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How Do I Collect German Porcelain?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 July 2014
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Collectors of German porcelain can begin by determining how much of their budget they wish to devote to their hobby, and basing new purchases around existing or previous purchases. This type of china is typically marked with a manufacturer's identification that can help collectors learn the history of their pieces. Possessing this information can help them connect with other collectors, and learn the best auction sites, houses, and stores where they can pick up new pieces to finish complete sets.

Original German porcelain was manufactured during the first portion of the eighteenth century. Figurines, plates, saucers, tea pots, and other classic pieces were made at that time from exquisite porcelain and collected by the contemporary upper class. Present day connoisseurs who wish to add these antique prized pieces to their collection must begin by possessing a large budget. One single piece of this fine craftsmanship typically costs several hundred US Dollars, and many full sets are housed in international museums and private collections. Some pieces may be found through Internet auctions, though the majority can be purchased through private art galleries and antique auction houses.

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Twentieth century German porcelain can typically be purchased for a lower price, and still maintains much of the quality craftsmanship and unique attention to detail that set the original pieces apart several hundred years previously. These pieces are often available for sale in antique stores, from fine china dealers, and through Internet auctions. Depending on the location and period during which the porcelain was manufactured, some pieces may be more valuable than others.

Most pieces of German porcelain possess a manufacturer's mark, which can be located on the underside of the dish or figurine being purchased. This mark is usually unique to the town in Germany and specific porcelain factory where the piece was first fired and painted. Many of these factories ceased production during the tumultuous years spanning World Wars I and II and were often destroyed during that time. Collectors can identify the markings on their pieces by purchasing a porcelain book guide, or by searching on the Internet for catalogs of matching symbols, typically posted by other collectors. Some hobbyists prefer to start new collections by purchasing one single piece of china, and discovering its history and origins, before locating as many matching pieces as possible.

Dresden china is a type of twentieth century German porcelain frequently sold around the world that is often highly prized by collectors. Pieces assigned this name range in style from small figurines to table serving ware. They are named for the city of Dresden in Germany where they were originally produced. The porcelain factories of Dresden were destroyed during World War II, causing most original pieces to increase greatly in price for their limited availability. Reproduction pieces, which have been manufactured in other factories, can be found at lower prices which attempt to capture the delicate nature of the figurines, fine china, and hand painted work that marked pieces from this period.

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