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I see so many listings on eBay for Lladro pieces (and here I am referring to LLADRO not NAO) with various errors and misinformation.  I do not profess to be an "Expert" but I have been collecting Lladro since the late 1960's/early 1970's so think I have learned a little in that time!!   Probably the most common error is in regard to "Retired" (Discontinued) and "Active" (In current Production) pieces.   Lladro produce their figurines in 3 finishes, Gloss,  Matte and Gres (which is a subject apart from the first two)

So often, the unwary and unknowledgeable Seller turns to a Web site, sees their piece listed, thinks it is Retired, when in fact it is the Matte finish which is retired and the Gloss is still in production.  Does this matter? Well, Yes, it does.  Once a piece retires, the value starts to increase and over the years this can be dramatic.  If it is still being made, the second hand value will always be governed by the Retail price!!  An Example.  Don Quixote No. 4854 Gloss, Active, Retail approx. £139.00  Same piece, No.4854 Matte,  Retired, price guide approx. £205.00  There you can see the difference.  If the seller is unaware of their error, so often the reserve price can be way too high and of  course it can and does lead to the Buyer paying far too much.  I have actually seen Active pieces, listed as Retired and  selling for MORE than their Retail price!!

I am often asked "what do the marks on the base of a piece of Lladro mean?"   The most important part of the mark to look for, is the flower-like symbol which appears first. This has become known over the years as the "TULIP"  although it actually represents a BELLFLOWER which is the symbol for the Province of Valencia, in Spain, home to Lladro.   If this is missing, it has been ground off and signifies a "Second" Quality.  These pieces were and are only available  through the Lladro Factory Shop in Valencia and I believe two, Factory outlets in the USA.   Again you may ask what difference does this make.  Very often even an experienced eye cannot spot the fault BUT a Second quality will never gain in value, it is as it says inferior to it's perfect companion.  There is nothing wrong in buying these pieces if that is all the budget will stretch to, as long as YOU ARE AWARE of what you are buying. Again, I have seen many examples of (unscupulous) Sellers who fail to give this information. If it doesn't tell you in the Listing, or Seller doesn't provide a photo, please ASK THE SELLER THE QUESTION. "Does it have the Full Lladro Backstamp INCLUDING the Tulip Logo?" 

Mention is often made of various other marks impressed, scratched etc., on the base.  These are completely meaningless, have nothing to do with date of manufacture, sculptor etc.  Even Lladro have never been able to tell me what they mean!! 

The earliest pieces known to have been produced by the Lladro Brothers, had an impressed mark only, the Transfer printed one which we are mostly familiar with came into being around 1970.  Unlike many other Manufacturers, Lladro collectors, in the main, do not seem to worry too much about about the age of the piece, with one or two exceptions perhaps.  I have one Collector, who only wants the very earliest pieces but then he has a pocket to match!!

The three finishes are:-

Gloss  - a high shine finish, unmistakeable

Matte - a dull non shiny finish produced in lesser numbers than Gloss

The majority of Lladro's production is in the Gloss finish with many pieces also made in Matte (same figure, just a different finish)

Gres - A much more highly coloured finish, with a sheen, almost like a Satin finish.  Produced by very different methods and clay from the first 2, and generally appealing to a more limited market, although there are Collectors who only buy these pieces.

Now let's tackle the subject of NAO, correctly pronounced NOW.  Is this Lladro??  Decidedly NOT.  The two factories, although under the same umbrella, are quite distinct, although modern Nao pieces do state "NAO BY LLADRO", hence the umbrella!

Another myth to quell instantly is that these pieces are NOT made by Lladro apprentices, despite what others and even television programmes may tell you.   Nao pieces are moulded, generally in one piece.  Lladro have each part moulded and then assembled by hand by a Lladro Artisan and are therefore quite individual, often there are slight differences between two of the same model, position of arm, hand, leg, angle of head etc etc.  The painting, which is carried out by HIGHLY skilled, mainly Lady, Artists also varies from piece to piece, which is why it is said that no two Lladro sculptures are the same.

Nao is a range introduced to be a) completely separate, b) to be MUCH cheaper and therefore not as detailed as the true Lladro pieces and c) to offer these pieces to a completely different set of collectors to the Lladro range.   Here we must take a little care, as a few early Lladro pieces were produced and marketed under the Nao banner, but this was before the advent of the Nao "ship" backstamp.   Please be assured that Nao pieces whilst having their own merit DO NOT increase in value as do Lladro retired pieces.

You will often see Lladro listed as DAISY - this is again another example of lack of knowlege.  It should be DAISA and merely means Designos Artisanos Industriales SA.  This is a copyright to protect the design and intellectual property rights for the Lladro Company.  The SA is the Spanish equivalent of Ltd., or in the USA Inc.   Any dates shown on Lladro pieces do NOT refer to date of manufacture but to the Copyright date when the piece was made - the first production date of the piece can often pre-date this backstamp, but would of course carry an earlier mark.  DAISA was first shown on the Lladro Backstamp in approximately 1977

I hope this help you with your Lladro collecting.  It is a fascinating world, but fraught with pitfalls for the unwary. The best advice I can give is "Always buy from a reputable SELLER, WHO CAN SHOW YOU THAT THEY KNOW THEIR LLADRO"

Should you have a specific question, you can reach me through my EBay Shop and Listings,   ladylladrospain.   Please note that due to time constraints, I am not able to offer free valuations. Sorry.

If you have found my guide helpful or interesting, I would appreciate your Vote below.  Would love to make the Top 100!! 

Good luck and happy collecting to you all!!



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