I first became aware that plates had value in 1980 or thereabouts, (I was 16) when my mother sold her vintage green glass dinnerware set to a woman with a lilt in her voice, drop earrings, and a modern bleached shag hairstyle. They looked something like this:

The selling of the dinnerware involved a removal of dust, dead flies and the like, from said plates and cups as they had been stacked a long time on a high shelf behind the lime green painted cupboard doors. My mother got less than $20.00 a plate; more for the unusual pieces of which she had a few.

… I thought that was very impressive. Given my mother hoarded, (“Your mother- she’s a collector,” my father liked to say…) this was extremely impressive, considering she didn’t part with many possessions.  

I often wonder where those plates are today. Are they displayed behind glass in a fancy curio? Are they pulled out on holidays and set out on a table just so, with turkey served on them? Have their snapshots been taken with high resolution cameras and then have they made appearances on EBay? Each plate ferreted out across the country? Or are they dusty again, all but forgotten? I like a backstory. . . Thus this post. 

This post is about my plate. About 12 years ago, I salvaged a plate from a junk pile and thought it would be an easy look-up. I consulted the library, my son’s Kovel’s book, -and of course the internet.  I even emailed collectors who weren’t that helpful. They’d often give me a link to their book on ‘how to research antiques.’ As an author myself, I get that but I wasn’t getting anywhere in solving my plate mystery. 

I’m guessing from research, my plate is under the category of “non pariel (scenic/romantic) ” because it has a tree, and is possibly Burgess & Leigh? But then I’m sure I’m mistaken on all counts. Guesswork abounds.)

Now and again I come across the plate, which I keep wrapped in green tissue paper, and I attempt to look it up, to no avail. It’s crazed throughout, (I love that term) meaning it has a mosaic-like network of lines and cracks. Like me incidentally. I’m crazed too. 

This post is an inquiry directed toward anyone who knows something about old plates. What is it? I took some photos with my IPhone. Here is the front of the plate:


I have always liked, in particular, the way the (ivy?) leaves make heart shapes near the tree. I often incorporate this into my paintings. Do you see the way the background is a lighter blue? Look closely and you will see that there almost appears to be a – crude – process here whereby the foreground (darker blue) was applied in a block overlay,  (via copper plate??) or square ‘stamp’ for lack of proper plate terminology. 

Certain phrases come to mind that I’ve picked up: flow bluetransferware? I’m sure I don’t know. Here is a look at that sharp overlay I am talking about. See the right angles?



A reject plate? As for the back of the plate, where the crazing is most apparent, it looks like this:


I know the condition is terrible, but at this point I would love to know it’s origins. Here’s a few closeups of those marks, starting with one of the most puzzling ones. There is an indentation (a word?) near the S, and I’ve tried to do a pencil rubbing to pick up whether it is a word, but it is too degraded and faint for that. Pretty sure it’s the word CAULDON. 


It is clearly labeled “CAULDON” in blue, —however — online searches show that CAULDON marks usually have the word: “England” beneath them. This does not appear to have that word. What is written under CAULDON? It looks like Kent, but it’s probably not. It could read: ‘Bentick.’ That makes sense. It’s an early pattern name. Then again… It probably does read:England. And what does ‘10‘ mean?


Is this funny? Same plate, but I took one picture during the day and the other picture at night. Disregard the yellowing. This little inscription is in a pinkish red color, and appears to read either:



SZO2. or is that an L and not a 2 at all….?

Ideas what this signifies?


So we have an S, and a 10, and what appears to be either a 7 or an L. S can mean 1849 since letters can signify years; but since there is an L, L can mean 1856. Unless that’s a 7….it’s probably a 7. 


There you have it. Anyone know anything about old plates?