Some illustrated marks that help you identify antique and collectible pottery include coat of arms, initials and words, such as A. Weaver or Amberg. Some illustrated marks include various animals as well as intricate banners and heraldic patterns.
There are several types of ceramic materials that bear maker's marks to denote value, collectability and rareness. Earthenware ceramics are some of the most common varieties, and they were made from coarse sedimentary clay fired at very-high temperatures. Earthenware has a porous surface, and in order for it to be used with liquids, the surface needs glazing.
Stoneware ceramics are popular, as well. They are much harder than earthenware, and have a finer texture. These types of ceramics are able to hold water unglazed, and they are fired at higher temperatures than earthenware. Authentic stoneware colors include red and grey, while most other types of colored items only have a surface application of the color.
Most porcelain comes in hard-paste and soft-paste varieties. Hard-paste porcelain is difficult to scratch, and it is completely watertight, whether glazed or unglazed. Soft-paste porcelain was often used by European potters to replace Chinese porcelain patterns. Because the surface does not use the same materials, it is weaker and softer in structure.