Fakes & Forgeries: How to Spot Real Wedgwood

Wedgwood is a family name, a company name, and the name used for one of their products. The company was established in the mid 1700s by Josiah Wedgwood. It had quite an extensive catalog of items, but its main staple was called jasperware. This was simply a type of stoneware characterized by its matte finish (as opposed to a glossy/shiny finish).

Jasperware has since become synonymous with the word Wedgwood, though there are subtle differences that serious collectors will be sure to point out. For the purpose of this post, however, I’m just going to refer to it as Wedgwood.

1. Neoclassical themes. These were quite popular as there was a high interest in ancient cultures during this moment in time. Designs included those borrowed from the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians.

2. Colors. The most common color is a light blue, but the second most common would probably be the green. Most colors are pale and muted, but there are some darker versions. Some Wedgwood is even colored black.

3. White accents. The typical white accents are raised against the background of the piece.

4. Stamps. Wedgwood is almost always stamped. I’ve read that some of the very old pieces might not have a mark, but almost everything else does. The most common stamps read, “Wedgwood England” or “Wedgwood Made in England.” Another common one is “Wedgwood of Etruria & Barlaston.” Their icon is typically an urn.

How to spot a fake:

These are hard and fast rules to live by. If your piece has one or more of these characteristics, it’s not Wedgwood/jasperware.

1. If it’s glossy, it’s not Wedgwood. Jasperware ALWAYS has a matte finish.

2. If the white accents are not raised, it’s not Wedgwood. Some of the fakes just paint the designs on.

3. If it’s stamped “Wedgewood” (with that extra ‘e’), it’s not Wedgwood. In addition, there’s a company out there called Enoch Wedgwood of Tunstall, whose icon is a unicorn. This is not at all related to the Wedgwood company we’re talking about.

I’m sure there are always exceptions to the rules, but I don’t know of any. Wedgwood isn’t uncommon, but it is still collectible. There’s a lot of it out there, so chances are you do have the real deal.

Have you come across any real or fake Wedgwood? What’s your favorite Wedgwood piece you’ve seen? I think the smoking set pictured above is pretty neat looking!

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My Weekly Score: Mansfield Model 500 8mm Projector

We’ve come across a few vintage movie projectors in the last year or so and I always enjoy finding them. Usually they look super retro and cool, and I just like the idea that they’ve held all those old films.

This latest one was pretty neat as well. It was a Mansfield model 500 8mm film projector. It was made of cast aluminum, so it was pretty hefty!

The projector still worked and only had a few minor physical blemishes. The light was burnt out, but I just took a picture of it so buyers would know what they had to replace. It all worked out in the end!

I can’t remember how much we paid for this, but I know it wasn’t a lot (maybe $5?). In the end we sold it for $65.00 to someone in Australia, which means that we didn’t have to pay for the shipping either. Whoo hoo!

Have you ever come across one of these?

Word of the Week: Moriage

Moriage refers to the raised or beaded pattern found on pieces of porcelain or pottery. This technique was particularly popular in the 19th century and into the early 20th. The pattern was applied using “slip” – the same liquid clay from which porcelain and pottery is usually made.

Nippon pieces employ this technique quite often. In addition, moriage dragon designs are fairly common.

Here’s a tiny vase we had that was moriage dragon ware.

This or That: Gauge versus Scale

This particular series is going to be a hybrid of the Word of the Week and Spotlight series, but we’re going to take TWO words and explain what they mean. These are going to be two words that are similar and easy to mix up, but are actually quite different in their definitions.

In this post, we’re going to discuss “gauge” and “scale,” both of which are related to model trains.

Gauge refers to the width of the track. Certain tracks can only hold certain sized trains. You can measure this by either choosing the distance between the rails on the track, or the distance between the wheels on the train car.

Scale refers to the size of the model train. This is often portrayed as a fraction or a ratio, and it’s the relationship between the model and the real-life prototype.

Now, here’s the important (and confusing) part. The scale is simply the fractional equivalent of the gauge. Before you start shaking your head and walking away – think about it. It makes sense. The gauge is determined by the width of the wheels. That obviously determines what size the train can be. The size of the model train in relation to the size of the actual train determines the scale. See how they’re connected?

The most popular gauges are (from biggest to smallest): G, O, S, HO, N, and Z.

Here’s a chart, with the width being the distance between the rails:

Gauge Width Scale
G 45mm 1:22.5
O 32mm 1:48
S 22.5mm 1:64
HO 16.5mm 1:87.1
N 9mm 1:160
Z 6mm 1:220

(Here’s where I got the above information. This is literally the only page that could explain these words to me in plain English. It has some of the lesser known gauges in there as well, so it’s worth checking out on top of this post.)

As you can see, the width is generally measured in millimeters so it’s as specific as possible. I usually don’t pay much attention to the numbers for the scale because they aren’t necessarily important to me as a seller. I DO try to determine the gauge, however, because that’s what most people will search for when they’re looking for pieces to match a set they already have.

Did that help you to understand the difference between gauges and scales? Do you have any questions? Are there any other words that you often mix up?

My Weekly Score: Paintball Gun Set

We usually sell antique and vintage items, but every once in a while we come across something new (or newish) that we just have to pick up!

This was a nice find at a yard sale. It’s a paintball set that includes two guns (with barrels), a mask, a hopper, a bottle of CO2, a pack with holders for the paintballs, and a small bottle of Gold Cup Lubricant.

The blue gun was a Spyder Pilot and the red one was a Cybrid. These were used, but still in pretty good condition.

This is a perfect thing to sell right now because paintballing is still huge! Especially because it’s summertime. Plus, these are usually pretty expensive to begin with, so people are always looking for used ones.

We scored this set for $30 and turned it around for $102.53. Whoo hoo! I hope someone has lots of fun with these for years to come. 🙂

Word of the Week: George and Martha

This is a pretty neat term to know in the world of antiques.  The term “George and Martha” can apply to any item that has the image of a colonial man and woman on it. It comes from George and Martha Washington, though the people represented are not necessarily portrayals of the famous couple.

Here’s a couple examples:

A metal powder/medicine box with an enamel center.

This is the front of a beautiful vintage lamp!

This is the back of a vintage mirror. (This one might be stretching it just a little bit…)

What’s the neatest George & Martha item you’ve come across?

Resource Guide: Ddoty’s Carnival Glass

Our primary role at ItsAllOurVault is that of a seller. However, being in the business of antiques and collectibles is addicting. Soon you become a buyer (“Oh, I like this, I think I’ll keep it!”), and then a collector (“I have no use for this, but they match that set of glasses I have at home!”).

I’ve said this time and time again, but it’s because it’s important: Know a little bit of everything. The things you come across aren’t always going to be familiar. Their uses aren’t always going to be obvious. Their pattern names are always going to be clear. But once you do research, those details start to stick with you. That information is great to have in your arsenal, no matter which of those three roles you fill most often.

We’ve come across a lot of great resources. And a lot of useless ones too. This new series, “Resource Guide,” is going to feature one book or website that we find most useful. I’ll tell you how to navigate the source, what we use it for most often, and why I love it so much. You’ll be able to find all of the links I talk about in these posts to the left, on the navigation bar under the “Resource Database” link. I’ve already provided a quick breakdown of each one over there, so this will be a more in depth discussion.

And, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or new resources that you use frequently, please share the wealth! We can all benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge.

The first resource I’d like to talk about today is David Doty’s Carnival Glass website. You might remember this one from when I talked about it in our How to Sell: Carnival Glass post.

Here’s a screenshot of what the site looks like when you first happen upon it:

It seems a little chaotic at first, but it’s actually extremely well organized. I’d suggest taking the time to explore each link and see what kind of information pertains to you and what would be the most helpful. There’s a lot of information here and it can be a little overwhelming. I’ll show you the sections that we use most often and you can start there.

Pictured above, you’ll notice one section is blocked off in red. This is, by far, the most important section on the site. This is Mr. Doty’s index. He has patterns, shapes, motifs, and makers all listed out for your convenience.

The first section contains a list of over 1,100 patterns. Wow! In order to find your way through here, you’ll have to know the name of your pattern. But if you know that, then you can click on the link to find examples, a description of the pattern, and perhaps some background information on its worth.

The second section is the index of shapes. This serves a dual purpose. Not only can you find the name of the item you may have (like “epergnes” for a flower/fruit holder), but you can also track down the pattern name this way as well. It helps if you know what the design is called, but it’s not necessary. It might just take a little extra time and effort on your part.

The third section is by far probably the most useful for when you’re trying to find a name for our pattern. This is the index of motifs. Just look at the theme of your piece: does it have roses on it? Hearts? Fish? Find the appropriate list and click on the motif’s name. You’ll be taken to a page that gives pictures of each related pattern, along with the name below. Once you find your pattern, click on it, and you’ll be taken to the page for that particular design.

Lastly, we have the index of makers. This is helpful for a few reasons, too. If you know the maker, but don’t know the pattern name, you can see a list of all the designs that company made. Just click down through (you’ll be taken to the pattern’s index page) until you find what you’re looking for. This is also particularly helpful if you’re a collector that wants all the pieces from one maker or maybe one piece from each. He’s also got a page for carnival glass that was made by non-U.S. companies.

Moving out of that main section of the site, there are a few more links that I like to frequent. First we have the maker’s marks page. It’s very important – as a buyer, seller, and/or collector – to recognize the different marks that different companies stamp their carnival glass with. Pieces may not always be stamped, but when they are, it is always extremely helpful to know right off the top of your head who made it. You can study the various marks on this page. He provides extremely clear, close-up shots of each one.

We also have the “about colors” link here. This is probably my favorite one to visit. It gives a list of just a fraction of the colors that were produced – the site owner states there were over 50! In addition, he warns that differences in glass between one batch and another made it so that the colors weren’t often exactly the same. You can click on the various colors he has listed here, and just marvel at the beauty before you.

Lastly, we have a section on fakes. This is extremely important to sellers and collectors alike, because there are certain pieces that have been reproduced to intentionally trick buyers. These are newer pieces that look like older pieces. You can click on the patterns to learn more about the forgeries and how to tell the difference between the real ones and the fake ones.

As you can tell from the screenshots, there are a number of other thinks that I didn’t even get into. You can play a game to test your knowledge, look at price trends, and even check out pictures of some super rare pieces.

Have you checked out this site before? If not, are you interested in it now? How often do you come across carnival glass in your travels?