Royal Doulton has manufactured high-quality tableware for around 200 years. While the company was originally known as Doulton, it received the royal designation in 1901. Over the years, Royal Doulton has produced many types of products, including decanters. These decanters are found in both ceramic and crystal form and in many different patterns. Learn to identify them by doing some research in order to recognise the various manufacturer's markings and decanter patterns.
Look for a backstamp. Royal Doulton pieces are normally marked. Check the underside of your piece to look for that backstamp. This maker's mark lets you know the piece is authentic and also helps to date the piece. In order to make sure the mark on your piece is an authentic Royal Doulton mark, study guides that give the history of the various backstamps. The web site Antique Marks has a section devoted to Royal Doulton, as does the site Antique China Porcelain & Collectibles.
Study Royal Doulton collectors' guides. Books on Royal Doulton give you a chance to see photos of different decanters, which helps you recognise the different shapes and patterns when you find them. Some collectors' guides are "Royal Doulton (Shire Library)" by Julie McKeown, "Royal Doulton: A Legacy of Excellence 1871-1945" by Gregg Whittecar and Arron Rimpley, and "Discovering Royal Doulton" by Michael Doulton and Vinny Lee.
Go to the source. Visit the Royal Doulton web site to see the decanters listed in their inventory. This lets you compare your item, or one you are interested in, to what is currently available and see if it is a match.
Consult a specialist reseller. Unfortunately, the Royal Doulton company will not help identify individual pieces. However, there are other sellers that can help. The china replacement service Replacements, Ltd. offers an identification service for detecting the pattern and manufacturer of china, silver, crystal or collectibles. Simply mail, e-mail or fax an image of your piece to the company.
Look at brick-and-mortar and online antiques stores. Explore the inventory at local antiques stores to find Royal Doulton decanters that have already been identified. This aids in knowing how to recognise the pieces when you run across them at places where they may not be identified, such as garage sales, flea markets or estate sales. Also, look at large Internet antiques malls such as Ruby Lane or Trocadero.