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14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 22 2008 at 6:56 AM

CarltonHendricks  (Login CarltonHendricks)

I recently bought the 14 inch diameter plate below, should arrive any day now. Based on the uniforms and quailty, I'd guess it's about c1910. I'm very curious, has anyone seen this plate before? I have not. The art style, and the vignette of the title "Two Men Down" remind me of the yard long style prints of the same vintage. Although I think those are American, whereas this is German. At the bottom is another 12 inch c1900 baseball plate I got last summer in Adamstown PA.

This message has been edited by CarltonHendricks on Apr 22, 2008 7:19 AM

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(Premier Login leonl)
Network 54 Moderator


April 22 2008, 1:57 PM 

I have never seen that type of plate (I don't look that much for plates though) before but it's beautiful.....


Mike H
(Login mjkm90)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 22 2008, 6:47 PM 

Handsome plates Carlton. You find some real treasures. I know nothing about them however

(Login dereb1)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 22 2008, 7:13 PM 

The first is the best looking baseball plate I've ever seen. Like a T3 in plate form.

Rob Fouch
(Login cubguy)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 22 2008, 11:42 PM 

Absolutely gorgeous. Amazing the variety of baseball stuff out there. Congrats on the pickup.


(Login CarltonHendricks)


April 23 2008, 11:31 PM 

Thank you all for your comments. Rob Fouch, you are right there is a wide variety. Finding things never seen before is one of the greatest things about the hobby.

Germany sure did capitalize on baseball early on. It seems they found a subject that sold well in the United States and started pump'n out stuff. There's this plate, plus the one below it which I think was produced in Vienna, same region as Germany, then there's the c1890 bisque Huebach baseball statues seen in the photo below (courtesy Robert Edward Auctions) Scottland did the same American marketing with their Stevengraphs, the little woven silk pictures. They produced them featuring most every sport including baseball, and what appears to be American football.

I'm still hoping to hear from someone who has a reference on my plate.

This message has been edited by CarltonHendricks on Apr 24, 2008 1:13 AM

(Login perezfan)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 23 2008, 11:51 PM 

Carlton... Where did you obtain that beautiful plate? I saw it listed somewhere recently, and just cannot put my finger on where I saw it. Was it from Ebay, or a Catalogue Auction? I should have paid closer attention, as this one is truly special.

Butch & Co.
(Login Butch7999)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 25 2008, 12:36 AM 

Never did see it come up for auction on eBay, but that very plate (or its identical twin) was indeed the subject of fairly lengthy discussion on one of the eBay member forums a few months back. If memory serves, it was the pottery and ceramics collectors on the "Collectibles" board there who were trying to nail down its origin, with a minority opining that it was of more recent manufacture.

We did some extensive searching for that debate, but unfortunately, the thread seems to have been deleted from the boards there.

(Login perezfan)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 25 2008, 1:52 AM 

Interesting, Butch.... that is the very reason I did not pay closer attention at the time. Though the artwork is stunning and appears vintage, the "Two Men Down" caption just looks like something more recently done.

I have not seen this style actually used on period pieces like that... it has more of an intentionally antique feel, and a possibly contrived nostalgic appearance.

Carlton... are there any markings on this plate that would indicate its true vintage?


(Login CarltonHendricks)


April 25 2008, 6:15 AM 

Thanks Mark. I was down at the local Goodwill dropping off some clothes to donate when I noticed it on the half price table....Just kidding, I got it on eBay.

OK so, we have conjecture. I know that's hard to believe on net 54. But that's kind of what I wanted, some discussion on it anyway...Alright so far Mark (Login perezfan) seems to give it a vote of confidence, and wishes he'd have paid closer attention to it, and that it is "truly special"

Then Butch and Co. hold that there was lengthy discussion now absent, that produced a "minority" of Pottery/Porcelain aficionados who suspected the plate contemporary.

Then Anonymous (Login Perez fan), who has the same perezfan login as Mark, expresses doubt it is a period piece based on the style of the "Two Men Down" caption vignette. And feels it has "an intentionally antique feel, and a possibly contrived nostalgic appearance"

Thank you all for those opinions, however I'm not persuaded it is contemporary by them. We do not have access to Butch and Co.'s referenced discussion, so we do not know what the minority dissenters based there opinion on. Moreover, their "minority" status implies they didn't persuade many of their peers in the Pottery and Porcelain community.

Neither do I find Anonymous (Login perezfan)'s position a compelling argument, based on a 1909 yard long style print in my collection titled "The High Hurdles" by Hibberd VB Kline, which employs a remarkably similar title vignette seen below.

Anonymous , In answer to your question if there are any markings. That is a very good question. I have not received the plate yet, coming from a gal in Canada (who may know about the lost discussion) However I have hope there is a marking based on the photo below with the red circle around what appears to be a makers mark.

Once I get it in my hand (any day now) so I can examine it in person perhaps I'll be able to glean more information to establish it's vintage and origin.

(Login perezfan)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 25 2008, 11:04 AM 

Carlton... the Anonymous was me... Mark. I just forgot to type in my name. Thanks for posting that beautiful High Hurdles Print. I would certainly agree that the vignette at the bottom is strikingly similar, and bodes very well for the authenticity of your plate.

When I first saw it (thanks for clarifying it was on ebay) I was just expressing a hint of doubt, as I had not seen a caption like that before (and lord knows, we've all been burned a time or two!) Just part of the learning process, I suppose. That's what makes this forum so valuable.

Anyway... please let us know when you have the plate "in hand", and can possibly reveal more about its origin. It is gorgeous, and I bet there's a 99.9% chance it is indeed of the time period, as the vignette matches the Hurdles Print to a tee!

This message has been edited by perezfan on Apr 25, 2008 11:06 AM

Butch & Co.
(Login Butch7999)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

April 25 2008, 7:20 PM 

Carlton, with your your permission, we'll re-post a couple of your pics of the plate, and re-pose the question, on the eBay collectors' forums, and see if anyone recalls the consensus there (it wasn't that long ago) or has any new insights. Unless you'd rather post to that forum yourself.

Dating a baseball artifact based on artwork is always a tricky proposition -- the artist may be inexpert with some details and rely on some artistic license -- but occasionally you can spot something that was clearly and definitively not in use until after a certain date, and that can at least give you a "no older than" figure. The left fielder in foul territory, for instance, is very probably just a compositional choice, but someone here expert in uniforms or equipment may recognize, say, the catcher's mask, as sufficiently detailed in the illustration to mark it as something from no further back than 1900, or 1910, or 1920.

The telling detail, however, is probably in the pottery marks on the underside of the plate. There's definitely something stamped into (not just onto) the pottery just to the left of the "Hand painted" inscription, although we can't quite make it out. Looks like an "infinity" symbol set at a 45-degree angle, but it's probably a flourish on some sort of monogram or logo. Can you tell what it is?

Brock G.
(Login griffis16)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

May 12 2008, 1:35 PM 

Hunts had a very similiar plate way back in 1999. Looks like yours is one in a series of baseball themed plates produced by the maker.


(Login CarltonHendricks)


May 13 2008, 6:35 AM 

Butch, knock yourself out with the photos, dig up whatever you can, thanks for your help. Brock, you are the man!!! How the heck did you find that? now that's a piece of the puzzle. I got a heck of an email from a porcelain specialist in Germany, though he's English...He had so much to say, I'd rather copy and paste I'm waiting for his permission to do so.


(Login CarltonHendricks)

May 15 2008, 2:00 AM 

I received the plate, and now that I can examine it in person, the only marking is the red circled one I already posted. It says “35S”, see the close up photo above.

I found a site called and emailed them for insight into my plate before I‘d even gotten it. I received a reply from the sight’s owner Christopher Simon Marshall, see it below. After I emailed a close up photo of the red circled mark, he retracted his assertion the S was an 8, and agreed it was 35S

Christopher puts forth a lot of speculation, but nothing conclusive. I feel one of the most important assertions he makes is he seems to feel strongly it wasn’t made by a company, but rather an individual.

“So the item could easily been made by a former German citizen who immigrated to the US shortly before he took up porcelain decorating which was (not only at that time) a popular hobby because I doubt it was made by a company - those all had their hallmarks and would have never used handwriting only.”

Moreover, perhaps at some point, the plate Brock G. uncovered will help in some way, determining the origin of mine.

See email below:

From Christopher Simon Marshall:
Highly peculiar item; not that I can recognize who made it. The impressed number has an '8' at the end, not an 'S' by the way. Now, the decoration looks fairly good and matches a few items from around that period. What has me confused a little is the writing on the back ... I would guess the item was decorated by someone related to the US / baseball whatever and who lived in Germany. Note that baseball is no European sport at all; 99 percent of all folks here would not even recognize a baseball pitch. So not only is the depiction of baseball poeculiar enough, 'Two men down' is also a 'specialized' game flow term nobody here would use - similar to 'Howzatt?' in the Brit game of cricket.

Then we have 'Hand painted' on the back. Many people have had near brutal discussions if the writing style (apart or one word) has anything to do with the origin - I personally doubt it because I can offer proof of various versions made in England, Germany or the US; numbers however can say more. And here's the next point: the plate backside shows 'No. 5010'. While the '1' is a runic-influenced "long-upstoke" version typically found in nordic influenced countries like Germany, the '5' is not as dominant as it would normally be in a 'real' German number.

On top of that no German would use such an 'No.' abbreviation. First of all the use of the superscript, underlined 'o' never was common in Germany; that's more British or French. And of course the German abbreviation for 'Number' always was 'Nr.' (short form of 'Nummer').

But then we stumble over the last remark: "35 cm", the size of the plate in metrics (35/2.54 = 13.78 inches) which is correct. Thinking back in time, the proposed age of the plate would indicate a period before England even adapted metric currency (still counting with Pence, Shillings, Pounds and Guinees). So how high would the possibility be that somebody used METRICS on a plate - except he was of German or Austrian origin.

Perhaps some people would claim the plate is a fake or a repro. I don't know and I won't guess - I only look at what is definate and obvious. But I must add that my father (as Brit) constantly confused English and German terms, sizes, weights etc. ... and still does even after living in Krautland for 40 years. So the item could easily been made by a former German citizen who immigrated to the US shortly before he took up porcelain decorating which was (not only at that time) a popular hobby because I doubt it was made by a company - those all had their hallmarks and would have never used handwriting only. Also note that according to the McKinley Tarriff Act (and based on the British Merchandise Act) a company would have been forced to add the exact wording "Made in Germany" from around 1900/1905 onwards.


(Login perezfan)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

May 15 2008, 11:11 AM 


Thanks for posting his interesting response. Looks like this plate is sort of an enigma. Do you agree with with his assessment?

Also wanted to ask... How is the condition of the plate, now that you have it "in hand"? Usually, the condition (and just studying it very closely) can reveal as much as anything else. Is there the typical crazing to the glaze? Tiny spider veins or cracks? Discoloration or fading to any portion? Does it have a glossy finish covering the painted portion, or is it more of a modern mattte type finish?

Does it show the typical signs that occur in pieces that are now over 100 years old? If so, it is likely an antique. If not, then there is valid reason for some concern.

This message has been edited by perezfan on May 15, 2008 11:45 AM

Butch & Co.
(Login Butch7999)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

May 15 2008, 1:52 PM 

Carlton, thanks for the Marshall appraisal and the additional close-up of the impressed mark.
We posted on both the eBay "Collectibles" and "Pottery" forums, but haven't yet elicited
any useful feedback except for someone who posted a link to this August 2005 Hunt auction page:

So the design is clearly based on a circa 1910 lithograph, although that still doesn't speak
to how long (if at all) after 1910 the plate was executed...

This message has been edited by Butch7999 on May 15, 2008 2:00 PM

Brock G.
(Login griffis16)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

May 16 2008, 10:42 AM 

Stumbled across another similiar plate Hunts sold a while back. This one is a football version-

Butch & Co.
(Login Butch7999)

Re: 14 inch c1910 baseball plate

May 20 2008, 7:01 PM 

After some general salutes and deference to Christopher Marshall's expertise, the eBay forums don't appear able to produce any further insight, so the last comments of any substance there were these...

First, a mild quibble with one of Marshall's assertions:
"As researched fully by folks on the pottery, glass and porcelain board and the antiques board and other researchers (and contrary to popular belief), no US law required the use of the wording 'Made in' countryname. However, England did require that wording for imports from some countries, and those exporting to the US often just followed suit. The country of origin is required for imports to the U.S.A., but no specific wording such as 'made in' is specified in the laws."

And finally, this fleshing out of some of what already had been said:
"Germany exported much plain white porcelain for decoration abroad, as did France and Czechoslovakia. Last year I had a Continental vase decorated in Chicago to a high standard (forgot the studio).
"France was metric as well as Germany. Britain went metric in currency nearly 40 years ago and adopted metric measurements later still (many people still work in Imperial measures).
"Special orders of this nature could still be executed by a small number of decorating studios in Europe. Such products are very expensive.
"Skilled decorators moved around internationally in search of work and I presume would usually have faithfully copied texts they had been asked to apply to pieces.
"The handwriting looks fluent and 'period' and from a long-apprenticed hand; it would be hard to fake."

Sorry we couldn't get a definitive "this-specific-artisan from this-specific-pottery in this-specific-year" answer. But the consensus did seem to be that the plate is roughly contemporary with the subject matter of the image, and the age ascribed to the lithograph linked above lends substance to those assessments of the plate.

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