I have had a number of interesting questions from people asking about how i know a piece is a genuine Beswick piece if it has no backstamp. The answer is far from simple. I have been collecting and selling beswick and other pottery/porcelain items for over 12 years. In this time i have gathered information from books and experts regarding unmarked pottery.
It seems that the majority of unmarked Beswick animals have been left unmarked through carelessness or because they were trial or demo. models.
As you know, all the Beswick items were hand modelled and painted. On larger items it was common practice where possible to impress the Beswick mark to the item, along with the mold or item number. The beswick stamp was put on the base of an item but sometimes only the word 'England'. When this was the case it made the collection of Beswick pieces harder to find for the untrained collector, but more rewarding when the piece was recognised as what it was!
Many pieces did not display any mark whatsoever. On questioning a beswick expert at a beswick and doulton auction i was told that some models escaped the stamp due to carelessness. It seems that quite a few slipped through unstamped at that point in the manufacturing process. For instance, I recently purchase a beswick Sealyham Terrier Standing, which was unstamped and being sold as 'sylvac style'. I recognised the piece purely because i already have one in my collection. (it also matches description, colour and size as stated in collectors books). I have seen some older modelled horses with no stamp, and also a fair few of the dogs and one or two birds. There are probably many more out there. In the charlton catalogue of Beswick animals you will notice some models without pictures and marked very rare. It may be that these are some of the unmarked models.
I have seen what i believe was model 1857 - Siamese cat climbing (5.5").It was being sold along with model 1678 - Mouse and a large brandy glass, by a fellow collector who purchased the two pieces from new back in 1960. I questioned the cat size (see charlton Beswick Animals p69) and pointed out that it was only 5.5" in height. My fellow collector told me it was model 1857 and not 1677 as i assumed. In the book the model 1857 is described as similar in shape to 1677 and extremely rare! His cat was also unmarked, and i have since seen at least 5 other identical cats at 5.5" in height. Were these the extremely rare model numbers? Are they really that rare - or just not recognised due to the lack of base marks?
What i am trying to get across is that not all rare pieces are that hard to find, and although many items are unmarked it is still possible to identify them as Beswick thanks to the books and experts out there.
good luck hunting, (try looking in 'unmarked' category on Ebay!!)