Q&A on collecting
Cheshire Cheese was popular inn
Q: We inherited this porcelain plate that is titled “Dr. Johnson at The Cheshire Cheese.” It is broken, and I was wondering if it is valuable enough to have it restored. Our family name is Boswell. We are related to James Boswell, who wrote about Dr. Samuel Johnson. Marked on the back of the plate is a side view of a lion wearing a crown. Beneath the lion is a large crown. Also included with the mark are the words: “Royal Doulton — England” and a written number that is very difficult to read. It seems to be “p3/27.”
Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
A: Your plate was made by Royal Doulton in England. The company used this mark from 1902 to 1930. The number is a series number and is probably D3123. Samuel Johnson was born in England and was an essayist, writer and lexicographer. He was the author of the first significant English dictionary. Johnson and a group of poets, writers and philosophers met at inns for conversations. One of the meeting places was Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street in London. Johnson and author/biographer James Boswell were friends. Boswell wrote the famous biography “The Life of Samuel Johnson.”
If your plate were in excellent condition, it would probably sell for $100 to $150. Given the family history and sentimental value, it might be worth having it restored.
Q: I have drawn the mark that is on the back of a china plate I have. It was given to my 95-year-old uncle by his aunt when he was a small boy. The plate is in excellent condition. It is decorated with a dark brown border against a white background. On the right side of the plate is a dark brown horse. We have learned Dan Patch was the “World's Champion Harness Horse.” In 1906, he set the turf world record of 1.55 for the mile at the Minnesota State Fair. My uncle would appreciate knowing about the factory where the plate was made, the approximate date and possible value. The plate is very special to him.
Thank you for your help.
A: Harker Pottery made your plate. It was located in East Liverpool, Ohio, from 1890 to 1972. The words on the mark actually are “Semi Porcelain.” Dan Patch memorabilia are collectible. He was foaled in Oxford, Indiana, in 1896.
Your plate was made around 1914 and would probably be worth $100 to $150.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556.