As hard you try to make sure that the porcelain collectibles you buy are the genuine article, there are times that the best precautions can end up being inadequate. For collectors of antique porcelain, there is a lot of reading material out there to help with the buying process, to help stay clear of counterfeit wares. The reason writing about fake porcelain can be an area of so much investigation is that even with all the expert knowledge on your side, there’s no guaranteed way to stay clear of a fake all the time.
You might recall having read in the papers of instances where museums have found themselves on the receiving end of fraud or trickery to do with fake porcelain collectibles and lam bang dai hoc other art. With fakes that are made by real artists and that do the circuit masquerading as the real article, it can often be impossible for even the experts to tell the difference. The worst examples of counterfeit porcelain collectibles are the ones that use handpainted backstamp markings for the clearest effect. Of course, these are far more misleading than all of the pieces that are passed off with no markings at all. These try to pass themselves off on quality and not some fake certification of authenticity.
For instance, Limoges is to porcelain what Bordeaux is to wine. They are both regions in France that are famous for the craftsmanship developed and perfected there. There’s been a deluge of fake Limoges porcelain hitting US shores of late, making its way over here from China. Most people will look at the Limoges badge and imagine that it’s a brand, kind of like Wedgwood or Royal Doulton. Limoges was never a brand though – it was only a mark of having been made in a certain place. Cleverly, Chinese-made porcelain collectibles marked as Limoges have the Made in China mark conveniently placed on the sticker that can be removed by retailers who wish to pass it off as what they are not.
Consider porcelain collectibles with the Occupied Japan mark for instance. These were made after the US, after Pearl Harbor, defeated Japan and occupied the country for a few years. Porcelain made and marked as such has quite a bit of value. Most pieces you see now marked Occupied Japan now however are modern counterfeit products. The only way to really be able to tell the real thing from a fake would be to expose yourself to the nuances of the beauty of all porcelain as much as possible. There is no substitute for real world experience, for handling great porcelain, reading about them, and learning from the experts.