Scripps Howard News Service
The exact origins of this Staffordshire teaset is something of a mystery.

Dear Helaine and Joe:

I am enclosing photos of a teapot. It is in perfect condition. I do not think it was ever used. The bottom is marked "Old Coalport Period 1825" above a mark that has "England" above a crown with the word "Coalport" below and "A.D. 1750." Could you tell me if this piece is worth anything?

Thank you,

— G.S., Naples, Fla.

Dear G.S.:

It is a good idea to be suspicious of any dates that might occur on the bottom of a piece of porcelain. In this case, they are completely misleading and need a great deal of clarification.

The A.D.1750 date found in the mark on this teapot supposedly relates to the date of the founding of the factory, which was located in Coalport, Shropshire, England. Unfortunately, the recognized founding date is actually circa 1795, and the 1750 date probably refers to the founding of some perceived antecedent of the company real or imagined.

The actual company name was John Rose & Co., and in the early years it did not as a general rule mark its wares. The Coalport name did not appear until about 1815.

Other early marks include the word "Dale" with a small C looking like part of the capital D, the initials CD, crossed swords in the Meissen style and the impressed numeral 2. In the 1820s, more flamboyant printed circular marks with the Coalport name started to appear.

Besides the ersatz Meissen mark, Coalport has used look-alike marks relating to other factories. Notable are the anchor used on the copies of Chelsea porcelains, and the conjoined L's in imitation of the Sevres mark. This latter mark was used on very fancy wares that are quite valuable despite the deceptive mark.

The mark found on the piece in today's question was first used in 1891, and with the word "England" above the crown was employed until about 1920. After that, the designation above the crown tended to be "Made in England."

This teapot is a Coalport reproduction of an earlier piece that the company claimed was originally made circa 1825. But this piece was probably made during the first quarter of the 20th century.

"Old Coalport" is the name of a pattern that was made in sets of dinnerware and tea ware. It came in a variety of color variations. After examining the mark in the photo, we believe this teapot may be in the No. 7097 variety (the numbers are hard to read even with a magnifying glass).

The floral decoration on this piece is lovely, with bold posies against what appears to be a pink ground that may shade to white (colors in photographs can be so deceiving). In any event, this teapot probably had cups, saucers and dessert plates at one time, and it may have been part of an entire dinner set.

We have no real idea what size this is, but if it holds two cups of tea, its insurance-replacement value is probably in the $150-to-$190 range. If it is larger, that value could go as high as $225.

Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of "Price It Yourself" (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, PO Box 27540, Knoxville, TN37927. E-mail them at [email protected]