Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I determine what pattern I have?
A: It is estimated there are over 30,000 patterns or variations of patterns produced by the Haviland firms. About 6,000 of these have been identified and numbered in a series of catalogs by the Schleigers. Check your local library.
Q: I can’t find the Schleiger books. Can anyone help?
A: We can try to identify your pattern on-line. For directions go to Pattern I.D.
Q: What is the name of my pattern?
A: Only a few hundred of the thousands of Haviland patterns produced were given names by the manufacturers. Sometimes common names have been given to patterns by collectors and later writers.
Q: What is a good reference book on Haviland?
A: The basic book we recommend is Celebrating 150 Years of Haviland There are other good books that can be found on the Publications page
Q: Where can I find more extensive information about Haviland?
A: Our archives at the University of Iowa library. A list of articles can be found at this Web site.
Q: How can I find how much my Haviland is worth?
A: There is no official price guide for Haviland. Price is determined by the rarity of the pattern and its popularity. Some very old unique pieces bring high prices while complete sets that are very common will bring much less. There are several dozen popular patterns that are quite popular and in high demand. Today’s “market” for Haviland is on eBay. Do a “Haviland” search to get some idea of value.
Q: What if I want to sell mine or buy more?
A: We can send you a list of members who are dealers. Request it at Contact/Questions .
Q: I have this beautiful painted plate with some initials on the reverse. Can you tell me who the artist is?
A: You probably have a hand-painted item. These are items we cannot identify. China painting began as a popular hobby over 100 years ago and still continues today. Sometimes retailers of Haviland had professional painters add designs or monograms. Some of the work was obviously done by amateurs. Most Haviland collectors are interested in specific factory-decorated patterns and consequently hand-painted items by hobbyists do not have much value to them.
Q: How can I tell how old my Haviland is?
A: It’s difficult to be specific but we do know of patterns that were made during certain eras. Many patterns were “open stock” and produced for dozens of years. One clue is the backmark, the names on the bottom of the china. Different imprints were used in certain periods. One of the Haviland reference books can help you.
Q: What do the marks on the bottom of the china mean?
A: Backmarks give the name of the manufacturer and, if there are two backmarks, the second indicates that the item was factory-decorated as contrasted to being hand-painted by the owner. There are many varieties of backmarks and sometimes they are helpful in dating. Celebrating 150 Years of Haviland has a chart that will help you. Several of the common marks are shown below. For questions about backmarks which include retailer’s store names see Backmark Information. In some cases there is a factory number which may be helpful in identification.
Q: What is a blank?
A: The plain whiteware comes in several dozen different shapes. To help with identification, blanks have been numbered in the Schleiger system.
Q: Is all Limoges china Haviland?
A: No. Limoges is the city in France near the deposits of kaolin (very white clay) from which porcelain was made. There were many china manufacturers in the area and thus the label “Limoges” appears on many products. Haviland was actually a latecomer in the field.
Q: Aren’t there several different Havilands?
A: Yes. The Haviland collectors organization is primarily interested in china and pottery made by David and Charles Haviland (also known as H&Co., Haviland & Co.), Charles Field Haviland (CFH), and Theodore Haviland – firms that had their origin in France.
Q: Is my Haviland dishwasher safe?
A: The high temperature at which the china was fired after the glaze was put on makes it durable for occasional automatic dish washing. However it is not advisable to put the china in the dishwasher if it has any gold on it.
Q: What can you tell me about my Johann Haviland china?
A: Except for very old pieces, this is lower quality china made by a relative of the Havilands in Bavaria, Germany. The company was sold after a short period of time, though the name was retained, and has been under various owners, currently the Rosenthal conglomerate. Frequently servicemen in Germany after WW2 found it in PXs at a very low price, and thinking they were getting real French Haviland, sent sets home. It was also used as grocery store premiums.