Q&A on Collecting
Dinnerware made in occupied Japan
Q: This is a photo of a set of porcelain dinnerware that belonged to my mother. The set has 10 place settings, and each dish is marked “Occupied Japan — Royal Embassy — Atlanta.” There are no cups and saucers, and there are no salt or pepper shakers. The borders are decorated with blue designs and gold. I have heard that “modern people” do not use them because gold trimmed dishes cannot be placed in the microwave. I am planning to place the set for sale on the Internet and would like to know if $99 is a fair price. I appreciate “you're being there” to solve these kinds of questions.
A: Anything marked “Occupied Japan” was made during the Allied occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1952 after World War II. “Royal Embassy” is the maker, and “Atlanta” is the name of the pattern. Gold trimmed dishes should not be used in microwaves. The care and maintenance required for vintage porcelain dinnerware trimmed with gold does not appeal to many younger people today, and as a result, the demand on the secondary market is limited. FYI: Missing pieces can usually be found at china matching firms on the Internet. $99 is a fair price.
Q: What can you tell me about this mark? It is on the back of seven dinner plates, all with different buildings at Harvard University campus. The designs are blue against a white background. Also included with the mark are the words “Harvard University — 1941 — Veritas — James McDuffee and Stratton Co. — Boston.” Any information will be appreciated.
A: Your commemorative plates were made by Wedgwood in England at their Barlaston pottery. James McDuffee and Stratton Company, located in Boston, imported historical plates from Wedgwood for the American market. The importing firm started in 1810 and became McDuffee and Stratton in 1871. By 1910, they were thought to be the largest wholesaler and retailer of china and glass. The historical plates were decorated with American scenes of buildings, monuments, events, universities, ships, personalities and landmarks. There were 48 Harvard views, and they could be purchased in a series of plates or individual plates. By 1950, they no longer made historical plates and the firm closed in 1960. Your circa 1941 plates would probably be worth $50 to $75 each.
Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters.