When trying to decide the most valuable Lenox china collections, there are a few factors which should be taken into consideration: is this collection still available to purchase through Lenox? If so, is value based on current price? Or if the piece discontinued, is the value based solely on its obscurity? Putting all of these questions into context, we will discuss several aspects: the most costly of Lenox’s current services, obscure historical collections, and the types of china which fetch the highest prices.
While perusing Lenox’s website, one will find almost immediately that there is a wide spectrum where price is concerned. From the high-end items all the way to clearance-marked specials, a person working with any budget could reasonably find a quality piece of china. But let’s focus on those high-end items. Which services are at the peak? Funny enough, it is not the contemporary pieces that fetch those top spots. It is the vintage throwbacks, the pieces based on some of the first Lenox patterns to ever be released. For example, both the Westchester and the Lowell patterns (released in 1915 and 1917, respectively) feature opulent bands of etched gold, surrounding the ivory center—a style reminiscent of the era in which they were originally created.
One pricey pattern features a more contemporary design; however, it is a spinoff of an original, as well. The Tuxedo pattern was created in 1912, again with the gold accents. Lenox followed up with Tuxedo Platinum in 1997, a similar pattern but with the more modern platinum accents.
While these pieces are valuable as new additions, there are certain pieces which carry even more value for their historical relevance. Across the span of Lenox China’s existence, it has occasionally employed well-known artists to design patterns. One of the early artists was William Morley, who hand-painted patterns for Lenox around the turn of the twentieth century. Today, these pieces are coveted for their rare nature. Also, collectibles with early marks—such as steins, vases, lamp bases, pitchers, and jugs—are notably hard to obtain.
Pieces with markings such as “Ceramic Art Company” and “Lenox Belleek” will bring a high resale value. Additionally, pieces produced during the years of 1942 to 1946 are extremely rare, as Lenox drastically reduced its output during this time to help with the war effort. In order to figure out the year, look at the bottom of the piece, at the date code. There will be a letter, followed by a number between 300 and 500. If that letter is “T,” you will know it was produced during these years.
Last but not least, the type of china which will be undoubtedly pricey (regardless of whether the pieces are current or discontinued) is bone china. Due to its costly production and imported materials, it has always maintained a high price, but more than makes up for it in quality. The porcelain (made with real bone) is extremely strong, despite being so thin it borders on translucent.
April 1, 2011