Royal Doulton Collectors Club
Royal Doulton Marks and Backstamps
In 1872, the "Royal Doulton" mark was used on all wares from the company. The Royal Doulton mark has been used since 1902 and is still in production today. In 1912-13, Charles Noke launched a new group of Royal Doulton figures. The first figure was HN1, "Darling" in honor of Queen Mary.
Beginning in 1913, a HN number was used on all wares. This HN number refers to artist/designer Harry Nixon of Royal Doulton. Harry Nixon was an artist in charge of painting the figures. Other artists included John Sparkes, George Tinsworth, Arthur Barlow, and Agnete Hoy among others. The HN numbers were chronological until 1940, after which time blocks of numbers were assigned to each modeler of the figures.
From 1928 to 1954, a small number was placed to the right of the crown's mark on all items made between those years. This number (the one at the right of the crown's mark) when added to the year 1927 will give you the year of manufacture of a particular piece. Most collectors like to know when their Royal Doulton figures were made. Sometimes it is possible to identify the exact year of manufacture, but in most cases it is only possible to be accurate within a band of likely dates.
In the 1930's doulton had decided that they would start registering there designs to stop them being copied. They registered then with the UK patent office and often resulted in registration number id printed underneath the backstamp. The year the jug was registered can be worked out from the table numbers published with the patent office. Most cases registration was a year before the jug went into production. It should be noted to all buyers and collectors that the registration number does not give the date of manufacture for a specific piece but only when the design was first protected.
A date coding system was introduced in the late 1920s. The coding was very simple and it is the only way of being sure of a figure's exact year of manufacture. The coding consisted of a numeral being printed beside the Royal Doulton backstamp. By adding this number to the base year, 1927, the year of manufacture can be obtained. Roman Numerals were used until 1930 and Arabic numerals thereafter. However, this date coding system seems to have been discontinued by the 1950s.
Sometimes it is possible to detect other numbers impressed in the base of some figures. One set of numbers will be the model number (not the same as the HN number), and another set of numbers will look like a date (e.g. 2.32). The latter number is a date, but not necessarily the date the figure was made. It is the date that the mold from which the figure was cast was made. As molds quickly wear out, this date is more than likely to be the same date as the date of manufacture.
Royal Doulton has changed the style of marking their figures on a number of occasions over the years. The Royal Doulton "lion and crown" mark has remained more or less constant, but the form in which other information is presented has changed. By knowing the production dates of a particular figure and also the dates the markings changed, it is possible to be a little more specific as to the year of manufacture. It is worth remembering that although it is often stated that certain pre-war figures ceased production "by 1949", production often ended long before this date. The year 1949 was taken as a convenient cut off point, but in fact figure production was phased out rather than coming to a halt as the war time restriction of decorative china production took hold. Therefore some figures introduced in the mid to late 1930s had a very short production run. Many were discontinued as early as 1940.
The Royal Doulton Stamp is an important piece of information when you are deciding to purchase, bid or make an offer for.
This is what you need to know: From 1902 to 1920, Royal Doulton had the HN number, the figurine name, and any artist identification of style Hand Written with the Log saying only Royal Doulton England. From 1920 to 1930 the HN number, figurine name and style were still hand written, but the logo now says Made In along with Royal Doulton England. From 1932 until 1945, the figurine name is printed along with registration number, but the HN number is still hand written and the the works Bone China is added to the logo. From 1945 until 1959 the markings are the same as from 1932 - 1945, but the painters initials are added hand written and the logo crown has more spikes. From 1959 till present day, the logo crown is back to 5 points and the figurine name, HN number, and registration numbers are all printed. The only way someone can tell you the exact date a figurine was made is if a small number is directly to the right of the logo crown, then add that number to 1927 and you will know the exact date made.
In 1920, Mr Leslie Harradine joined Doulton and was the primary designer for many years. By the 1950's to the 1970's, nearly all the figures were modelled by Peggy Davies who specialized in Pretty Ladies figurines and Mary Nicholl who contributed to many of the Character series.