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History -  Designers -  Dating & Backstamps

Royal Doulton Figurine Dating & Backstamps

Most collectors like to know when their Royal Doulton figures were made. Sometimes it is possible to identify the exact year of manufacture, but in most cases it is only possible to be accurate within a band of likely dates.

A date coding system was introduced in the late 1920s. The coding was very simple and it is the only way of being sure of a figure's exact year of manufacture. The coding consisted of a numeral being printed beside the Royal Doulton backstamp. By adding this number to the base year, 1927, the year of manufacture can be obtained. Roman Numerals were used until 1930 and Arabic numerals thereafter. However, this date coding system seems to have been discontinued by the 1950s.

Sometimes it is possible to detect other numbers impressed in the base of some figures. One set of numbers will be the model number (not the same as the HN number), and another set of numbers will look like a date (e.g. 2.32). The latter number is a date, but not necessarily the date the figure was made. It is the date that the mold from which the figure was cast was made. As molds quickly wear out, this date is more than likely to be the same date as the date of manufacture.

Royal Doulton has changed the style of marking their figures on a number of occasions over the years. The Royal Doulton "lion and crown" mark has remained more or less constant, but the form in which other information is presented has changed. By knowing the production dates of a particular figure and also the dates the markings changed, it is possible to be a little more specific as to the year of manufacture. It is worth remembering that although it is often stated that certain pre-war figures ceased production "by 1949", production often ended long before this date. The year 1949 was taken as a convenient cut off point, but in fact figure production was phased out rather than coming to a halt as the war time restriction of decorative china production took hold. Therefore some figures introduced in the mid to late 1930s had a very short production run. Many were discontinued as early as 1940.

Backstamps

All dates must be considered approximate. A version of the standard "Lion and Crown" Royal Doulton mark is used throughout. Note that there are variations to be found on specially commissioned figures, which should be self-explanatory.

 

1913 - 1920

This backstamp consists of a hand-written title, HN number, and "Potted by Doulton & Co" in script. In addition, the name of the designer is included.

1920 - 1930

This backstamp consists of a hand-written title, HN number, and "Potted by Doulton & Co" in script. However, the name of the designer is omitted.

1930 - 1945

This backstamp consists of a printed title in quotation marks and design registration numbers. In addition, a hand-written HN number and "Potted by Doulton & Co" appear. Many figures are also found with a date code.

1945 - 1959

This backstamp consists of a printed title (often in quotation marks) and design registration numbers. In addition, a copyright date and the words "DOULTON & CO. LIMITED" are added. Often a hand-written HN number is also found.

1959 - 1976

This backstamp consists of a printed title and HN number (in a smaller and neater type face), design registration numbers, a copyright date, and the words "DOULTON & CO. LIMITED".

1977 - 1978

This backstamp is the same as the previous mark, however, the registration numbers are removed.

1979 - 1981

This backstamp consists of a printed title and HN number in uppercase type. In addition, the words "© ROYAL DOULTON TABLEWARE LTD." are added.

1982

This backstamp consists of a printed title and HN number in smaller uppercase type. The words "Hand made and Hand decorated" are added, along with the words "© ROYAL DOULTON LTD". In addition, a printed "Royal Doulton" is added below the mark.

1983

This backstamp consists of a printed mark, a title in larger print than the previous mark, and the HN number above the title. The words "Hand made and Hand decorated" appear in semi-circular form around the Royal Doulton mark. In addition, a facsimile signature of the modeller is added. The words "© ROYAL DOULTON TABLEWARE LIMITED" also appear.

1984

This backstamp is the same as the previous backstamp, however, the words "© ROYAL DOULTON (UK)" replace "© ROYAL DOULTON TABLEWARE LIMITED".

1985

This backstamp is the same as the previous backstamp, except the registered trade symbol is added to the words "Royal Doulton" under the Royal Doulton mark.

1986 - current

This backstamp is the same as the previous backstamp, however, the words "© ROYAL DOULTON" replace "© ROYAL DOULTON UK".




Last updated: 06/29/2005

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