You may have seen blue willow china before, and just don’t know how to identify it. Blue Willow is an old Chinese story about two star-crossed lovers, a girl and a boy who is a servant for the girl’s father, who is a mandarin. The two lovers are forbidden to be together because of their social status; this story has commonly been depicted on china dishware.
Authentic Blue Willow china from the 1700s can be worth up to $5,000. Inexpensive pieces or pieces that have been made more recently are usually worth under $200. Today, Blue Willow dishware is most commonly sold for a few hundred dollars, but you can still hunt down the more valuable dish pieces.
If you’re at all curious about the value of blue willow china, or you want to know why this Chinese story is popularly displayed on China, this article will answer your questions.
What is Blue Willow China?
The Blue Willow pattern’s story
As explained above, the story of blue willow china comes from a Chinese tragedy in which two lovers are forbidden to be together. The lovers escape their lives in order to live a life of love together but are eventually both brutally murdered.
The legend goes that the gods are touched by the love story, and transform the lovers into a pair of beautiful doves. They can then be together in peace and are no longer viewed as unequal because of their social classes.
The history of blue willow china
The blue willow story became very popular in Chinese culture, and the first depiction of the blue willow scene is estimated to have originated around the 1780s. Historians believe that the first blue willow china product came from the company Spode, a pottery company still active today.
Since the first blue willow china pieces and sets began to be produced, they have only increased in popularity, resulting in their still increasing value today. [Source]
Which Blue Willow China is Worth Money?
What makes blue willow china valuable?
Blue Willow china is valuable according to its authenticity. When collectors look for blue willow china, they want to find rare pieces and sets that are English-made and come from before 1820, so ideally made somewhere in between 1780-1820. [Source]
The reason that blue willow china from this forty-year time frame is valuable is that after blue willow china became a must-have, it was mass-produced, naturally resulting in a lowered quality of manufacturing.
If blue willow china is from before the period of mass-production in the U.S., Japan, and China, it is more durable, and of much better quality than the later products, making it worth much more.
Which blue willow china pieces are the most valuable?
Naturally, pieces of blue willow china that are harder to come across, such as coffee pots, covered dishes, or otherwise unique items, are more valuable than standard dishes such as plates or cups. [Source]
Is unmarked blue willow china worth anything?
You can get money by selling unmarked blue willow china. It is obviously easier to verify and sell marked vintage blue willow china, but you can sell unmarked blue willow china. When it comes to blue willow china, buyers focus more on the quality of the piece and its uniqueness.
Is mass-produced blue willow china worth selling?
If your blue willow china was manufactured in the 1900s, you can likely get $10-$30 for a piece, depending on what it is; if that’s worth the effort to you, go for it. There are plenty of buyers looking for all types of blue willow china.
Additionally, however, the value also depends on the manufacturing country. For example, an English-made little blue willow creamer from around 1900 sells for roughly $25. An English-made blue willow coffee pot from 1990 sells for a solid $30.
If you take the same time frame and try to sell American-made blue willow china, you’re going to make much less of a profit. Just to give you an idea, an American-made little blue willow restaurant creamer from roughly 1960 to 1970 is only worth $10, in contrast to the 1900’s English-made creamer that was sold for $25. [Source]
How Much is My Blue Willow China Worth?
Is your blue willow china authentic?
If you’re looking to sell your blue willow china, in order to have an accurate idea of how much you can sell it for, you need to verify its authenticity. There is a set of criteria of what blue willow china must have in the depiction of the Blue Willow scene in order to be genuine blue willow china.
Authentic blue willow china will have a pattern that includes the following: a willow tree; a bridge with men on it; a fence; a boat; some type of temple, palace, or pagoda; and two birds flying together in the air.
Where was your blue willow china made?
Assuming that you’ve verified that your china has a true blue willow pattern, next you should find out where it was manufactured. Again, if your blue willow china is English-made, I recommend selling it. English-made blue willow china is worth the most.
If you have somehow scored a piece of blue willow china that’s English-made and from the late 1700s to early 1800s, that’s the highest selling combination for blue willow china. Make sure that you get your money’s worth with gems like that. [Source]
This type of blue willow china can vary in value as well. To give you an idea of how valuable these pieces can be, I just found an early 19th century (early 1800s) English-made blue willow platter being sold for about $630.
How much is a blue willow plate worth?
The only blue willow plates that are worth selling are English-made plates. Standard dinner plates that are English-made blue willow china will sell for generally just about $10. You can get much more than that for a plate that’s not part of a set.
How much is a Churchill blue willow plate worth?
Churchill blue willow has a complicated history. However, if it is actually marked “Churchill” then it likely wasn’t produced til after 1990. Churchill Blue Willow dinner plates, bowls, cups and saucers can be found individually in the $8-20 price range, dinner sets usually sell for around $149 – $229 price range, and specialty items such as teapots and cake stands, sell for between $59 to several hundred dollars.
What is the most valuable blue and white china?
Valuable white china patterns
When it comes to white china, essentially any authentic china manufactured from Copenhagen, Lenox, or Spode that dates back to the 19th century (the earlier the better) is what’s most valuable today. [Source]
Valuable blue china patterns
A few of the most valuable blue china patterns, dating from 1840 to 1910 are:
- Argyle pattern by W.H. Grindley (1896)
- Watteau pattern by John & Wm. Adams, Doulton (1890-1910)
- Scinde pattern by John & George Alcock (1840)
- Cashmere pattern by Ridgway & Francis Morley (1850-1860)
- Amerillia pattern by Podmore, Walker & Co. (1850) [Source]