spode holiday dishes

What’s It Worth: Spode Holiday Dishes

Spode Holiday Dishes 2023 Values

The holiday season is a time for traditions, celebrations, and bringing loved ones together. One tradition that has graced festive tables for centuries is the use of themed dinnerware, and few brands embody the essence of holiday elegance like Spode. The timeless appeal of these special dishes has been passed down through generations, beloved for their classic designs, meticulous craftsmanship, and sense of continuity and nostalgia.

Founded in 1770, Spode has been putting out beautiful ceramic creations for over 250 years. In fact, these dishes are still being produced, though under the name Portmeirion, and can be found for purchase on home decor sites such as Wayfair to this very day! With such timeless appeal, these collectables have fluctuated in desirability and value over the years. Their 2023 values can be determined by a variety of factors including rarity, condition, and investment potential. Do you have a collection of Spode dinnerware, either older or more contemporary? What might they be worth today?

Identifying Spode Dinnerware
Like most ceramic collectibles, authenticity can usually be determined by maker’s marks. Dishes produced from 1927-1957 show an ornate backstamp that reads “Copeland, Spode, England”. Dishes produced after 1960 show a different maker’s mark as the company changed ownership – they simply read “Spode, England” followed by a pattern name and a pattern number that ends with a letter to indicate the year produced.

Dating your piece can be trickier, but if you know how to identify the date marks, it can be a major help. Pieces from the early 1800s through 1963 will often show an impressed date mark in flat areas, such as the back of a saucer or dish. For pieces dated later than 1963, it gets even more complicated, and a reference book will be needed to accurately date the pieces. We recommend consulting Spode & Copeland Marks and Other Relevant Intelligence by Robert Copeland.

With the popularity that holiday china has garnered over the years, there are bound to be some copycats out there. And surprisingly – Spode isn’t actually the original! Their Christmas Tree pattern was introduced in 1938, but Cuthbertson was actually the first company to create holiday china with a central Christmas Tree motif, introduced in 1922. A side-by-side comparison reveals that the Cuthbertson pieces tend to be more brightly colored, and they of course have different maker’s marks on the backs of the dishes – reading “Cuthbertson, The Original Christmas Tree”. Avid collectors may also be quick to point out that the Cuthbertson image includes a blue car under the tree.

One of the most important factors in determining the value of a collectible is its condition. Items in mint or near mint condition will always garner a higher price than a similar collectible in damaged condition. For Spode holiday dishes, signs of wear on the pattern and chips or cracks in the ceramic are the biggest determining factors for assessing condition. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Mint – Appears brand new and shows no signs of wear. It has no flaws, scratches, or marks. The item has never been used, or if it has, it has been used very sparingly. A dish that’s still in its original packaging, has never been used, and has no visible imperfections would be a great example of Mint condition.
  • Near Mint – Shows only the slightest signs of wear. It might have very minor imperfections that are barely noticeable and would not detract from the overall appearance or functionality of the item. Pieces in near mint condition have been well cared for; they might have a tiny scratch or mark, but it’s hardly noticeable.
  • Excellent – Shows minor signs of wear or age. There might be some minor flaws or signs of use, but they are not immediately noticeable and do not significantly detract from the item’s appearance or value. Pieces in excellent condition may have been used on a few occasions and might have a couple of minor scratches or a tiny chip on the underside, but the main design remains intact and vibrant.
  • Very Good – Shows clear signs of use and wear. There might be some noticeable flaws, like small chips, scratches, or slight fading. However, the item is still functional and retains most of its original charm. Pieces in very good condition may have been used regularly over the years. They may have some wear marks, a few small chips on the edges, and some fading of the design.
  • Damaged – Has significant flaws or damage that affect its functionality or appearance. This could include large chips, cracks, significant fading, or other defects. An example would be a dish that has a large crack running through it, significant chips on its edges, and considerable fading of its design.

Other Considerations
Besides condition, there are some other factors that can help determine the value of your Spode holiday dishes including rarity, where they are listed for sale, and their investment potential.

Rarity: Vintage and discontinued Spode patterns can be rare finds, making them highly sought after by collectors. Limited-edition releases and unique pieces also contribute to their rarity and value.

Collector’s Market: Spode holiday dishes have a dedicated collector’s market, where enthusiasts are willing to pay a premium for rare and pristine pieces. The internet has made it easier for collectors to connect and trade, further boosting their value.

Investment Potential: While Spode holiday dishes are cherished for their aesthetic appeal and sentimental value, they can also be seen as investment pieces. Some patterns have seen steady appreciation in value over the years, making them a potentially profitable investment.

Most Sought-After

  1. Christmas Tree – This pattern is arguably the most iconic and enduring holiday offering from Spode. A decorated Christmas tree adorned with colorful baubles and presents is the central motif for this charming pattern that has been a favorite for generations. A never-used 1990s service for 12 totaling 41 pieces sold for $200 in 2023.
  2. Christmas Rose – This pattern showcases delicate red roses, green holly leaves, and gold accents, creating an elegant and festive look. It’s a favorite among collectors who appreciate a more traditional and refined holiday table setting. An undated Spode Christmas Rose Bone China Tea Pot sold in 2023 for $225.
  3. Woodland – While not exclusively a holiday pattern, this pattern features a variety of woodland creatures, including deer, rabbits, and birds. An undated set of 12 dinner plates and 12 salad plates featuring the Spode Woodland pattern sold for $460 in 2023.
  4. Christmas Tree Grove – This pattern features a charming scene of a snowy village with decorated Christmas trees and cottages. It’s a less common Spode holiday pattern, but has garnered attention from collectors who appreciate its scenic design. An undated 5-piece place setting sold for $139.95 in 2023.

Advice for Sellers
As we enter another holiday season, Spode holiday dishes continue to hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and families alike. Their timeless design, craftsmanship, and evolving value make them a cherished tradition that connects generations and adds a touch of elegance to festive celebrations. Whether you’re a collector or someone who simply appreciates the beauty of these dishes, Spode’s holiday offerings are sure to shine brightly on your holiday table. And if holiday china isn’t really your thing, rest assured there is still a demand for these fun and festive dishes, so selling them is still a viable option.


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