Use the Spode archive and information in books on Copeland Spode china history to determine the approximate age of the company's products. Also, learn about Spode backstamps to date pieces more easily by sight.
One of the most comprehensive books available on Copeland Spode china is "Spode & Copeland Marks and Other Relevant Intelligence," written by Robert Copeland. This book details more than 300 individual backstamps. Typically, Coleman Spode china products featured a pattern code that allowed customers to tell the year and month in which a particular piece was made, but these changed frequently over the years the company spent in business.
When assessing the age and value of a Copeland Spode china piece, it is helpful to divide the company's history into four distinct periods of ownership, beginning with the start of the Spode company's business until 1833. At this point, Spode craftspeople did not always mark their pieces, but typically did so in red paint. Between the years 1833 to 1847 the company, then known as Copeland and Garrett, usually printed backstamps on its pieces, but also impressed backstamps occasionally. Between the years 1847 and 1970 the Copeland family owned the company entirely and typically printed backstamps with a variation on the Copeland family name on its products. After 1970, the company changed its name to Spode and began using a newly standardized printed backstamp on all of its products.