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What is KPM Meissen porcelain?

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Quick Answer

KPM Meissen porcelain refers to tableware, vases and tea sets manufactured by the Meissen Couture company in Germany. "KPM" stands for Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, which means "Royal Porcelain Factory" in English. In Europe, Meissen Couture was the first company to manufacture this Chinese-style porcelain in 1710.

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At the time of the company's founding, the process for making porcelain was a closely guarded secret. However, in 1718, a rival porcelain maker opened a factory in Vienna. Two years after the second manufacturer began, Meissen invented a way to paint (and later glaze) maker's marks onto porcelain. These marks served as a method for identifying Meissen pieces as authentic in order to prevent forgeries made by other companies.

First appearing in 1723, KPM Meissen's marks consisted of two blue swords crossed with KPM above them. Since 1974, the crossed swords have the word "Meissen" glazed underneath in cursive script. As of July 2014, the crossed swords are still hand-painted onto each Meissen porcelain piece.

Antique original KPM Meissen pieces are worth a lot of money in excellent condition. An individual "Greeting Harlequin" figure modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler dating to around 1740 sold at Christie's auction house for more than $900,000 in 2007.

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