2001
39-2 = 1992 39-02 = 2002
39-3 = 1993 39–03 = 2003
39-4 = 1994 39–04 = 2004
39-5 = 1995 39-05 = 2005
39-6 = 1996 39–06 = 2006
39–7 = 1997
39–8 = 1998
39–9 = 1999

In the 1980s and 1990s some ranges of decorative pieces such as collectors plates and figurines were printed with very elaborate marks that include designers names, issue numbers and series names. A huge variety of marks were used and most are self explanatory.

Other materials – Since the 1880s separate systems of marks have been used for items made of earthenware (crownware) and Royal Worcester Vitreous. These sometimes follow the same dot code system, but hard porcelain rarely has any code and is therefore much more difficult to identify.

Dating porcelain

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