Madelena Antiques

Majolica Pottery - DISCOVER

Majolica Mark

Majolica - REAL

Majolica - Real or Reproduction?

When we talk about 'real' majolica, we are refering to Majolica made between 1850 and about 1930. Below, we discuss the the distinctions and differences between 'real', 'modern' and 'reproduction' majolica.

Real Majolica

Majolica continued to be produced well into the 20thC in the USA. In Europe several makers continued production including Sarreguemines. In England Wedgwood produced re-runs of popular table wares using non-lead based glazes. Burmantofts Pottery and Shorter Bros also continued with some of their lines.


Majolica made since around 1950 in the style of real majolica, or reproduced, clearly marked with a present day manufacturer's mark. Modern majolica is made with no intention to deceive, and does not pretend to be old.

Reproduction and Fake Majolica

Reproduction, we define as modern (as above), majolica that has been reproduced, but it is being re-sold with the intention to deceive, purporting to be real. Fake majolica has the added deception of being re-sold with fake maker's marks with the intention to deceive, purporting to be made by a known 'real' majolica factory.

The inexperienced buyer should always pause to ask themselves and the vendor:

  • Is it real?
  • Could it be modern, repro or fake?”
  • When was it made?
  • Who made it and where?
  • How do you know?

Vague answers may mean the seller does not know or will not tell.

To detect real from repro for yourself, first look for maker's marks and characteristics. Unhelpfully, very many majolica makers left their wares unmarked. Even top makers often omitted to mark their wares.

So here are some tips, pointers, warning signs to look out for, for when there are no marks or characteristics to guide you, or when you are not 100% confident in the seller. These are only pointers. Exceptions abound. Never judge a piece by one indicator alone.

  • Fake or suspicious marks
  • High value selling cheap
  • No wear and tear
  • Unglazed interiors
  • Thin or less bright glazes
  • 'Fuzzy' modelling; lack of fineness in detail
  • Running glazes
  • 'Wrong' colors
  • Unglazed foot rims

Compare real with repro side by side whenever possible, handle every piece you can ,and you will quickly learn to distinguish one from the other. Collectors and specialist dealers with long experience are seldom fooled.


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