It is advisable to also read all my guides on Lladro porcelain, along with this guide.
The intent of this guide is to offer collectors and potential collectors some best practice and advice.
As a collector these are my views – you may not agree with all of them!
Lladro v Nao
Before beginning a collection of Spanish porcelain it is worth spending some time getting to grips with the differences between Lladro, Nao (sometimes termed “Nao by Lladro”) and the other Spanish brands that you will find (e.g. Nadal, Golden Memories, Nalda, Zaphir, Hispania, Rosal, Tang, and Cascades).
By studying the various Spanish porcelain products you will soon see that there is a vast difference in quality between Lladro and all the other “wannabes”.
There isn’t any thing wrong per se in collecting Nao items (or the other wannabes) if that is all you can afford or it suits your style. However, the Lladro range is absolutely way ahead in the quality stakes. There by a better investment for the future.
Unfortunately, there is confusion because Nao is a sub-brand of Lladro and often Nao items are seen on eBay listed as Lladro. Most of the time sellers probably do not know that they are wrongly listing Nao as Lladro and misleading buyers; on the other hand there are some sellers who perpetuate the deception and try to add more value to their Nao items.
As a Lladro collector I shun all other products and would consider anything else as inferior.
Top Tips to ensure you only buy Lladro items:-
1. Check the piece number and description against the Lladro web site.
2. Always check a photo of the base, if it has the trademark with the full bellflower – you are safe.
3. Take great care not to be deceived in to buying a Nao item when you are collecting Lladro.
Lladro Style/ look alike/ similar / type
You will see listings of items that purport to be comparable to real Lladro. They will say things like Lladro style, Lladro look alike, similar to Lladro, Lladro type, from Valencia etc etc….ignore them all.
Top Tip to ensure you only buy Lladro item:-
1. If it isn’t Lladro – it isn’t Lladro!
Lladro Bellflower Trademark
The Lladro trademarks are well documented in other guides and elsewhere, so I am not going to repeat detail here. Only the very early Lladro pieces use trademarks prior to the blue bellflower.
Remember it is a bellflower – the local plant of the Valencia region. A sure sign of a novice is someone who calls it a tulip, flower, feather or anything else.
Top Tips when talking about the trademark:-
1. Always call it the bellflower
2. Always view a photo of the base with the full trademark clearly defined.
3. If a seller says it has the Lladro trademark, still confirm that it is the full trademark with the bellflower. Read on to the next paragraph to see why this is important.
SecondsWarning -there are lots of second quality Lladro items in circulation. There has been a massive supply to the secondary market from Lladro Outlets and unscrupulous sellers, sometimes from Spain (or imported from Spain). There are also outlets in the USA.
Other guides and articles have covered how and why seconds have come on to the market. So, again I’m not going to repeat this information.
Let me be absolutely clear – seconds are fine if that is what you want in your collection and all you can afford. You will also have accepted that the item you have bought has little value on the secondary market (if any value at all!).
Serious collectors do not want seconds in their collection. I consider myself diligent when it comes to authentication, however even I have nearly been deceived more than a few times.
Seconds are quite clearly identified by virtue of not having that all important bellflower. They will be clearly defaced where the bellflower has been scratched away.
The big issue with seconds is really the sellers who market them as first quality i.e. they don’t mention that it is a second!
I have seen items for sale with photos of the base that were sufficiently blurred (intentionally I guess) to make it look like the trademark was complete and that of a first quality.
Recently, I saw an item with a photo that clearly showed that it was a second, with the seller describing the item as stunning, perfect etc and not mentioning that the item was a second quality. The seller has a 100% feedback on over 11,000 feedback points. I wrote to this seller telling them that the item was a second and should be for sale as such – my message was ignored. The item went on to receive 29 bids and realised over £52 – so there are a lot of people buying with little knowledge and one sorry individual bought an item that is worth less (and to a collector worthless, I would not have even paid £2 for it, let alone £52!).
Top Tips on seconds:-
1. If you want a second then accept that it has no investment potential and is worth less.
2. Check that bellflower and don’t trust anyone (not even a seller with a 100% feedback rating).
3. If you suspect an item is a second, tell the seller – certainly don’t bid! Unless you really want a valueless second!
Tinkling noise/something loose insideI have seen some listings on eBay where the seller describes a tinkling sound when their item is just shaken. This isn’t a fault and is quite normal. Think about the breathing hole in the base – what happens to the small plug?
1. Worry about something else!
As found (A/F)This phrase used in some Lladro item titles should sound the alarm bell for any collector. Any item purchased on eBay is sold “as is” or “as found” – it is always the case of “buyer beware”. Sellers using this phrase in their description are really saying some thing like..”it’s fake, it’s damaged…if you find a fault buddy you ain’t gonna get a refund”.
1. Avoid listings with this expression or find out what the seller really means.
Value of damaged items.
How often do you read an eBay listing for a Lladro piece you could be interested in that says “stunning, excellent condition blah blah” and then you read on…accept missing some fingers, petals etc. I have a clear message “if there is any damage – it isn’t stunning or excellent!!”
Lladro is a delicate collectible and can very easily sustain damage. I have read that the value of a damaged item can be reduced by 75%. Even if the item is extremely rare and/or was very valuable or has great sentimental value then a seller should consider that the financial value has been reduced by 100% to £zero !
As a collector there are almost always perfect, undamaged examples of the same item to be had even if it means waiting.
Top Tips regarding damaged items:-
1. To a serious collector damaged items have little value (or no value whatsoever).
2. Owners of damaged items should consider a “write off” or the alternative of restoration.
Daisa (or Daisy!) and the dateIt is often obvious when this word is used in a listing that the seller does not know what Daisa stands for. Simply put, you can just substitute “copyright” for “Daisa”. That is the date the design of the item was copyrighted – it doesn’t mean the date of production. So, you might see Daisa 1978, production may have started in 1979 and still be in production (not retired), so the item may have been manufactured in any year from 1979 to present!
Some sellers seem to use this “Daisa” date to imply age and therefore rarity.
Top Tip on dates:-
1. Use the piece number to look up the item on the Lladro site, this will give you the issue date and tell you when the item was retired or whether it is still in production.
2. Consider the Daisa date as interesting, but not an indication of actual age.
I hope you have found this guide useful - please take a look at my other guides on Lladro.