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Noritake China Has Been Imported Since 1914

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Q: Enclosed is a photo of a plate that is part of my set of Noritake china. I have had it for about 30 years. There are 65 pieces and there is a service for 12 that includes serving dishes, a butter dish and salt and pepper shakers. Each dish is decorated with a band of blue flowers along the edge with a white background. The set has never been used and is in perfect condition

Please let me know what it is worth.

A: Ichizaemon and Toyo Morimura founded an overseas trading company in Japan in 1876. They established an importing firm in 1878 in New York City. By 1914 they began producing dinnerware that appealed to Western tastes. They had factories in Kyoto, Tokyo and Noritake. Most pieces were marked with the letter "M" in a wreath until the 1950s. A plethora of sets were purchased by United States servicemen when stationed in Asia and sent to families back home. Noritake porcelain is still being made today.

Noritake dinnerware sets are abundant on the secondary market, and prices reflect the supply. Many sets can be seen selling in the hundreds.

Q: This mark is on the bottom of a covered butter dish that belonged to my grandmother in the late 1940s. It is the shape of an ear of corn with green leaves. The overall measurements are 7 inches long, 4 inches wide and almost 4 inches high.

What can you tell me about the maker and value of my butter dish?

A: Shawnee Pottery began in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1937.

Your butter dish is part of their "Corn King" ovenware line that was made from the 1930s to the 1950s. The line started out as premiums/giveaways for Proctor and Gamble. The color of the corn started out almost white and was called "White Corn." In 1946 the color became more yellow and they changed the name of the line to "Corn King." By 1954, their "Corn Queen" line was introduced. The color of the kernels was adjusted to a lighter yellow, and the leaves became darker green. The line included teapots, butter dishes, shakers, pitchers, casseroles, cookie jars, bowls, platters, creamers, sugar bowls and snack sets. Not all pieces were marked; some just had paper labels, and some were only marked with the letters "U.S.A." Several other potteries made corn-inspired lines, but are easily distinguished from Shawnee's. As a rule, the "Corn" was glazed on both the inside and outside. The early pieces are more desirable with collectors than the later "Corn Queen" line.

Your butter dish would probably be worth $90 to $125.

Address your questions to Anne McCollam, P. O. Box 247, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Items of a general interest will be answered in this column. Due to the volume of inquiries, she cannot answer individual letters. To find out more about Anne McCollam and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

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