Graded Moorcroft - Be careful because the new symbol for graded pieces is a hand painted capital G inside a circle. This can be mistaken as their copyright mark which is a C inside a circle. A graded piece is not quite a second and not quite a first quality piece, i.e. somewhere in between.
Sadly, since writing this guide, I have noticed that some people have copied it, not quite word for word, but the content and information flows in an alarmingly similar fashion! It's easy to see who is the originator of a guide, because the date that they were created is at the bottom of each one!
Moorcroft is curently a top contender in the world of collectables and understandably so. As with all popular areas in the field of ceramics, the buyer has to be on their toes with regards to buying second quality pieces passed off as first quality. We all know that Moorcroft commands high prices by comparison for even the smallest vase or pin dish.
A Moorcroft second is one of the easiest to spot due to the way that the factory mark them, and it's a pity that other great makers don't follow their lead. It is quite simply a matter of looking on the base to see if either of the following are present:
i) A single red dot, now an impressed hole with red glaze which cannot be erased easily.
ii) Three silver lines running parallel, sometimes a single silver line.
If you see either of the above then there is no doubt whatsoever that you are looking at a second. Before you part with your hard earned cash, (invariably a lot of it), ALWAYS look to see if there is a picture of the base and examine it carefully. If there is no picture to see, or the picture is not a good one, ALWAYS ask the seller to send you a close up, or ask directly if the above marks are present.
I have seen a Moorcroft piece where the description simply said "base marked as in photo's", and yes it was a second! The buyer was relying on a novice collector or any buyer to assume that it was a first because they had displayed the base openly. How disappointed would you be to spend good money and later find out that you had bought a second quality piece unknowingly.
On the other hand, there are collectors who just love Moorcroft and will not buy it as an investment, but just for the joy of owning it and they will happily and knowingly buy a second at a reduced price. The majority of sellers will openly declare that they are selling a second, but there are a minority who are not so honest, and they spoil it for everyone.
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I have added the following for reference:
I recently had an enquiry from an Ebayer regarding a mark to the base of their first piece of Moorcroft. They queried three green parallel lines painted to the base, and I have to admit that being no expert, I had to get a second opinion from a reliable source. Fortunately, these green lines did not represent a seconds quality and I was able to relay the information.
I had the pleasure of examining a quantity of Moorcroft last week which contained some outstanding pieces. Two pieces that caught my eye were however red dotted, with differing standards. One piece was obvious upon inspection of the glaze as there were 'misses' in the black areas. The second piece was a vase decorated with the Cloud Nine pattern, a particular favourite of mine. I spent half an hour looking for the flaw and I could only come up with the possibility that an area of red glaze had a very slight lighter shade running through it. It just goes to show how finite the factory must be in making their decisions on condemning a piece to the seconds outlet, albeit they only knock off about 10%!
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