A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Monday, October 7, 2013

Collectable Majolica Butter Pats

A few years ago, when the price of majolica was a its peak, collecting majolica butter pats was as expensive, if not more expensive, than collecting majolica plates or platters. It was not uncommon to see these tiny plates bring several hundred dollars a piece at auctions and antique shows. Since then the market has leveled out quite a bit and the prices of most pats has come down from the astronomical levels of that time to a somewhat more reasonable level. That's not to say that you won't still come across pats that command high prices because you will but unlike then, you can still put together a nice little collection of butter pats without mortgaging the house.

Butter pats, also referred to as butter chips, are tiny little plates used at the well set Victorian table to hold butter. Like everything else, Victorians had a special serving piece to hold your butter, the butter pat. They were made in all kinds of ceramic bodies and can be found in transfer ware, flow blue, ironstone, etc. of which the most colorful were majolica.

Every major majolica manufacturer made them and the variety can be staggering.


Wedgwood


George Jones


Adams & Bromley


Joseph Holdcroft


Wedgwood


Etruscan


Wedgwood


George Jones


Holdcroft


Fielding


Etruscan


Fielding


Eureka


Etruscan


Tenuous


Wedgwood


Tenuous


Copeland


Holdcroft


Etruscan


Etruscan



Wedgwood


Tenuous


Samuel Lear


George Jones


Etruscan



Fielding


Joseph Holdcroft


Etruscan



Samuel Lear

So what constitutes a collectable, desirable butter pat? Just about anything! Like in any other type of majolica color, condition, design and rarity will affect the price. Name manufacturers also affect price. The two colorful Jones pats shown above can command prices of $250-$400. Colorful Wedgwood and Holdcroft pats generally bring around $100-$200 on the retail level, as do some of the more desirable Fielding and Etruscan pats. The others generally bring in the $25-$100 range.

The majority of majolica pats that are fresh to the market will require cleaning. The fat inside the butter will discolor the pat significantly. You should either clean them yourself using hydrogen peroxide and great care with the directions we supplied in this blog or have a professional restorationist do it for you. Only then can the full beauty of the majolica colors shine through.

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