Judy Jay's

Time Dances By

jjay@timedancesby.com

Phone: 210-690-8454

Fax: 210-699-4492

--Last Updated: 10/28/2005 --


IS THAT REALLY A MEISSEN PUG I'M ABOUT TO PAY A SMALL FORTUNE FOR?

(Or already have!)


I have been looking at pugs listed as Meissens on Ebay for some time now and at least half of them are not Meissens - so "Buyer Beware". Make sure any you are considering have the Meissen crossed swords trademark (pictured here on 3 of mine). Through much of the 20th century other marks accompanied the crossed swords to indicate when the item was made. For instance the horizontal line located to the left of the swords means it was made since 1980.

Up until the mid 1850's the term "Dresden China" was synonymous with Meissen. (See my Dresden Pugs for further information.  I call it "More than you ever wanted to know about Dresden China" and that's probably true for many of you. On the other hand, if you've read this far, you may be a pug nut!) After that, companies in France and England, as well as Germany started calling their hard porcelain items "Dresden" and marking them as such, frequently using some variation of Meissen's crossed swords trademark. This was all done in English mainly to try to fool the gullible American travelers into thinking they were buying the already famous Meissens.

We're not only talking about the "old days". In 1962 the Royal Saxe Corporation of New York registered an identical Meissen crossed swords trademark in this country and tried to call themselves the sole legitimate U. S. company to import or sell Meissens. The Meissen factory was in East Germany and they did not have the financial or political clout to try to protect Meissen's rights. It wasn't until 1970 that Meissen regained control of its mark in the U. S. Fortunately, the Royal Saxe Corp. never had any desire to actually produce the items, but other foreign companies deliberately tried to use Meissen's reputation for quality by the use of the term Dresden and a mark containing crossed swords. Interestingly, the Meissen factory was able to maintain that quality and run their factory as they always had done even during Communist control of the country.

Obviously, this can make your buying of Meissen pugs more of a challenge. Since 1974 Meissen has gone to 5 digit model number starting with "78..." impressed into the base near the trademark. However it can be extremely hard to see, especially on the smaller pieces. It takes magnification and the light hitting it just right. Those numbers are on all three of the bases I have pictured here, but not visible in the photos of the two smaller pieces even with this magnification. Prior to 1974 their was generally a 3 digit model number, but they can be very confusing. Different types of figurines can carry the same model number and the system was changed periodically over the centuries. Sometimes the molder didn't bother to put the model number on at all! Figuring out when the piece was made can also be difficult. Since 1948 there are figures or letters designating the year the piece was "thrown". It may not have been decorated until a few years later, however. And I don't think there is any way to tell when the original mold was made. Most of those you will see today were made in the 20th Century from molds made in the 18th & 19th Centuries. I have matching pictures and model numbers of probably the majority of Meissen pugs and would be happy to help any of you confirm yours, should you desire. (See, doesn't that make it worth reading through all the above trivia?)

JOHN MUMMA 

 

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(click on photo to enlarge)

- contact me at jjay@timedancesby.com -

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