The Crossed Swords of Meissen Porcelain

How to tell the markings on your Meissen porcelain:

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Meissen figurines..

Keen porcelain collectors will have heard of Meissen, the first ever porcelain manufacturer to be have set up in Germany in 1710. In 2010, Meissen celebrates 300 years of porcelain in Germany.

If you’re looking to start up a porcelain collection or are keen to add to your Meissen collection during your holidays in Germany, it helps to understand what the monograms on Meissen porcelain means and the imitation symbols that exist. A little awareness may save you from paying huge sums of money for what are imitation products.

All porcelain manufacturers have their own monograms to mark their products and these are usually applied under the glaze at the bottom of the piece. The symbols may vary a little to show different periods of production.   Meissen also uses incised marks on certain products such as biscuit porcelain and white glazed porcelain.

In the early days, Meissen imitated Chinese or Japanese characters in their monograms and this was followed by letters for a short period of time, such as KPM, MPM and PFT . From 1724 onwards, they adopted the blue crossed swords trademark and this is one of the oldest trademarks in existence.

But note, not all blue crossed swords are Meissen symbols. Many porcelain manufacturers wanting to cash in on the porcelain trade in Germany, France and England in the 18th and 19th centuries imitated the Meissen products as well as the crossed sword symbol, often adding their own variation to the crossed swords.  Most of these manufacturers did not survive for long – perhaps they died at the hands of the sword! You may still see some of these imitation products and symbols in some antique collections.

A Plate with various Meissen trademarks

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Meissen trademarks. Photo courtesy of GNTB..

At 12:00 o’clock is the Meissen crossed swords of 1934.  At 1:00 o’clock are the initials of Augustus Rex.  The AR monogram was specially reserved for objects used by the royal court of Elector August the Strong, founder of the Meissen factory and later reigning monarch of Poland, King August II. It was also added to porcelain pieces produced for the court of his son, August III, who succeeded him in 1733.   (Note that European porcelain manufacturers have also imitated of the AR monogram.) Going around the plate clockwise, you’ll see Meissen variations to the crossed swords symbol.

Meissen Manufactur have shops and dealerships all over Europe, but for those who are keen porcelain collectors and want to learn more about German porcelain, Meissen is the place to be in 2010 where manufacturers and several museums have come together to celebrate 300 years of porcelain in Germany.

For more information visit Meissen’s website at www.meissen.de.

How to get to Meissen:

  • A14 from Leipzig, exit Nossen-Ost
  • A4 from chemitz, exit Siebenlehn
  • A4 in direction of Dresden, exit Wilsdruff
  • A13 from Berlin, exit Radeburg
  • B6 from Dresden
Do YOU have any ideas on this? Please comment.

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