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A Guide for the Savvy Collector

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HAVILAND & CO LIMOGES FRANCE fine china setIf you are a collector of fine porcelain, you are probably familiar with Haviland. This French porcelain manufacturer is famous for producing some of the most exquisite and sought-after porcelain in the world. Collectors prize Haviland porcelain for its delicate beauty, superior craftsmanship, and historical significance. In this article, we will explore the world of collectible Haviland porcelain, from its history to its value and how to identify the real thing.

The History of Haviland Porcelain

The story of Haviland porcelain began in the early 19th century with David Haviland, an American businessman who relocated to Limoges, France, in search of the finest porcelain. Haviland was determined to create porcelain that could rival the quality of the finest European manufacturers. He opened his own porcelain factory, Haviland & Co., in 1842, and by the late 19th century, Haviland porcelain had become one of the most popular and respected brands in the world.

The company's success was due in part to its ability to produce porcelain that was both beautiful and durable. Haviland porcelain was handcrafted by skilled artisans and decorated with intricate patterns that were inspired by the natural world. The company's most famous pattern, "Rosalinde," was created in the 1890s and features delicate pink roses against a white background.

Today, Haviland porcelain remains highly collectible, with pieces ranging from the classic white porcelain to colorful designs with floral and fruit motifs.

The Value of Haviland Porcelain

The value of Haviland porcelain varies depending on several factors, including its age, rarity, condition, and pattern. Some of the most valuable Haviland porcelain pieces are those from the 19th century, particularly those made before 1870. These early pieces are often marked with the initials "D & C" for "David Haviland & Co." and are highly prized by collectors.

Another factor that can affect the value of Haviland porcelain is its rarity. Some patterns were only produced for a short period, making them more difficult to find and therefore more valuable. For example, the "Marquise de Sevigne" pattern, which features delicate pink and blue flowers on a white background, was only produced for a few years in the early 1900s and is highly sought after by collectors.

Condition is also an important factor to consider when evaluating the value of Haviland porcelain. Pieces that are in excellent condition, with no chips, cracks, or repairs, are more valuable than those with damage. However, even pieces with minor damage can still be collectible if they are rare or in a desirable pattern.

Finally, the pattern of the piece can also affect its value. Some of the most collectible patterns include "Rosalinde," "Schleiger," "Cloverleaf," and "Gardenia." These patterns are highly sought after by collectors and can command high prices at auction.

How to Identify Haviland Porcelain

Identifying Haviland porcelain can be challenging, particularly if the piece is unmarked. However, there are several clues that can help you determine if a piece is authentic Haviland porcelain.

The first clue is the quality of the porcelain itself. Haviland porcelain is known for its fine, translucent quality and delicate beauty. If the porcelain is thick or heavy, it is unlikely to be authentic Haviland porcelain.

Another clue is the pattern. Haviland porcelain is known for its intricate floral patterns, which often feature delicate pink roses or other flowers. The pattern should be well executed and evenly spaced, with no smudging or bleeding.

If the piece is marked, it should bear the Haviland name or one of its many variations, such as "Haviland & Co.," "Haviland Limoges," or "H & Co. France." The mark may also include the pattern name and number. These marks can be found on the bottom or back of the piece and are often stamped in blue or red ink.

It's important to note that there are many counterfeit Haviland porcelain pieces on the market, so it's essential to buy from a reputable dealer or auction house. Some of the most common fakes include pieces that are marked with the Haviland name but are made by other manufacturers or pieces that are decorated with decals rather than hand-painted.

Collecting Haviland Porcelain

Collecting Haviland porcelain can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting, there are several tips to keep in mind.

One of the most important tips is to buy the best quality you can afford. While it may be tempting to buy a damaged piece because it's cheaper, a damaged piece is unlikely to appreciate in value over time. Instead, invest in pieces that are in excellent condition and have desirable patterns.

Another tip is to specialize in a particular pattern or era. By focusing your collection on a particular pattern or era, you can become an expert and quickly spot valuable pieces. Some collectors specialize in early 19th-century pieces, while others focus on more modern designs.

When buying Haviland porcelain, it's also important to do your research. Learn about the history of the company, its patterns, and the marks used to identify authentic pieces. Attend auctions, visit antique shops, and talk to other collectors to gain a deeper understanding of the market.

The Future of Haviland Porcelain

Despite the popularity of Haviland porcelain, the future of the brand is uncertain. The company has undergone several ownership changes over the years, and in recent years, production has slowed. However, Haviland porcelain remains a valuable and highly sought-after collectible, and its legacy is sure to endure.

In conclusion, Haviland porcelain is a beautiful and valuable collectible that has captured the hearts of collectors for over a century. From its rich history to its intricate patterns and fine craftsmanship, Haviland porcelain is a treasure to behold. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can become a savvy collector and build a collection that will delight you for years to come.

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