How Do You Collect Hand-Painted Nippon China?


Quick Answer

Collecting hand-painted Nippon China involves knowing what to look for, locating sources and identifying the real pieces. Japanese manufacturers made Nippon porcelain from 1891 to 1921 for export to the U.S.

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Full Answer

The first step in collecting hand-painted Nippon China is to get a book such as "Van Patten's ABC's of Collecting Nippon Porcelain" or consult a website such as the International Nippon Collector's Club. These resources show images of Nippon China which a new collector can use to locate pieces to buy.

Locating sources for hand-painted Nippon China may be difficult. Many online retailers such as ebay as well as antique websites offer pieces for sale. However, their prices are often high, and you must buy them after only seeing the piece in a photo. If you know what to look for, though, auctions, antique stores and even garage or estate sales can be sources for a collection.

The biggest difficulty is identifying authentic pieces of Nippon China. First of all, the pieces are renowned for their exceptional decoration since they were hand-painted, not mass-produced. Next, collectors look for the Nippon back stamp. The McKinley Tariff Act dictated that porcelain imported into the United States had to be marked with the origin country. "Nippon" means "Japan" in Japanese. Finally, collectors match the stamp to known patterns from the time. For instance, a "Nippon" mark on a china piece with a specific wildflower pattern is actually a reproduction, not a genuine example of Nippon China.

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