Huh, that is a cool mark. But what do the marks mean? What can I learn about this item from that mark? And who is Seltmann, anyway?
I see hundreds of items every week that make me ask questions like this. What is it? Where did it come from? Why do people care? And it is my happy fortune to get to google those items and learn a little bit about history, commerce, industry, and production.
Sometimes though, I dig a little deeper to learn just a little bit more about the uncommon gifts, rare collectibles, resale junk and fine art that passes through the doors of Good Find Stores and share it with you in a blog segment I call: What Do You Know About This?
Seltmann is the family name of the man who founded a porcelain company in 1910. His name was Christian Wilhelm Seltmann (born 1870). He first learned to be a porcelain lathe operator and modeled and painted porcelain in his free time. The Seltmann Weiden company began its production of utility and luxury porcelain initially with three round ovens, which were increased by two in 1913.
The original Porzellanfabriken (porcelain factory) was located in Weiden in der Oberpfalz (officially Weiden idOPf). Weiden Is a city in the eastern Bavarian administrative district of Upper Palatinate. It is located 100 km east of Nuremberg and 35 km west of the border with the Czech Republic. Right about here:
Here is the rest of the entry from Wikipedia (if you click through the link remember to set your browser to translate, and don’t forget to donate to Wikipedia.org!):
This is actually where our story kicks in: after the war. You see, the three little letters at the very bottom of the mark are U.S.Z. for United States Zone. These dishes were made shortly after the end of the war, sometime between 1946 and 1949. What’s more, we can guess that this set of china was made at the original Weiden idOPf location, since the other factories were damaged and serving as barracks at the time. One other fact that informs the origin of our dinnerware and the lion-and-shield stamp on the bottom: supply lines weren’t really moving at that time. At least not for shipping retail and hotel porcelain out of rural Bavaria. This set of dishes could only have been purchased by someone physically present at the Porzellanfabriken.
It must have been quite a scene back then. In addition to the porcelain factory, Weiden was also the home to Stalag XIIIB, where prisoners of war were kept. At its peak in April, 1944 the Weiden Stalag held 35,000 soldiers from Russia, Great Britain, the U.S., France, Belgium, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and Yugoslavia, according to Uncommon Travel Germany. They go on to say that many of the men, perhaps 90%, were put to work in farms, mines, and factories. It is possible some of these men were familiar with the workings of the Seltmann porcelain factory.
I don’t have the provenance on our set of Seltmann Weiden fine china to know if they were purchased there by a serviceman, or even possibly by a liberated POW. We know for sure, though, that whoever bought this set of dishes was on the ground in post-war Germany, between 1946 and 1949, and that it was able to travel to Southern California and survive until now in its current, like-new condition.
After the war, the Seltmann porcelain works has carried on and prospered. Following the death of the founder, Christian, in 1921 the business was run briefly by his wife, and then his son, Wilhelm (1895-1967). The Seltmann companies are still making great products today, and it didn’t take long looking through their website to find some really great porcelain. I fell in love a little with this statuette:
Here is a peak at one of our Seltmann china pieces now available at Good Find:
Shop a single piece or buy a custom group; we have listed the different dishes separately for your convenience. Please reach out if you have trouble with shipping costs. Get them while they last!
If you would like to learn more about German, Bavarian and Bohemian porcelain and their markings, check out this book on Amazon:
Marks on German, Bohemian and Austrian Porcelain: 1710 To the Present
For an image-rich journey through Germany during the last part of the war and the years that followed, documenting the time period during which our Seltmann china was being produced and sold, check out this book on Amazon:
(Full disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases)
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