Identify My Delftware
We receive many, many inquiries to help people identify and value their delftware. This has been a complicated process. For years, we struggled to help people with it. We needed two things to really do a good job of identifying and valuing delftware: 1) a good book to identify marks, and 2) a vibrant marketplace to set realistic prices. They have both been created in recent years - the book, "Discovering Dutch Delftware" by Dr. Stephen Van Hook, and "eBay."
The book "Discovering Dutch Delftware" is one of the best sources to help identify a large percentage of Dutch delftware in the market today. It also provides some history into delftware production over the years, and the processes used. The book has many pictures and illustrations of marks to use for comparison purposes. It may even help you see the value in the pieces yourself, and you may not even want to sell!
However, we have now sold out of the books, "Discovering Dutch Delftware." The best option is to find them for sale used on either eBay or Amazon.com, and pick one up that way. We don't know if we will be able to offer the book for sale again in the future.
Our suggestion is that if you can get a copy of the book, read up on delftware and get familiar with your pieces. A mark on the bottom of the piece can be misleading *at best*. A "crown" mark is not an indicator of "royal" delft. The words "handpainted", "delft", "made in Holland" are not a guarantee that it was. This is because the Netherlands doesn't have strict laws about "Country of Origin" labeling as we do here in the States. We are used to seeing products marked "Made In China", and we accept it for the low prices they bring, but in Holland, the stuff made in China is often sitting on the shelf right next to the pieces that are the true blue delftware, with no distinction whatsoever.
If you're not even sure that your piece is Dutch or delftware at all, but still do want to identify your mark, Kovel's books on all kinds of pottery is your best source to look for your pottery marks. The links page on our main website has a link to Kovel's, and there is a link to our links page on the bottom of this page.
The best way to learn the value of a piece of delftware is to look for similar items on eBay. You can search through completed transactions, although having a narrow search criteria is the most important factor. The old adage "something is only worth what someone will pay for it," is definitely true with delftware.
At eBay, you will find lots of listings for souvenir-quality items. You will also find that quite a bit of Royal Delft is sold, for a number of reasons: It is the factory most tourists visit, it is generally regarded as the finest quality, and they have had the best system for marking and dating their pieces for the longest time. Their pieces are clearly marked with a date-code back to 1879. If your focus is exclusively on Royal Delft (De Porceleyne Fles), we also heartily recommend the book by Rick Erickson, "Royal Delft - A Guide to De Porceleyne Fles."
We can help identify delftware that has been broken by movers, and although it is highly unlikely to find the same item, we can generally replace it with something very similar.