Q:

How do you recognize Italian Capo-di-Monte antiques?

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Quick Answer

The best indicator of authentic Italian Capo-di-Monte antique porcelain figurines is the mark that is stamped on the piece. However, it is difficult for anyone but an expert to authenticate Capo-di-Monte antiques because they are frequently forged. The artist's signature is also an indicator of the item's authenticity.

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Full Answer

Authentic Capo-di-Monte pieces were stamped with one of three distinct marks depending on the time period in which they were made. The original mark was the Capo-di-Monte fleur de lis mark. The symbol consisted of six prongs, three of which extended upward and three which extended downward. The outer prongs on both the top and bottom bend away from the mark's center. The mark is typically located on the bottom of the antique and is usually either blue or gold in color. This first version of the fleur de lis mark was used throughout the mid-1700s at the Capo-di-Monte Royal Porcelain Factory in Naples, Italy, which was established by King Charles VII.

The second mark used by Capo-di-Monte was a second version of the fleur de lis mark. It had the same shape as its predecessor, but the prongs were much thinner. This mark, which was also stamped upon the item in either blue or gold, was used until 1771.

In 1771, King Charles VII's son, Ferdinand, established a new factory. When production shifted to this new location, Capo-di-Monte pieces began to be marked with a new symbol consisting of the Capo-di-Monte's crown emblem resting on top of the Neopolitan "N." This is the mark most commonly associated with Capo-di-Monte by collectors and dealers. It was officially used until 1834. Since then, many other companies have made and marketed items as Capo-di-Monte pieces using some version of this third mark.

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