Tips For Blue Willow Collectors

Blue Willow is the most popular pattern ever for tableware. The pattern has been around for over 200 years and remains well-known today.

Are you addicted to collecting Blue Willow? If so, you have plenty of company. Blue Willow is the most popular pattern for tableware ever. It has been around for well over 200 years. There is some confusion surrounding what is actually considered to be Blue Willow. Many people mistakenly think that any blue and white tableware is Willow ware; this is not true. All Blue Willow patterns will have similar features. The following items are included in the standard or traditional Willow pattern: a bridge with three people crossing, a man sitting in a boat on a lake, two birds flying towards each other, a willow tree that is usually located in the center, a tea house with three pillars, an orange tree behind the tea house, and a fence. The majority of Blue Willow will also contain a border. Although some patterns may omit one or two of these items, all Willow patterns will contain the majority of these features. The Blue Willow pattern was also produced in colors other than blue and white. However, the blue and white tableware has proven to be the most popular.

Determining Manufacturer and Age

The best way to determine the age and producer of your item is to look for a manufacturer's mark on the bottom. If you have a complete Blue Willow set, only the plates may contain the name of the manufacturer while the cups only list the country where produced. If you only have a single item from a set, it can often be a difficult task to identify the manufacturer or match the pattern. Some items may contain a manufacturer's mark that is unclear or doesn't actually list the manufacturer's name. In this instance you will need to consult a reference book that displays and lists the marks for Blue Willow manufacturers. Many manufacturers changed their mark over time and this information can help in estimating the age of your piece.

Identifying Patterns

Some collectors choose to purchase items from only one pattern while others like to collect a variety of designs. Whatever your preference, you should familiarize yourself with as many patterns as possible. Once you learn to identify different patterns, it will be much easier to determine the manufacturer. Since the Willow pattern was copied so often, many manufacturers decided to produce Willow ware with a slight variation from the original pattern. This variation made their Willow design unique and recognizable from others. If you desire to become an expert at identifying Blue Willow tableware, you should research the following patterns:

1) a. Standard Willow Pattern

b. Standard Willow Pattern Reversed

2) Booths Center Pattern

3) Burleigh Center pattern

4) Mandarin Center Pattern

5) Royal Winton Pekin Center Pattern

6) Turner Center Pattern

7) a. Two Temples I Center Pattern

b. Two Temples II Center Pattern

c. Two Temples Reversed Center Pattern

8) Worcester Center Pattern

A good Blue Willow reference guide will contain numerous photos of the different patterns. By studying a reference guide, you will be able to identify patterns easier before making a purchase.

Determining Value

Before spending a large sum on a new piece for your collection, consider the following:

1) Is the asking price comparable to the item or a similar items list price in a reference guide? Antique dealers will often inflate the price of an item they know to be a popular seller.

2) What is the overall condition of the piece? You should check items for damage such as cracks, spurs, chips, and crazing.

3) Is the item considered to be rare or unique?

4) Check the piece for a manufacturers mark. If you are not able to determine the age, ask the seller. However, you should always check with another source before making a purchase.

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