Collecting Q&A: Dinnerware set for an empress

Anne McCollam answers readers' questions about their antiques.
BY Anne McCollam Published: July 16, 2012

Q&A on Collecting

Dinnerware fit for an empress

Q: This is a photo of a set of porcelain dishes that I have. The set was in a farm home we bought in southern Indiana. It is a service for eight and includes serving pieces. The dishes are decorated with silver bands against a white background. Each piece is marked with a fleur-de-lis and the words “Homer Laughlin — Empress — 9 — 5 — N.” I am curious about the history and value of this set.

A: Homer Laughlin China Co. made your dinnerware set. They have been in business in East Liverpool, Ohio, since 1877 and have manufacturing plants in several cities. “Empress” is the name of the shape of your dishes. It was introduced around 1900. This shape was decorated with a variety of narrow bands against a white background. A line of flatware was designed to specifically accompany “Empress” dishes. Sears Roebuck and Co. catalogs sold “Empress” sets beginning around 1919. The numbers and letter “9 5 N” show the set was made in September 1915 at Laughlin's Plant N.

Your set is probably worth $200 to $400.

Q: I have enclosed a drawing of the mark that is on the back of three dinner plates. They are decorated with scenes of fish, as well as water lilies. The plates are all in mint condition. We are interested in finding out how much they are worth.

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