from my Stack of Teapot Books
About Hallmarks..."Who made this teapot".
Here's some information about the six basic types of marks you may find on the bottom of your teapot or tea cup. A piece may have one or a combination of marks. There are other marks that can help you determine the age of the piece. They are not mentioned on this page. These marks simply help you identify the Maker of the piece and may hint at the age.
Hallmarks can be stamped on with ink either on top of or under the glaze. This is called Backstamping. The stamp smear or wear off. Here are some examples.
These marks are scratched into the clay by hand. These marks may or may not show up on the bottom after firing because the glaze has filled the voids. Hand made marks may be illegible or personal to the maker. Here are some examples.
These marks are pressed into the clay by hand or by machine. These marks can be felt and are usually visible. They are not normally obscured by the glaze. Here are some examples.
These marks are part of the mold itself. Depending on the detail of the bottom mold they may or may not be prominent. These marks can be felt and quite often ring the bottom of the piece. They also may appear in combination with other types of marks. Here are some examples.
Painted on Marks
These marks are individually done, freehand or stenciled. Usually done by a craft potter, there are times when a larger/commercial potter will have hand signed marks on pieces. Hand marks often done in gold/gold paint are done after firing, on top of the glaze and can wear off. Here are some examples.
Paper Label Marks
These are stuck onto the bottom of the piece. The problem with labels is that they wear/wash off in time. Some of the newer labels are clear. Here are some examples.