Q:

What are some ways to verify the authenticity of an old Capodimonte porcelain figurine?

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Quick Answer

Capodimonte porcelain figurines are difficult for anyone but an expert to authenticate because they are frequently forged, but there are several indicators that can provide some measure of certainty, including which mark the piece has and whether the figurine bears the artist's signature. Specifically, authentic Capodimonte pieces were stamped with one of three distinct marks depending on the time period in which they were made.

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Full Answer

The first mark used by the Capodimonte Royal Porcelain Factory in Naples, Italy was the first version of the Capodimonte Fleur de Lis Mark. This symbol consisted of six prongs, three extending upward and three extending downward. The outer prongs on both the top and bottom are bent away from mark's center. It was used in the mid-1700s at the factory established by King Charles VII. The mark was stamped on the bottom in either blue or gold.

The second mark used by Capodimonte was the second version of the Fleur de Lis Mark. It had the same shape as its predecessor, but the prongs were much thinner. This mark was used until 1771.

When production shifted to a second factory built by King Charles VII's son Ferdinand, Capodimonte pieces also began to be marked with a symbol consisting of the Capodimonte crown on top of the Neopolitan "N". This is the mark most commonly associated with Capodimonte by collectors and dealers. It was in use from 1771 to 1834.

Many other companies have made and marketed items as Capodimonte pieces using some version of this third mark. While some of them are easy to differentiate, others require Capodimonte expertise to determine if they are authentic.

One additional indicator of an item's authenticity is whether the artist signed it. Typically, the early Capodimonte artists would sign their work.

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