Our Abruzzo Treasure – Updated

In early 2008, I wrote a blog about a number of old plates we’d found while exploring the original ruined properties that were on our site.

As you can see from the picture, they’d been piled up in a corner and basically just been left sitting there getting filthier in the 30-odd years the house had been left abandoned.

What our plates looked like

Some were broken – but most weren’t. They cleaned-up beautifully and are now back in everyday use.

But aside from how they’d come to be there, the really intriguing question concerned the maker’s marks the plates carried.

We got as far as establishing that SC Richard was a Milan-based porcelain factory and hesitantly dating the plates as early/mid-20th century.

 The maker's mark on our plates

And that was about it. Until a week ago, when Tim Naylor in Perth, Western Australia posted this comment:

SC Richards was a Milanese ceramics company that merged with Ginori in 1896.  The merger created the company Ginori Richard, which I believe was Italy’s most productive and prestigious ceramics company until their unfortunate close in 2012.

The fact that your plates has the SC Richard back-stamp, without any reference at all to Ginori, dates your pieces to pre-1896 when this backstamp was discontinued.  The back-stamp itself is of a Griffin with the Milanese flag and the shield that has a Biscione (man eating serpent) on it.

I believe the incised numbers indicate that the plates were produced as a part of a larger single consignment.  The numbers are usually produced incrementally, with the number of the last digit changing for the number produced and the first digit / letters indicating the pattern/shape of the piece.

They are lovely plates, and quite rare.  It’s a great find, and I hope you will keep them with the property as an example of its history.

And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, a little more research revealed that Richard Ginori wasn’t just a ‘prestigious’ porcelain maker – it came to be known as ‘the Ferrari of Italian porcelain makers’.

The absolute best.

 Our plates. Cleaned-up, beautoful - and in daily use

But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing – and answered questions raised others. Not least, how had valuable, Milan-made chinaware ended up abandoned for over 30 years in an Abruzzo ruin ? And how had it got there in the first place ?

Maybe not quite as good as a Da Vinci in the attic, but a special and delightful find. And somehow all the more personal knowing that on the most special occasions over who knows how many years, this china would have been proudly used, loved and admired.

We’re privileged our house presented us with this heirloom.

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  1. Lauren says:

    Wow, that is fabulous. I love finding treasures that make a place that much more special.

  2. Helen says:

    I have a book of Italian pottery marks. The marks are as interesting as the porcelain. And I have the book because I fell in love with vintage Ginori. Naturally, I loved your post. thanks Emiliana for sharing and bringing me to your site.

  3. Mackiee says:

    Hi there, I recently inherited some plates that are the same ones shown as the bottom left and bottom middle on your picture. I have not been able find that pattern anywhere else online. Did you have them appraised at all? And would you be able to share that information, if you did?

    Any information would be much appreciated.



    • villasfor2 says:

      It’s a tricky question to answer. How many plates do you have ? Do they form part of a larger collection in the same pattern ? What sort of condition are they in ? These are factors that’ll have a bearing on their worth.
      A single plate of this pattern in good condition will fetch around €20. A little more perhaps if you were selling a set of – say – 6 or 8; a bit more still if they were part of a complete/near-complete dinner service.
      So while they’re certainly worth more than some plates you might come across in a shop or at an antique fair, they’re not even remotely in the same league as – for eg – Meissen.
      Personally, I just get a buzz out of using mine on a daily basis !

  4. Mackiee says:

    Hi there,

    I have 12 each of the plate and the soup/pasta bowl. I am enjoying doing the research on them. Thank you very much for your prompt reply. Have a wonderful day.


  5. Doug Bell says:

    My partner and I have just moved in to the south of Italy to save her grandparents olive groves from abandonment as they have been left for 10 years since her grandfather passed away. While sorting the family chattels in the home out I came across a very plain white china bowl with the dragon mark that you show for some of your plates. The only difference is beneath the mark is \”11 62\” not \”XI 60\”. Even though this is a very utilitarian item it is beautifully made and perfect to use for a family serving of pasta, the mark has got me even more interested in the piece along with finding on the sides evidence that it was fired while being held in a trivet half way up the curve of the bowl (There are three small breaks in the glaze equally spaced around the sides) This is not something I would expect to find on a more recently produced item. Did you by any chance find anything about the dragon mark as my searches have only brought me to your photo, so far?

    • villasfor2 says:

      Sorry for the delay in replying Doug – the spam filter working a little *too* well…
      Best I can really do is point you towards my two original blogs on the subject: the first and the second.
      ALso the post on this thread with more about the manufacturers – who do seem to have been very well-known and highly regarded

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