Helpful Notes About Portmeirion Condition


Our goal is to make your shopping experience at James Antique as close as possible to 'being there'. The most difficult part of this endeavor is providing a complete description. We are professional sellers of vintage and retired Portmeirion, handle a great deal of it and know what to look for.

Very often, many Portmeirion items have little factory flaws like little dimples or indentations, tiny specs of dust in the glaze, small glaze skips, etc. Just about all plates have stilt marks (little round disturbances in the glaze) on the backside from the manufacturing process. Then, since most of our Portmeirion is retired and most likely used, we also try to note any signs of wear and definitely will detail any damage.

Each piece is inspected under a 250 watt photoflood bulb and under normal daylight. Sometimes, especially on older pieces, we will look over it with a jeweler's loupe and/or soak in water (to detect crazing). But, occasionally we might miss something substantial or our description might not be as you imagined.

We put a great deal of effort into describing each item and since the item description may not meet your expectation, we offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. You only have to let us know within 14 days of receipt and we will refund your money promptly after we receive it. If something was missed in the description, we will also refund your shipping costs both for sending and returning.


Sizes are approximate, but accurate to within 1/4". Liquid capacity is usually present for mugs, cups, casseroles, and other items where appropriate. 


The condition of the transfer will always include comments about:

  • Color

    If a transfer is faded there usually are other severe condition problems as well and do not usually offer such items. However, the newer African Daisy transfer usually has a much brighter orange than older items. We consistently see very bright orange on newer (Crest ID) plates and a more muted (but not necessarily faded) color on older plates. The green foliage usually is about the same green on both older and newer pieces.

  • Cuts

    We often get emails from folks who want to know how much they should have paid for a plate in 'excellent condition', but later found a nasty cut or two that goes all the way through the transfer. We try to avoid selling items with a scratched transfer, however, will always describe and photograph it (if possible). If we offer a piece with a cut transfer, the price is greatly reduced.
  • Anomalies
    • Often, there are little areas of a transfer that are skewed. If we described every little transfer imperfection (and they are very common), we would be writing all day! But, we always describe a skewed transfer if it is large, on the face of a plate, or is the center flower on a dish.
    • Some older transfers commonly have little bubbles and duller or matte glaze over that area. An example are the yellow areas on an oatmeal motif Orchid. These will be described unless they are very minor.
    • It is not at all unusual for leaves in the green laurel to be a little uneven. Often, a leaf is closer to the one on its left and further from the one on its right.
    • Little dimples in the glaze over a transfer are also common. We always describe them if the dimple is not glazed over.

Glazing Conditions


Generally, the older the Portmeirion piece the more likely it is to have crazing (little cracks in the glaze). It is likely caused by temperature changes where the glaze (basically a coating of glass over the pottery) expands at a different rate than the underlying pottery.

Crazing can be 'clean' (with no stains present) or 'dirty' (where stains have started to leach into the glaze cracks). We almost never offer items with dirty crazing, but at a greatly reduced price if we do. Some pieces are too rare to throw away.

We have not tried it, but understand dirty crazing or stains can be eliminated by soaking the piece in 40% hydrogen peroxide (or hair bleach used at the beauty parlor). DO NOT EVER USE HOUSEHOLD BLEACH ON YOUR POTTERY!  It gets under the glaze, never goes away, and will eventually eat away at and ruin the plate.

We find crazing by looking both under a 250w photoflood light and by looking in normal daylight. Very often, we do not notice it under normal lighting conditions, but will be seen in the brighter light. If a piece has an older 1st Trophy ID and does not appear to have crazing, we also soak it in water for a few minutes to be sure.

Crazing by Pattern

Botanic Garden

  • 1st Trophy ID - Very common and almost impossible to find a plate without it.
  • 2nd Trophy ID - Much better chance of finding pieces without it, but would say at least 50% of items have it.
  • Crest ID - Almost no pieces have crazing. Out of many hundreds, We have seen a Christmas Rose pitcher, well used Mexican Lily plate, well used Woody Nightshade plate, and handles on a large Dog Rose casserole.
  • Newest 1st Quality green Portmeirion Oval ID - Never have seen crazing.


  • Brown Goddess Of Fruit ID - Often seen especially on 'well loved' plates. Usually Pomona crazed items do show other signs of use.
  • Pink or Peach Goddess Of Fruit ID - Have seen a few pieces with crazing, but is fairly rare.
  • Newest 1st Quality green Portmeirion Oval ID - Never have seen crazing.
Birds Of Britain

  • 1794 Donovan Backstamp - Crazing is common on the older 'green band' items, especially dinner, salad, and B & B plates. There is still some chance of finding crazing on the newer items with an acorn decoration.
  • Newest 1st Quality green Portmeirion Oval ID - Never have seen crazing.
Other Patterns

Generally, the newer the pattern the less chance there is of seeing crazing. We have never seen crazing on Welsh Dresser, Harvest Blue, Welsh Wild Flowers, Studio Hand-Painted, etc.

The important question about crazing is whether or not it is safe to use for food service. Below are a few other (somewhat technical) articles about crazing and address food usage. Personally, we use our older pieces with crazing quite often for dry foods like sandwiches, chips and cookies. We do not put wet or very moist foods like uncooked chicken or milk on them. We wash them by hand in warm water (not very hot for fear of making the crazing worse) and do not let them sit in the dishwater very long. And, we are still alive!

We found the articles below on the internet and seem to be written by glaze experts. One article mentions using lemon juice or bleach to sanitize dishes. DO NOT USE BLEACH!

Other Glaze Conditions

Stilt Marks

Especially on the back of plates (but some other pieces as well) there usually are three or so little round disruptions in the glaze. These are Stilt Marks and were formed when the plate was made. They are completely normal on pottery, nothing to worry about, and on just about all dinner, salad, and B & B plates have them. We only mention them in the auction description if they are very large or discolored.

Pin Holes

Unfortunately, these little holes in the glaze are very tiny and cannot be seen until they start to stain. The stains are usually circular and brown or orange-brown. When stains appear, then you can see the tiny hole at the center. I do not know if they are there from the day of manufacture or are caused later.

The most common place we see pin holes are on the inside bottom edge of cups and mugs, so we soak all cups and mugs in water to see if any little grey spots show up. We know then that pin holes in the glaze are present. We generally don't offer those for sale.