Herend China: A Guide to Porcelain Prices, Patterns & History

Detail of Extensive assembled Herend "Indian Basket" and "Apponyi" pattern porcelain part dinner, tea and coffee service, 20th century (detail). Sold for £6,000 via Lyon & Turnbull (March 2019).

Herend porcelain, a company whose name has become the pride of the Hungarian porcelain industry, has dazzled decorative art aficionados with wares for nearly two centuries. Over these years, Herend china developed a remarkable array of dynamic porcelain dinnerware patterns alongside smaller decorative vessels and objects to draw a vast clientele ranging from the illustrious ranks of England’s Queen Victoria to those of more modest means that enjoy the brand’s delicately designed figurines. This attentiveness to their clientele, combined with their commitment to exquisite craftsmanship, has made collecting Herend china and Hungarian porcelain all the more enticing.

Herend Porcelain History

Herend was established in the mid 1820s in its namesake town in western Hungary, but did not focus on porcelain production until the following decade, when the company fell under the leadership of director Mór Fischer de Farkasházy. Thanks to Fischer’s high standards for execution and innovation, only a matter of years later Herend china had become a staple among the large aristocratic circles of Hungary and beyond. A featured participant in international exhibitions like the Vienna Exhibition (1845), London’s Great Exhibition (1851), and even New York’s Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations (1853), Herend’s Hungarian porcelain was soon called upon by European nobility to conjure unique, exceptional designs.


Herend dinner service with floral pattern

Herend “Queen Victoria” dinner service. Sold for €3,600 via Aste Bolaffi (April 2019).

The subsequent decades were some of Herend’s most successful, in part thanks to Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I bestowing upon Fischer the prestigious title of Purveyor to the Royal Court in 1865. Though Herend teetered on hard times and verged on the brink of bankruptcy toward the end of the century, Mór’s grandson, Eugen, was able to resurrect the brand and ensure its survival. One of the means by which Eugen was able to do this was to recommit to an exceptional quality standard while also embracing novel designs, a combination that continues to drive Herend porcelain today.

Large Herend Porcelain Elephant. Sold for $1,300 via Leland Little Auctions (March 2019).

Herend porcelain pieces are included in several major collections around the globe, and they take pride of place in the Porcelain Museum of Herend, which has been recognized as one of Hungary’s most beloved collections. Nothing is more treasured, though, than having extraordinary examples of Herend porcelain in one’s own private display.

Herend Prices

Prices can soar for rare or more complete services that come to market, while captivating Herend china figurines can be collected at a more accessible price point. Through Herend’s creative output is wide and varied, what unites each piece more than just Herend porcelain marks; rather it is the legacy and craftsmanship of Hungarian porcelain that Herend embodies. Here, we explore some of the most popular Herend china patterns and porcelain pieces in the market today.

Herend Queen Victoria Pattern

The Victoria pattern is one of Herend’s most historic designs and takes its name from the eponymous queen who fell in love with its novelty. At the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, Herend debuted a new “Far Eastern” pattern, which featured peonies and butterflies inspired by the motifs of Chinese export porcelain. Queen Victoria, the patron of the event, happened to view the pattern and was so enamored that she purchased the set. From that moment on, the pattern adopted her name and continues to be one of the most coveted by collectors.

Four examples of the Herend Queen Victoria pattern

Image 1: 89 Piece Herend Queen Victoria Fine China Service
Burchard Galleries Inc., St. Petersburg, FL (January 2016)
Estimate: $3,500-$4,500
Realized Price: $12,000

Image 2: Herend Porcelain Queen Victoria Green Border Pattern Dinner Service
Doyle Gallery, New York, NY (March 2017)
Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Realized Price: $7,500

Image 3: An Assembled Herend ‘Queen Victoria Rust’ Pattern Part Service Modern
Sotheby’s, New York, NY (April 2018)
Estimate: $4,000-$6,000
Realized Price: $6,500

Image 4: A Sixty Piece Herend Porcelain Queen Victoria Pattern
Heritage Auctions, Dallas, TX (February 2015)
Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Realized Price: $5,000

Herend Rothschild Bird Pattern

Herend gained early acclaim for the elegant means by which their artists captured flora and fauna, and a testament to that brilliance is Herend’s “Rothschild Bird” pattern. Created for Europe’s Rothschild family in 1860, the Herend Rothschild Bird pattern features a series of motifs that tell the story of a baroness’ pearl necklace that becomes a plaything for birds. Based loosely on a story from the family’s history, this pattern was celebrated widely for the delicacy of its motifs and even captured the attention of Princess Diana, who selected this pattern for her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981.

Four examples of the Herend Rothschild Bird Pattern

Image 1: A Extensive Assembled Hungarian Porcelain Dinner Service in the “Rothschild Bird” Pattern
Christie’s, New York, NY (March 2010)
Estimate: $6,000-$8,000
Realized Price: $32,000

Image 2: A Herend Part-Dinner Service
Christie’s, New York, NY (March 2004)
Estimate: $6,000-$8,000
Realized Price: $16,730

Image 3: Herend Dinner Service 0 (256) Piece Set of Herend Porcelain in the Rothschild Bird Pattern
Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Thomaston, ME (May 2016)
Estimate: $3,000-$5,000
Realized Price: $11,000

Image 4: Herend ‘Rothschild Bird’ 143-Piece Dinner Service, Post 1965
Thomaston Place Weschler’s, Rockville, MD (February 2009)
Estimate: $4,000-$6,000
Realized Price: $10,000

Herend Count Apponyi Pattern

With Herend’s acclaim growing over the course of the 1850s and 1860s, each world’s fair exhibition was a chance for the studio to share their new patterns with the world. Such was the case in 1867, when Herend showcased the “Indian Flower Basket” pattern at the Parisian Exposition Universelle. In attendance at the event was Hungarian Count Albert Apponyi (1846-1933), who spotted this line and fell in love with its dominant floral motif. He worked with Herend to modify the porcelain design into a single color floral motif and develop what became known as the “Count Apponyi” pattern that remained in production through the twentieth century.

Six examples of Herend "Apponyi" porcelain

Image 1: “Apponyi Blue” table service for Candida Tupini, Rome Herend, second half of the 20th century
Cambi Casa d’Aste, Genoa, Italy (April 2019)
Estimate: €2,000-€3,000
Realized Price: €8,500

Image 2: Hérend Porcelain Service, Apponyi Purpur model, comprising 145 pieces
Piguet Hôtel des Ventes | Genève, Switzerland (December 2018)
Estimate: CHF5,000-CHF8,000
Realized Price: CHF4,000

Image 3: Herend “Apponyi” coffee service, second half of the 20th century
Cambi Casa d’Aste, Genoa, Italy (April 2019)
Estimate: €400-€600
Realized Price: €1,300

Image 4: Partial Herend Porcelain “Apponyi” Dinner Service
Nye & Company, Bloomfield, NJ (September 2015)
Estimate: $1,500-$2,000
Realized Price: $1100

Image 5: Herend “Apponyi” tea service
Venduehuis der Notarissen, Netherlands (October 2017)
Estimate: €300-€400
Realized Price: €650

Image 6: Herend coffee service
Henry’s Auktionshaus AG, Mutterstadt, Germany (July 2016)
Estimate: €450-€900
Realized Price: €450

Herend Cornucopia Pattern

Ranking highly as one of the brand’s most elaborate and luxurious designs, the Herend Cornucopia pattern was commissioned for the Shah of Persia during Herend’s heyday in the 1870s. In this pattern, bright turquoise meets gilded accents to create an elegant and timeless pattern that suits modern collectors’ tastes as well as those of the nineteenth century.

Six examples of the Herend Cornucopia Pattern

Image 1: Herend porcelain “Cornucopia” pattern dinner service for sixteen, Hungary, 20th century
Freeman’s, Philadelphia, PA (October 2013)
Estimate: $8,000-$12,000
Realized Price: $16,640

Image 2: Herend Cornucopia Porcelain Dinner Service
Doyle New York, New York, NY (October 2016)
Estimate: $12,000-$18,000
Realized Price: $16,250

Image 3: An extensive Herend Dinner Service
Christie’s, London, United Kingdom
Estimate: £6,000-£8,000
Realized Price: £9,375

Image 4: A comprehensive “Cornucopia” Herend Porcelain Dinner Service
Leonard Joel, Woollahra, Australia (December 2016)
Estimate: AUD15,000 – AUD30,000
Realized Price: AUD15,000

Image 5: 12 Herend Cornucopia pattern porcelain dinner plates
William Bunch Auctions & Appraisals, Chadds Ford, PA (September 2009)
Estimate: $2,000-$3,000
Realized Price: $2,100

Image 6: Hungarian Herend Cornucopia Polychrome Porcelain Soup Tureen, Cover and Undertray
Sloans & Kenyon, Chevy Chase, MD (June 2015)
Estimate: $1,200-$1,500
Realized Price: $650

Herend Vases

Beyond full porcelain dinnerware services, Herend also created a wide variety of smaller decorative pieces. One of the richest of these fields was that of vases, wherein collectors can find an incredibly variety of styles and shapes. Some of the most captivating are the antique and vintage Herend porcelain vessels that feature rich emulations of Eastern styles. These range from the ‘Babur’ pattern that incorporated scenes inspired by sixteenth-century Persian miniatures to the Chinese-inspired ‘Kagoshima’ pattern that emulates elements of ancient Chinese landscape painting among richly colored decorations.

Five examples of Herend vases

Image 1: Herend, A Pair of Large Luxury Vases ‘Babur I’, Hungary c. 1985
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (June 2016)
Estimate: €6,000-€7,000
Realized Price: €6,000

Image 2: Herend, Porcelain Vase in the Imari Style, Hungary, 19th century
Auctionata Paddle8 AG (October 2013)
Estimate: €1,200-€1,500
Realized Price: €4,500

Image 3: Large Herend Covered Vase Modern 64cm high
Lyon & Turnbull (June 2013)
Estimate: £150-£250
Realized Price: £2,800

Image 4: A Herend ‘Kagoshima II” Lidded vase, circa 1995
Sotheby’s, Woollahra, Australia (October 2016)
Estimate: AUD3,000-AUD4,000
Realized Price: AUD3,660

Image 5: Herend, two cylindrical porcelain vases, Hungary, 20th century
Colasanti Casa d’Aste, Rome, Italy (April 2019)
Estimate: €400-€600
Realized Price: €350

Herend Figurines

Introduced in 1858, Herend porcelain figurines are a perennially popular collector’s item as they capture the beauty of of the brand’s craftsmanship while assuming more playful and diminutive forms. Herend figurines comprise characters and animals alongside rich colors and patterns to make them marvelous compliments to large porcelain collections or striking showpieces on their own.

Six examples of Herend china figurines

Image 1: A Collection of Herend Porcelain Animal Figurines
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Chicago, IL (February 2011)
Estimate: $400-$600
Realized Price: $2,318

Image 2: Unusual Set of Herend Hand-Painted Figurines
Constantine & Pletcher, Cheswick, PA (April 2013)
Estimate: $50-$100
Realized Price: $1,700

Image 3: Herend Figurine, Large Pair of Rust Fishnet Ducks
Ahlers & Ogletree Inc., Atlanta, GA (February 2019)
Estimate: $500-$700
Realized Price: $650

Image 4: Herend Lion and Lioness Figurine
Leland Little Auctions, Hillsborough, NC (February 2019)
Estimate: $25-$25,000
Realized Price: $600

Image 5: Lot of 8 Herend hand-painted porcelain figurines
Clars Auction Gallery, Oakland, CA (April 2019)
Estimate: $400-$600
Realized Price: $550

From its early days as one of the key porcelain purveyors to Europe’s aristocratic circles, Herend porcelain reflects the legacy of exceptional craftsmanship and artistry that has helped secured its enduring status today as one of the most esteemed makers. Collectors who recognize this brilliance can achieve a collection of Herend china at a variety of price points, making it a brand both historically important and accessible among today’s market for antique and vintage porcelain.

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