A Guide to Royal Worcester Pottery & Porcelain Backstamps

The Royal Worcester name is widely known and respected. Wonderful pieces often appear in our auctions and these stunning vases are no exception. Hand painted with Highland Cattle by John Stinton, these sold for an incredible sum of £1500 in a recent auction.

The History of Royal Worcester

Royal Worcester is one of the oldest English porcelain manufacturers still in production today. Originally founded as Worcester Porcelain Company by Dr John Wall in 1751, there are often disputes between Royal Worcester and Royal Crown Derby as to which company was the first to be established, but there is no dispute about how strong a brand the Royal Worcester name is. 

Creating luxury gifts, tableware and figures, Royal Worcester was given a royal warrant in 1788, due to its notable success and quality. Royal Worcester is also known for its many well-known painters and artists. These prestigious creators all made their mark on the brand, adding to its unique style and now its collectability.

Today the Royal Worcester brand sits under the Portmeirion Pottery Group umbrella, along with Spode, Portmeirion and Pimpernel.

Lot-174-Royal-Worcester-Limited-Edition-Lady-Figures

Royal Worcester is quite often synonymous with delicate figurines, making collectable items that are beautiful additions to any home. These limited edition lady figures, Joy & Lady Charlotte, were a lovely lot in a recent auction.

How do you date Royal Worcester porcelain?

Royal Worcester porcelain markings are well documented, and most pieces were carefully dated with clear systems to help identify value and age. However, as with many porcelain manufactures, changes in ownership, changes in the location of factories and differences in artistic design mean there is a vast range of markings and backstamps to look out for.

The standard factory mark for Royal Worcester porcelain has the number 51 in the centre. This is to signify the year the company was found. Markings without the use of ‘Royal’ will signify a very early piece.

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Royal Worcester Markings from 1867 to 1915

From 1867, a new lettering system was introduced to help identify the year of manufacture. This helps you to date your Royal Worcester porcelain. Here are the letters and markings you should look out for:

1867 – 67 or A
1868 – 68 or B
1869 – 69 or C
1870 – 70 or D
1871 – 71 or E
1872 – 72 or G
1873 – 73 or H
1874 – 74 or I
1875 – 75 or K
1876 – 76 or L
1877 – 77 or M
1878 – N
1879 – P
1880 – R
1881 – S
1882 – T
1883 – U
1884 – V
1885 – W
1886 – X
1887 – Y
1888 – Z
1889 – O
1890 – a

1892 – 1 dot on left of crown.
1893 – 1 dot each side of crown
1894 – 2 dots left 1 right
1895 – 2 dots left 2 right
1896 – 3 dots left 2 right
1897 – 3 dots left 3 right
1898 – 4 dots left 3 right
1899 – 4 dots left 4 right
1900 – 5 dots left 4 right
1901 – 5 dots left 5 right
1902 – 6 dots left 5 right
1903 – 6 dots left 6 right

1904 – plus 1 dot under circle
1905 – plus 2 dots under circle
1906 – plus 3 dots under circle
1907 – plus 4 dots under circle
1908 – plus 5 dots under circle
1909 – plus 6 dots under circle
1910 – plus 7 dots under circle
1911 – plus 8 dots under circle
1912 – plus 9 dots under circle
1913 – plus 10 dots under circle
1914 – plus 11 dots under circle
1915 – plus 12 dots under circle

Royal Worcester Markings from 1915 to 1948

The system for dating continued from 1915, however the main design of the backstamp was mostly unchanged. You can see an example below. The addition of letters, dots and asterisks are the main identifiers you should look out for, which will be found below the circle.

Royal-Worcester-marking-backstamp-2

1916 – * under circle
1917 – * plus 1 dot
1918 – * plus 2 dots
1919 – * plus 3 dots
1920 – * plus 4 dots
1921 – * plus 5 dots
1922 – * plus 6 dots
1923 – * plus 7 dots
1924 – * plus 8 dots
1925 – * plus 9 dots
1926 – * plus 10 dots
1927 – * plus 11 dots
1928 – open square
1929 – open diamond
1930 – division sign

1931 – 2 linked circles
1932 – 3 linked circles
1933 – 3 circles 1 dot
1934 – 3 circles 2 dots
1935 – 3 circles 3 dots
1936 – 3 circles 4 dots
1937 – 3 circles 5 dots
1938 – 3 circles 6 dots
1939 – 3 circles 7 dots
1940 – 3 circles 8 dots
1941 – 3 circles 9 dots

1942 – 3 circles 10 dots
1943 – 3 circles 11 dots
1944 – 3 circles 12 dots
1945 – 3 circles 13 dots
1946 – 3 circles 14 dots
1947 – 3 circles 15 dots
1948 – 3 circles 16 dots

After a time, the dots and circles became cumbersome and further changes were made.

Royal Worcester Markings from 1949 to 1963

From this time onwards, most backstamps were printed in black with the following identifying marks:

1949 – V
1950 – W
1951 – W plus 1 dot
1952 – W plus 2 dots
1953 – W plus 3 dots

1954 – W plus 4 dots
1955 – W plus 5 dots
1956 – W plus 6 dots
1957 – W plus 7 dots
1958 – W plus 8 dots

1959 – W plus 9 dots
1960 – W plus 10 dots
1961 – W plus 11 dots
1962 – W plus 12 dots
1963 – W plus 13 dots

Whilst these markings are clear sometimes their use was inconsistent, it is possible to find Royal Worcester pieces with missing date marks, that’s why it’s so important to seek professional valuations.

Royal Worcester Markings from 1964-Today

From 1963, date markings were not used, however new patterns were all named when they were created. From 1990, the following backstamp was added to all designs.

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Photo Credit: Antique Marks

Do you recognise any of these markings on your pieces? If you need further support, Potteries Auctions can step in to help identify your pieces and value them. Could you raise a small fortune at auction? However, do beware of fake Royal Worcester marks, as unfortunately these are quite common, yet can look very realistic.

How Much are my Royal Worcester Ceramics Worth?

At Potteries Auctions, we can identify and provide valuations on a wide range of Royal Worcester collections and individual pieces. Our team can help value your tableware or advise on how to complete collections. Our team can even help you sell family heirlooms of Royal Worcester pieces.

Lot-405-Royal-Worcester-boxed-set-of-gilded-coffee-cans-and-saucers

The love of Royal Worcester porcelain is well documented and this lot, sold at a recent auction, highlights why. This Royal Worcester boxed set of gilded coffee cans and saucers hand painted with fruit by various artists including E Townsend, W Bee, J Stanley, H Ayrton, displayed in a silk lined box with six silver teaspoons sold for a whopping £720!

Please get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you or request a call back if you are looking for an expert evaluation and are seeking to sell your Royal Worcester porcelain. Alternatively, you can join us at one of our valuation days every Tuesday. Email us for an appointment on [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

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