For some potteries, this mark identifies not only the maker, brand and/or pattern name but also the year and sometimes the month of manufacture.

Josiah Wedgwood was the first significant potter to mark his china with his own name.

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One of the best online resources for identifying vintage china (and often the first site we consult) is So how do you date pieces that don’t have a mark providing the year of manufacture?

Many potteries changed the format and style of their back stamps several times during their period of operation.

You may find the name (if any) indexed on the websites of china identification or matching services such as Replacements Ltd.

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Most of their pieces are handfinished over a transfer design.

In the 1960s, the Orchard Gold design was introduced, to overcome the cost of the handpainting process.It was at this time that the name "Orchard Gold" was given, to avoid confusion with the earlier handpainted pieces.Many Aynsley patterns do not have names, but usually have a number which may be handwritten on the base.In the 1960s the backstamp colour was changed to blue, although there are some pieces which have marks in pink, or black, or in the same colour as the china. ORCHARD GOLD AND FRUIT PATTERNS There is sometimes confusion about the age of the well-known fruit design.The hand-painted items (like the one illustrated above) were made to compete with Royal Worcester and other manufacturers, and were mainly painted by Doris Jones and Nancy Brunt, who worked at the Aynsley factory from the 1930s to the 1960s.This is really helpful as it means that you can narrow down the date of manufacture to a period of a few years.