Dating old pottery is difficult – especially one that has been in operation for over 200 years such as Wedgwood. Manufacturers were not overly concerned about sticking to ‘rules’ and sex wares interchange marks – using different marks at the same time and using old batches later in the production runs.
This information has been culled from a number of sources – it is given in good faith and believed to be reasonably correct – however if you are going to use it for the basis of valuations, purchases or sales then you must verify it from independent, qualified sources. Among collectors the term Old Wedgwood is taken to refer to wares produced before Josiah’s death in 1795. Old Wedgwood is difficult to date. The first examination is of the piece itself. Old Wedgwood has a character of its own. It is finely crafted and just feels old. It is impossible to convey that quality in either words or photographs.
The next recourse is to the mark. Josiah started marking his production with his name in about 1759, impressing the name into the underside of the article with printer’s movable type. The resulting mark was often uneven and sometime arced. In about 1769 he adopted the familiar mark with the name impressed from a single slug. It was in 1769 that he formed two partnerships, Wedgwood and Bentley produced decorative ware with his good friend, Thomas Bentley. Their production is marked with one or the other of the several versions of the Wedgwood and Bentley mark. Useful wares were produced with his cousin, Thomas Wedgwood and bear the WEDGWOOD mark.
In 1860 the Wedgwood factory started marking its wares with the date of manufacture impressed in each piece as part of a three letter code. The first letter of the code represents the month of manufacture, the second identified the potter who threw the shape and the last letter signifying the year the piece was made starting with 0 for 1860. The series was repeated 4 times. Some assistance in resolving the ambiguity in the two series is provided by the month letter. January, February, April, September, October, November and December are always show by their intial letter. June is always T and August is always W. In 1860-1863 March is M, May is Y and July is V.