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Aynsley England Bone China - a very fine firm with a rich pedigree, founded 1775 Staffordshire by Master Potter John Aynsley.

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As a self-confessed china geek, one of the first things I do when I pick up a teacup is turn it over to look underneath.

Josiah Wedgwood was the first significant potter to mark his china with his own name.

From 1860, Wedgwood introduced an impressed mark to the back of the china with the year of manufacture as part of a 3 character code.

Some potteries were quite creative in their labelling, for example, Minton used a variety of symbols such as stars and swans to represent different years.

One of the best online resources for identifying vintage china (and often the first site we consult) is So how do you date pieces that don’t have a mark providing the year of manufacture?

Take a stroll through the porcelain district of Stoke-on-Trent, much of it in ruins, and hopefully you still may see the Aynsley plant in business.

The website, Royal Albert Patterns, is great for providing information about Royal Albert back stamps over the years.

The original back stamp of the Old Country Roses pattern, which was first introduced in 1962, didn’t indicate the year of manufacture.

The format of the code changed over the years but there are some good guides available that explain what the codes mean.

Many Spode and Royal Doulton pieces also contain a mark indicating the month and year of manufacture.

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