My friend Myrna wrote a blog post recently about how rarity is not always reflected in the value of early Staffordshire figures. Something similar may be said of the rarer variations of plaques with common religious verses.
If you've been following this site for a while, you might remember the eBay seller 1079edmund who tried to add value to common plaques by over-painting them with fake enamel decoration. Below are some genuine examples of enamel decoration. The plaques are attributed to Scott of Southwick, c1845. I have seen quite a few examples of the smaller plaques, like the one in the centre, with hand-painted flowers in each corner. This plaque is unusual because its border has an inner yellow band. However, the larger plaques on left and right below are real rarities (click to enlarge). In over 10 years, I have never seen any others of that kind with enamel decoration of flowers.
The two plaques below have common transfers, but superb lustre decoration. The left plaque is attributed to Scott of Southwick, and the right plaque to the neighbouring pottery of Moore & Co. Admittedly, I paid a reasonable sum for the right plaque. However, if the transfer had been of a ship or other pictorial subject (see lot 403 in the Tolson Collection catalogue, or plate 111 in Gibson), I might have had to pay two or three times as much. Again, I have never seen any comparable examples of verse plaques.
Finally, the two plaques below have common verse transfers on very rare moulds. The plaque on the left comes from an as-yet unidentified pottery. It has an unusual shaped back. I have never seen the mould before. The plaque on the right is attributed to Scott of Southwick and has a decorative moulded border. I've only ever seen one other rectangular plaque with this border, and have shown them side by side on the Scott page.
It is these kind of variations that make collecting plaques exciting. I bought nearly all the plaques above for less than the cost of a meal for two, in a London restaurant. If you have photos of any such interesting plaques to share, please drop me a line.
Click here for a beautifully decorated plaque in the stock of Ian Sharp. Ian has updated his site with some great plaques, so be sure to take a look.
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Stephen Smith lives in London, and is always happy to hear from other collectors. If you have an interesting collection of plaques, and are based in the UK, he will photograph them for you. Free advice given regarding selling and dispersal of a collection, or to those wishing to start one. Just get in touch...
This website is indebted to collectors, dealers and enthusiasts who have shared their knowledge or photos. In particular: Ian Holmes, Stephen Duckworth, Dick Henrywood, Norman Lowe, Keith Lovell, Donald H Ryan, Harold Crowder, Jack and Joyce Cockerill, Myrna Schkolne, Elinor Penna, Ian Sharp, Shauna Gregg at the Sunderland Museum, Keith Bell, Martyn Edgell, and Liz Denton.