Bavarian china is a type of fine porcelain produced in the German region of Bavaria. Dinnerware, like plates and cups, is usually hand-painted with delicate floral patterns, and figurines are also common. Learn a few important things about this collectible porcelain, including its origins and what to look for if you want to purchase a piece.
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Bavarian china is produced in the German region of Bavaria and is characterized by pastels, florals, and soft edges.
What Is Bavarian China?
Bavarian china has been produced in Bavaria, now the largest state in Germany (once the sovereign state of Bavaria), from the late 18th century onward. It is a hard, thin, almost translucent porcelain made from a white paste containing kaolin clay that was fired for a long time at high temperatures. Although Bavarian and other types of porcelain have "china" in their name, Bavarian china does not actually come from China. It is because this type of porcelain originated in the country of China.
Like many other types of European porcelain (such as Dresden china or Meissen porcelain), Bavarian china is decorated with hand-painted floral patterns, soft colors, and gold gilt highlighting. It sometimes has frilly or wavy edges. In addition to plates, cups, and bowls, you can find jugs and figurines, like decorative shoes and dancing girls, made from Bavarian china. Bavarian china tends to be softer in color than some other types of European porcelain, which appeals to some people's tastes.
Sometimes the names of manufacturers, or abbreviations of them, can be found stamped on the bottom of the item in a crest or other identifying mark. Some companies that make Bavarian china include Alboth & Kaiser, Arzberg, Kaiser, Fraureuth Porcelain, and Heinrich.
What to Look for When Buying Bavarian China
Some Bavarian china is collectible and valuable, but not all. Some pieces are antique, out of production, and rare, while other types are still being made and are thus much easier to find and cheaper to buy brand new in regular department stores, like Sears.
Before buying Bavarian china, ask yourself whether you're buying it because you like it and want to add it to your home or because you want to invest in an antique. If the latter, it's important to do some research on the best types to buy. Bavarian china that is rare, discontinued, and in good condition is likely to be much more valuable than newer, mass-produced items. Items are also more valuable if they're stamped with the crest of an identifiable manufacturer.
Prices can vary a lot among sellers, so shop around to find the best deals. For example, the price of a discontinued dinner plate made by one of the best-known manufacturers can be priced anywhere from $49 to $189. Place settings consisting of multiple items could cost between $495 and $1,350 or more.