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Nippon Porcelain

Nippon is not a specific manufacturer of porcelain, but rather refers to ceramic objects stamped with the word Nippon on their bases. This began in 1891 as a result of the U.S. McKinley Tariff Act forbidding the import of items that weren't clearly marked in legible English words. Nippon is the English spelling of what Americans called Japan at the time. However, in 1921, the name was ruled Japanese in origin. From then on, U.S. Customs no longer accepted pottery stamped with Nippon, and imported china was instead stamped with Japan. Nippon-stamped porcelain is among the most desired collectibles on the antique market and is more highly valued than those marked Japan.

During the Nippon era, Japanese potters were trained to imitate European styles such as Limoges and R.S. Prussia. Created exclusively for selling to the United States, these pieces were elaborately hand painted in a style that was unappealing to the frugal Japanese tastes of the day. A wide range of items were produced including vases, punch bowls, butter tubs, and even dolls. These ornate pieces were less expensive than most European porcelain, and thus highly sought after by many porcelain collectors in the United States.

Keeping with the lavish nature of these pieces, gold was often used between 1891 and 1921. However, it was rarely durable and has worn off in most cases. Collectors should be wary of dealers who add gold paint to these items. Many pieces were painted in a moriage technique, which refers to clay relief decorations. Tapestry texture is also common on Nippon items and is similar to those found on Royal Bayreuth pieces.


Quick Facts

  • Many collectors of Nippon-era porcelain agree that the finest examples of hand painted porcelain were produced by the Noritake factory in Nagoya, Japan
  • In order to keep their decorating techniques a secret, the Noritake factory trained workers to master just one small part of the decorating process so that no one knew the whole process
  • The word "Nippon" was derived from a Chinese phrase meaning "the source of the sun"

Recommended Items at Auction

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Lovely and Large Hand Painted Nippon Vase
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Lovely and Large Hand Painted Nippon Vase
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$459 Bids
Trio of Hand Painted Nippon Vases
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Trio of Hand Painted Nippon Vases
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$406 Bids
Vintage Hand Painted Nippon Porcelain Vase
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Vintage Hand Painted Nippon Porcelain Vase
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$215 Bids
Three Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad / Nippon Sharyo Electric Car Operating Manuals
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Three Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad / Nippon Sharyo Electric Car Operating Manuals
by Rail and Road Auctions
Est: $30- $60
$303 Bids
Nippon Coralene Porcelain Ewer
Oct 23, 9:00 AM EDT
Nippon Coralene Porcelain Ewer
by Case Antiques, Inc. Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Gorgeous Vintage Hand Painted Nippon Plates
Oct 24, 2:00 PM EDT
Gorgeous Vintage Hand Painted Nippon Plates
by Pace & Hong Auctions, LLC
Est: $0- $0
$61 Bid
Custom Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad Nippon Sharyo Car Warranty Meter Display
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
Custom Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad Nippon Sharyo Car Warranty Meter Display
by Rail and Road Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$201 Bid
Vintage Servingware, Nippon, Noritake
Oct 23, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Servingware, Nippon, Noritake
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Vintage Hand Painted Nippon Porcelain Nappy
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Vintage Hand Painted Nippon Porcelain Nappy
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$51 Bid
(4pc) Nippon Moriage Porcelain Servingware
Oct 23, 10:00 AM MST
(4pc) Nippon Moriage Porcelain Servingware
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Nippon Style Antique Signed Gilded Porcelain Vase
Oct 27, 12:00 PM EDT
Nippon Style Antique Signed Gilded Porcelain Vase
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids
Nippon Two Handle Hand Painted Bulbous Vase
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Nippon Two Handle Hand Painted Bulbous Vase
by Dana J. Tharp Auctions
Est: $75- $100
$250 Bids
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Nikon Variframe No.364697
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Nikon Variframe No.364697
by LP Foto Auktioner
Est: 1,800 kr- 2,200 kr
1,600 kr0 Bids
Antique Nippon Moriage Handled Vase
Oct 27, 4:00 PM EDT
Antique Nippon Moriage Handled Vase
by Anzardo's Fine Arts
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Impressive Nippon Moriage Bolted Vase
Oct 27, 4:00 PM EDT
Impressive Nippon Moriage Bolted Vase
by Anzardo's Fine Arts
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Large Assortment of Nippon & Noritake Dishes
Oct 24, 2:00 PM EDT
Large Assortment of Nippon & Noritake Dishes
by Pace & Hong Auctions, LLC
Est: $0- $0
$120 Bids
7 Perfume Bottles; Albert Nippon, Balenciaga...
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
7 Perfume Bottles; Albert Nippon, Balenciaga...
by Palm Beach Modern Auctions
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
6 HAND PAINTED OCEAN LIFE PLATES NIPPON YOKOHAMA
Oct 24, 1:00 PM EDT
6 HAND PAINTED OCEAN LIFE PLATES NIPPON YOKOHAMA
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $125- $225
$50 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Nippon Porcelain


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Rail and Road Auctions

Rail and Road Auctions

DuMouchelles

DuMouchelles

Pace & Hong Auctions, LLC

Pace & Hong Auctions, LLC