Tips for collectors

Do you love Rosenthal porcelain and enjoy finding rare pieces on antique markets, at auctions or in second-hand shops, so that you can complete your collection piece by piece? Maybe you have been taken by the passion for collecting, and you feel like becoming more professional, acquiring expert knowledge and learning to be a real expert in your field. But where to start? Here are some tips and information that we hope will be helpful.

General hints & tips

General tips for collectors

The golden rule for someone who wants to collect porcelain is to be informed, then buy. Useful information can normally be obtained from specialist trade literature, see bibliography. Should the appropriate books not be available, then a decent library is likely to have them. Unfortunately there is no trade magazine for porcelain which leaves the interested person to look for publications such as "Antiques journal", "World art" etc. which are also read by the dealer.

It is always recommended to seek out a reliable dealer. By talking to several dealers one develops a sense as to which one gives reasonable answers. One could for instance ask a dealer what one could expect with a budget set at say EUR 5000 or 750 if one wishes to collect dancers.

Purchase at auctions

Anyone who wishes to buy at auctions, needs experience. Initially it is best just to get a feeling by visiting an auction and making yourself familiar with the procedure. Dealers often bid at auctions because, as agents, they see the chance to buy more favourably there. If you bid along with the dealers, it can happen that they have stopped bidding before you have even realised it – this happens very quickly – and you may find yourself stuck with a bid that – in retrospect – may seem far too high. The rule for an auction is to inspect the item beforehand and set oneself a price limit. However, anyone who is familiar with auctions can often buy cheaper than from an antique dealer.

Dating & valuation

The prospective collector should find out when an item originated, how often it was reproduced or taken into production again at a later date. Forms and in particular decorations can change with time (sometimes even from item to item). Changes in form can be the result of technical development. It can be of great importance to know whether an article was taken into the "Classic Collection" in recent decades. Whilst such re-issues reflect the popularity of an object they have, however, much less value than an item from the original production. Some models have appeared in various sizes. It is not always easy in this case to find out special details.

The collector of Rosenthal porcelain – still – enjoys the knowledge that up to now no forgeries have come to light. But do look for damage. A respectable dealer will stand by his goods even after the sale. Whiteware poses a special problem. For instance there exists whiteware such as the Rosenthal figurines from Klimsch, Schliepstein, Steeger and Wenck which was never painted and that is held in the highest regard because it is whiteware. All other objects e.g. all Art-deco-porcelain are held to be approximately 50% less valuable as whiteware than the decorated article.


Anyone with a larger collection should always archive data on his objects, take colour photographs and take out a house contents insurance of, initially, up to EUR 150,000 and anything above that a special art insurance.

Translated from "Rosenthal Service, Figuren, Zier- und Kunstobjekte", Dieter Struss with kind permission of Battenberg Verlag, Augsburg Germany

Tips on collecting sets

Tips on collecting sets

Two very different customer groups buy service-sets. The larger groups buy them for use and the other, smaller, group collects service-sets to display them in their glass cabinets. The second groups consists of hobby collectors who, for the moment, are quite happy with service-sets or parts thereof which show that they have been used. There is always a chance that one can change it at a later time for a better preserved example. The question of how high a price to pay for a service or for a single piece depends on many factors.

An important factor is always the rarity. Not only is the model itself important but also its decoration. A certain model can have been produced many times, but it does not always carry the decoration XYZ and therefore the model with such a special decoration is more valuable than any other mass produced decoration. The rule of thumb for a "normal" widely produced service from any time after the second world war with a "normal" printed decoration is: half the price of a new comparable service that is DM 30 to DM 100 per place setting regardless as to whether the accessories (tea- and coffee-pots, lidded bowls, tureens) are still in existence.

The difficulty is to locate the original production figures. This is normally a question of experience which, apart from noted collectors, only a few serious dealers have. However, less experience is needed to establish whether a service is complete. Services are considered complete consisting of twelve, or at least six, cups and plates. An incomplete service e.g. with only five cups is of course considerably less valuable than a complete one. Age, as is widely thought, is not always proof of high value.

Some Rosenthal services have been produced for many decades with the appropriate decoration. It is comparatively easy to find out the production year by means of the stamps but, nevertheless, the item researched can still have been produced unchanged for some time afterwards. In such cases only the experience of a collector or dealer will help.

For anyone who wishes to start collecting, it is recommended that he initially start by concentrating on a certain time or on the signed pieces of a certain artist. A good start would be with coffee pots which somehow have "survived" and are therefore favourably priced.

Translated from "Rosenthal Service, Figuren, Zier- und Kunstobjekte", Dieter Struss with kind permission of Battenberg Verlag, Augsburg Germany

Our trademarks in the course of time

The trademarks of Rosenthal

Over the course of its more than 140 year history and its rapid expansion, Rosenthal has used almost innumerable brand identification marks. Nevertheless, experts are still able to authenticate Rosenthal items unequivocally, and sometimes are even able to identify a product’s year of manufacture.

However, the following list is intended simply to illustrate the continuity in brand development and to provide assistance in helping to make initial, rough chronological classifications.


2000 - today

1957 - 1999

1934 - 1956

1907 - 1933

1891 - 1906

1887 - 1891

Rosenthal studio-line

The Rosenthal Studio-Line has a worldwide reputation for avant-garde and sophisticated design. Famous artists and designers from across the globe have designed contemporary porcelain sets, unique accessories and porcelain and glass gift articles for the Rosenthal Studio-Line. In addition to its porcelain collections the Rosenthal Studio-Line also offers high quality cutlery series and glass collections. The brand is targeted at an audience which is enthusiastic about design and art, and open for modern, innovative product ideas.

The Studio-Line claim has always been, and still is today, to transfer modern design to tabletop culture and interior design. Famous designers have translated their individual conceptions of innovative, sophisticated and functional design into Rosenthal collections, united by the commission to create “Originals of their Time”. With the Studio-Line introduced in the 1950s, Rosenthal assumed a forerunner role in the industry. The Studio-Line has made design history up until the current time and initiated far-reaching trends.

1999 - today

1961 - 1999

Rosenthal Tradition

Traditional values are in demand again. As a central element of our society they are today experiencing a major renaissance. Needs such as reassurance, security and harmony are reflected in traditional family celebrations, weddings or official banquets. The Rosenthal Tradition brand is constantly reinterpreting the classic moments in life through its products. An elegant dinner service and beautiful gifts in crystal or porcelain – created with imagination and pleasure in first-class craftsmanship – combine tradition and innovation to create items of lasting value.

Former brand names:

  • Rosenthal classic rose
  • Rosenthal classic

1991 - 2002

1983 - 1991

1974 - 1982

diVino by Rosenthal

DiVino glasses by Rosenthal offer clear aesthetics for connoisseurs and aficionados. The glasses are delicate and thin-walled, but dishwasher-safe and hassle-free. The variety of glass designs makes DiVino the ideal accompaniment for all porcelain ranges.

1995 - today

The Rosenthal meets Versace trademarks

The collaboration with Versace, the Milan fashion house, began in 1992 under the leadership of Gianni Versace. He aimed to realise his concept of a Versace Lifestyle and found Rosenthal to be the perfect partner. Gianni Versace’s original vision can still be found in the “Rosenthal meets Versace” designs which are now in the hands of his sister, Donatella Versace, who is the Creative Director.

2007 - today

1992 - 2007

Thomas trademarks

Fritz Thomas founded the "Porzellanfabrik Thomas & Ens" in 1904 in the Upper Franconian town of Marktredwitz. Only four years later, Rosenthal took over the porcelain factory, renamed as "F. Thomas, Marktredwitz". In 1960, for reasons of space, porcelain production in the Thomas factory Marktredwitz was discontinued. In the same year, the new factory "Thomas am Kulm" was inaugurated in Speichersdorf, Upper Franconia. The Italian architect Marcello Morandini designed the facade of the low-rise building in 1984, using geometric patterns. Today, the Thomas Collection is made in the Thomas am Kulm factory in Speichersdorf and in the Rosenthal am Rothbühl factory in Selb.

However, the following list is intended simply to illustrate the continuity in brand development and to provide assistance in helping to make initial, rough chronological classifications.

2009 - today

1998 - 2009

1978 - 1998

1957 - 1977

1953 - 1956

1907 - 1952

1904 - 1907

Hutschenreuther trademarks

Carolus Magnus Hutschenreuther, the 20-year old porcelain painter, set the foundations for the first private porcelain factory in Hohenberg, North-East Bavaria in 1814. During the initial period, pipe bowls and ornate cups without handles as well as fruit bowls and cake plates were among the bestsellers. From 1859, a second factory was developed in Selb under the leadership of his son, Lorenz Hutschenreuther, and equally astonished both the industry and customers with its numerous innovations. In 1969, the two independent factories Lorenz Hutschenreuther and Carl Magnus Hutschenreuther were merged into Hutschenreuther AG. The unified trademark features the lion of Lorenz Hutschenreuther designed by Professor Paul Klee in 1919, along with the date 1814, which was the year of the foundation of C.M. Hutschenreuther. Rosenthal acquired Hutschenreuther in the year 2000, adding this high-profile traditional brand to its company portfolio.

However, the following list is intended simply to illustrate the continuity in brand development and to provide assistance in helping to make initial, rough chronological classifications.

2009 - today

1970 - 2009

1968 - 1970

1925 - 1967

1857 - 1920

Price examples for collectors

Price examples for collectors

Put together from various auction catalogues of recent years, listed in alphabetical order of artists. The interested person should be aware that prices in the art- or antique trade may be rather higher.


Bajadere Nr. 71 1921
625,00 €

Perlensucherin Nr. 446
1.000,00 - 1.500,00 €

Überbrettl Nr. 328
1.000,00 - 1.500,00 €

Aschermittwoch Nr. 1040
750,00 - 900,00 €


For animals the rule of thumb – proceed with caution: between EUR 60 up to EUR 400 according to style, colour and size.

Ornamental objects

Deckelvase Nr. 542 1920
750,00 €

Deckeldose (Rokoko-Eislaufszene), H 11 cm um 1921
250,00 €

Ziervase, H 14,5 cm 1927
50,00 €

Weihnachtsteller (Hl. 3 Könige), D 20,3 cm 1911
350,00 €

Table services

Collected in recent years from various sources, listed in alphabetical order of the services, followed where possible – in brackets () – the model number, the name of the Rosenthal factory, of the designer and of the year of first edition. For the following services rule of thumb with some caution is: new price or the last list price (ask the dealer!), but if possible including:

  • Drop (1.282, Werk Selb, Colani, 1971),
  • Lotus (800, Werk Plößberg, Wiinblad / Wirkkala, 1964/67),
  • Zaubersee (limitiert, Wunderlich)

For the following services prices in the china trade and at auctions have varied in recent years for single colours, colour and printed decorations between
75,00 - 500,00 € (coffee service)
100,00 - 750,00 € (dinner service) and
10,00 - 100,00 € (per coffee or dinner place setting).

Prices for elaborately painted decorations or precious metal transfers lay between
125,00 - 1.500,00 € (coffee service)
200,00 - 2.500,00 € (dinner service) and
25,00 - 150,00 € (per coffee or dinner place setting):

  • Berlin (3.000, Werk Kronach, Baumann, 1959)
  • Variation (2.500, Werk Selb, Wirkkala, 1962)
  • Zweitausend (2.000, Werk Selb, Latham/Loewy, 1954)

For the following services prices in recent years fluctuated in the china trade and at auctions between
300,00 - 5.000,00 € (coffee service)
400,00 - 7.500,00 € (dinner service) and
50,00 - 250,00 € (per coffee or dinner place setting)
in the lowest region of optionally exchangeable decorations which all firms have in similar styles such as the gold band, a little above that printed decorations which were copied from one service to another in the upper and uppermost range for handpainted decorations:

  • Donatello alt (250, Werk Selb, Reinstein/Rosenthal, 1905)
  • Tirana/Li (520, Werk Selb, Fleischmann, 1927)

Translated from "Rosenthal Service, Figuren, Zier- und Kunstobjekte", Dieter Struss with kind permission of Battenberg Verlag, Augsburg Germany

Limited art

Limited Art at Rosenthal

Rosenthal entered the path to art at the beginning of the 1960s. In collaboration with famous artists wall reliefs and objects of porcelain were created, which were first presented to the public in 1964 during the third "documenta". The limited art edition has been continued and extended up to now and comprises, next to reliefs and free objects of glass, ceramics or furniture solitaires, also décors designed by artists.

The number of artists Rosenthal has collaborated with just for this project amounts to approximately 100 artists from all over the world. You will find more information in the rubric designer portraits: Designer for Rosenthal.

In 2003 Philip Rosenthal was credited special honours posthumously, when former artist friends designed or dedicated a piece of art to him within the new limited art edition called "Hommage | Philip Rosenthal".

Limited art series PDF



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