10 Most Valuable Buffalo China: Identifying & Valuing

For years, the Buffalo China antiques have been a popular topic amongst collectors and enthusiasts.

The unique colors and patterns of the pottery makes them a wonderful display. Besides, the company’s history is quite fascinating in itself. So, you can probably understand why the Buffalo China antiques are so valuable!

Well, if you’re a collector in search of the most valuable Buffalo China pieces, this article is a must-read. We’ve discussed everything from the history to the pricey rare finds. Let’s dive in!

The History of Buffalo China

Buffalo china was made by The Larkin Soap Company in the 1900s with the intention of giving it away as gifts to consumers who purchased soap. The intention behind this was to increase the sales and gain customer loyalty.

Initially, the company wanted to create a cheap item, like carnival glass and depression glass, to be given away with soap purchases made by their clients. But later on they decided to settle for inexpensive china as their main target audience were railroad companies.

It was a huge success and people soon fell in love with this pottery. So, after a couple of years, they expanded and started manufacturing for commercial as well as residential uses. This pottery was a low-cost variety of dish that came in a range of designs, patterns, and colors.

As a result of the railroad china boom, people used it in restaurants, hotels, and trains. It was everywhere. However, the demand of the pottery slowly declined with time and in 2003 the company shut its doors once and for all. This antique pottery is a highly valued collectible in today’s market.

Little did they know that this act would turn into a one of a kind manufacture of pottery that would be in high demand for years to come! And hence, they became the first company to produce Blue Willow Ware China.

To better understand antique Buffalo China and how The Larkin Soap Company changed to Buffalo China, we are linking a video down below!

Identifying Buffalo China  Patterns and Popular Designs

Over the years, Buffalo China identification has become hard as many companies have launched similar hues and designs to fit consumer trends.

Some of the most popular Buffalo China designs are mentioned below with their unique characteristics so that you know an authentic item when you see one:

Deldare Ware Line

The Deldare line, the most well-known art Buffalo pottery line ever, was first developed by then firm manager Louis H. Bown. This olive-green ceramic was produced between 1908 and 1909, and it included hand-painted themes.

They were taken from Cecil Aldin’s famous English watercolor paintings of the Fallowfield Hunt, which were copies of his original work. Each sequence painted on these bowls, plates, cups told a different story. The names of a few of these sequences were:

  • Breakfast at the three pigeons
1908 Buffalo Pottery Deldare Ware Large 12 Bowl Fallowfield Hunt, Breakfast
1908 Buffalo Pottery Deldare Ware Large 12″ Bowl Fallowfield Hunt, Breakfast
  • The Start
Buffalo Pottery Deldare The Fallowfield Hunt- The Start 9 12 Plate 1908
Buffalo Pottery Deldare The Fallowfield Hunt- The Start 9 12 Plate 1908
  • The Dash
  • Breaking Cover
Buffalo Pottery Deldare The Fallowfield Hunt- Breaking Cover 10 Plate 1909
Buffalo Pottery Deldare The Fallowfield Hunt- Breaking Cover 10 Plate 1909
  • The Death
Buffalo Pottery Deldare The Fallowfield Hunt-The Death 8 14 Plate 1909 Sgnd
Buffalo Pottery Deldare The Fallowfield Hunt-The Death 8 14 Plate 1909 Sgnd
  • The Return
BUFFALO POTTERY DELDARE WARE 1908 TANKARD PITCHER THE FALLOWFIELD HUNT SIGNED
BUFFALO POTTERY DELDARE WARE 1908 TANKARD PITCHER THE FALLOWFIELD HUNT SIGNED
  • The Hunt Supper
  • At the Three Pigeons
Buffalo Pottery Deldare Ware Tankard“At the Three Pigeons”W. Foster
Buffalo Pottery Deldare Ware Tankard“At the Three Pigeons”W. Foster

A similar series of china was produced in 1923-1925 and was also published in the Larkin Winter/Fall Catalog of 1923.

Albino Ware Line

The next most popular in the list of Buffalo china were the Abino ware from 1911 to 1913. This faded green and rust colored series was inspired by the sea and often had sailboats and windmills painted on them.

Abino-Ware

Nowadays you hardly ever find any Abino pottery being auctioned from this series, but if they ever do, each item is sold for hundreds of dollars.  

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Blue Willow

Buffalo Pottery Blue Willow Pitcher 1907 Antique

 

This series was first introduced by Buffalo in 1907 and shows intricate royal blue work on a white background. It is said to be the most desired one amongst collectors for ages. The story told in these paintings is the saddest amongst all in the history of Buffalo china.

These vintage buffalo patterns tell the story of the daughter of a powerful Chinese man who fell in love with his secretary. Discovering their love, the father fires the secretary and bethroes the young girl to an older man. She was in despair until her beau sent her a message.

They run away together. But the older man finds out about this and chases them across the bridge. He eventually catches on to them and kills them both out of spite and anger. Saddened by their tragic end, the gods turn their souls into doves so that they can fly together forever.

Apart from the two doves, always look for the willow trees, the stream, the bridge, and latticework fence. If it doesn’t have all these, it’s not authentic Blue Willow.

Mandalay

Vintage BUFFALO CHINA Mandalay Red Rings Ye Olde Ivory Plates
Vintage BUFFALO CHINA Mandalay Red Rings Ye Olde Ivory Plates

The Mandalay series was introduced in the 1930s. It contains oriental floral motif work of blue, pink and lavender against a white background. These flowers are surrounded by green sage leaves that go around the cup or plate they are made on. It’s a true work of art.

Blue Bird

Early 1900s vintage Buffalo China bluebird pattern pitcher
Early 1900s vintage Buffalo China bluebird pattern pitcher

This style of pottery was inspired by Art Deco and appeared on the plates and cups of Buffalo China for 5 years, starting from 1919 to 1922.

It has blue birds flying in the center and the whole painting is made against a white background with blue rim. The colors beautifully compliment each other.

Chessie Cat

AMERICAN BUFFALO POTTERY CHESSIE THE RAILROAD KITTEN CERAMIC PLATE
AMERICAN BUFFALO POTTERY CHESSIE THE RAILROAD KITTEN CERAMIC PLATE (Sold: $2000)

This pattern contained a sleeping tabby cat on a bed with a pillow under his head, and you can only see its ears and face peeking from the covers. It was made in 1933 on the special order of Ohio and Chesapeake Railroad.

 It was a huge hit and led to the company making customized orders for many companies.

Statler

Statler by Buffalo Pottery
Statler by Buffalo Pottery

It was released in the market in 1910 and showed intricate designs of blue and tan flowers with pale green leaves on a lighter tan background. The design was spread across the rim of the plates and cups.

Bonrea

Flat Cup & Saucer Set Bonrea
Flat Cup & Saucer Set Bonrea

It was made from 1905 to 1916 and showed royal blue motif designs of Asian culture on a white background. This design is quite similar to Blue Willow but has more intricate patterns and shapes than that of Blue Willow

Moreover, it also doesn’t contain the doves, trees and other designs that were told in the story. This category was highly popular, it was replicated by many companies and is still sold today.

Emerald Deldare Line

BUFFALO POTTERY 1911 EMERALD DELDARE WARE DR. SYNTAX READING HIS TOUR BOWL
BUFFALO POTTERY 1911 EMERALD DELDARE WARE DR. SYNTAX READING HIS TOUR BOWL

The rarest amongst all the Buffalo China was the Emerald Deldare line as it was only produced for one year in 1911. And certainly the most eye catching one as well!

This hand painted design is inspired by classic Art Nouveau and contains floral and geometric motifs on an appealing olive-green background. One of its special features is that each piece contains a verse written in it which collectors all over the world appreciate and pay thousands of dollars for.

10 Most Valuable Buffalo China Pieces Uptil Now

Buffalo pottery is widely available on the market, and you can easily locate the majority of pieces in various patterns. Despite the fact that these items are normally affordable, you may find that costs greatly vary depending on the selling location.

Collectible Buffalo china is available in countless quantities on well-known online selling platforms including eBay, Etsy, and Live Auctioneers.

Before selecting the items you have decided to collect, you must learn to identify desired pieces from the many categories of designs the company has launched over the years.

We have mentioned some of the many valuable pieces of Buffalo China that are being sold on online websites:

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Roycroft Buffalo China Salt and Pepper Shakers

This beautiful pair of salt and pepper shakers were made back in 1920 and show black and red designs on a white background with a green rim. They were auctioned on liveauctioneers.com for $350 from a buyer in Alameda, United States.

Roycroft Buffalo China Salt and Pepper Shakers
Source: LiveAuctioneers

Yosemite Parks Buffalo China Demitasse Cup Ahwahnee

Yosemite Parks Buffalo China Demitasse Cup Ahwahnee

This cup and saucer pair is being auctioned on liveauctioneers.com for $150-200. It shows a black and red block pattern on the center of the cup and plate. No visible signs of damage are shown.

Buffalo Athletic Club Pattern Coffee Cup

Buffalo Athletic Club Pattern Coffee Cup

 

Vintage 1920 Restaurant Ware Coffee Cup, ceramic china. This pattern has been identified as the Buffalo Athletic Club in Buffalo, New York.

This item is currently being sold on Etsy for $25 as a rare find. Talking about the condition of the item, no repairs, cracks or chips are to be found, However, a few utensil scratches and stray marks opposite to the logo are visible. It was listed as a rare find on the website.

Buffalo China’s Oval Restaurant Side Plate

Antique Bauscher Germany 8.5-inch oval restaurant china side plate from 1922 The Automobile Club of Buffalo, New York for L Barth & Son.

This beautiful Ceramic Side Plate is currently being sold on Etsy for $35, with 1 being in stock it is definitely a rare find. Heavyware on the item is seen in the overglaze decoration, although no sign of chips, cracks or repairs are to be found.

Buffalo China’s Oval Restaurant Side Plate
Source: Etsy

3 Roycroft Buffalo China Plates

3 Roycroft Buffalo China Plates c1920s

The rust-trimmed china dates back to the 1920s and has a strong Arts and Crafts influence inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, and its trademark crest resembles a Western brand R.

The 3 Roycroft Buffalo China Plates were sold on 4th December 2017. The plates are damaged and have signs of repair.

Roycraft Buffalo Bowl

Roycraft Buffalo Bowl

This rusty but artsy bowl dates back to the early 1920s and was auctioned in December 2020. The winning bid was $225 in California, USA. The Roycraft logo can be prominently seen on the bowl along with red and black designs against a white background.

There are no visible signs of damage to the bowl.

Buffalo China New York Central Railroad Ceramic

Buffalo China New York Central Railroad Ceramic

This article consisted of 3 pieces of china; a bowl, a plate and an oval platter. All three have intricate blue and pastel colored motif work done on the rim with a black steam engine made in the middle of the design. Mostly, all three seem to be undamaged and were sold for $60.

Hotel Touraine’s Restaurant Ware Coffee Cup

Made in 1921, this item is being sold on etsy for $35 and shows the logo of Hotel Touraine in the middle. It is painted with blue and gold and has olive green flowers surrounding it.

There are no visible signs of chips or repairs shown on the cup and seems to be in mint condition

Hotel Touraine’s Restaurant Ware Coffee Cup

Buffalo Trap and Field Club Side Plate

Buffalo Trap and Field Club Side Plate

This vintage plate was made between 1920-1930 and is now being sold on etsy for $45. It seems to be in a mint condition and has been labeled a rare find.

It has olive green, pale yellow and green design surrounding the rim with a pastel background. There is a bouquet of flowers made at the end of the designs and ‘Buffalo Trap and Field Club’ written on the center which is surrounded by two red crossed guns.

Roycroft Buffalo China Creamer

It was auctioned online for $150 in December 2020. There seems to be a small chip on the rim but otherwise looks damage free. The color and design palette is the same as the Roycroft Ceramic Bowl and salt & pepper shakers.

Roycroft Buffalo China Creamer

These aren’t the only beauties that are on sale on websites, there are countless inexpensive items that you can purchase in a minute.

Identification Buffalo China Marks

Buffalo China Marks

Buffalo China is hands down the easiest pottery line to identify even now. The company used their trademark buffalo and the year of production stamped on the bottom of their china. In the initial years, the company also included the names of the customers to give it a personal touch but discontinued this practice after 1940.

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Even though their mark changed over the years, collectors can still take one look at the logo and identify the pottery line in an instant.

You can see more Buffalo China Marks here: Buffalo-China-Backstamps.pdf

Is Buffalo China Worth Anything?

Buffalo China pottery dated back to 1983 are a rare and highly demanded collectible by antique hotels, railroad collectors and many more.

Rare Buffalo China series such as Deldare ware and Abino are sold for hundreds of dollars each. But rarer ones such as the Emerald Deldare line, which was only produced once, can be auctioned for thousands of dollars.

However, if you browse online, it’s possible to get a hand on rare collectibles within $1000. Here are some examples:

  • Vases come in a wide variety, with the majority costing between $200 and $250.
  • Pitchers, on the other hand, exhibit similar traits in uniqueness but are priced at close to $500.
  • Creamers, shakers, and similar items will be available in the range of $150 to $300.

Ofcourse, the exact value of a Buffalo China antique depends on the condition, rarity, and – most importantly – the age. The older the antique will be, the more you can expect the value to be.  Let’s learn some dating tips below!

Learn How to Date Your Buffalo China Codes

The Buffalo China date codes basically tell us the year a particular product was made in. It helps to value the item accordingly.

However, cracking these codes isn’t an easy job. It is thought to be complex and hard to understand by people at times which is why we have divided them into groups for better understanding.

  • From 1901 to 1940, the year might be represented by a four-digit number.
  • A letter (dash) number code is used from 1941 to 1962 to indicate the year and month of manufacture. Although this code might not be precise, it can help in estimating the year and month. So, if a cup has a Buffalo China date code of ‘D-10’ it would mean that the particular piece is dated back to October 1943.
  • From 1963 to 1966, a single or double digit number (dash) two digit number – The month will be denoted by the first single or double digits, and the year by the second double digit set.
  • From 1967 to 1977, a double-digit number and one, two, three, or four asterisks were required. The double digit numbers represent the year, and the asterisks stand in for the quarter.
  • However, after 1978 to date, the digit code is said to have become very complex due to which it is still unknown and cannot be figured out.

If you own a Buffalo China item and are finding it difficult to estimate the age, we highly recommend you to consult a professional antique appraiser. They can also help with identification and valuation.

Conclusion

Are you an admirer of a particular category of Buffalo China? If so, tell us what you are a fan of in the comment section below and if you managed to find a few worthy pieces for your collection.

The Emerald Dedare is the most precious one of all the Buffalo China categories so if you ever find one being sold online, make sure you look for the date code and their trademark buffalo to ensure it is an authentic piece.

We wish you the best of luck and hope you find the rarest of Buffalo China pieces to add to your collection!  

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