Antique Limoges boxes are sometimes worth quite a bit, but it’s difficult to differentiate between modern day examples and the older ones. Any porcelain box with a hinged lid is referred to as a Limoges box, but collectors typically look for the boxes stamped Limoges, France. This identifies the piece as made in the region of France where the boxes were first made. Modern day examples typically have their own identifying marks as well.
Turn the box over and look for a stamp or signature indicating that the piece was made in Limoges. Several companies operate out of this region, including Elda Creations, Limoges Imports, Site Corot and Prevot. Collectors place more value on the boxes with the stamp of the town on the bottom.
Check for a Made in France stamp on the bottom. Not all Limoges boxes were actually made in the town, but some were made in neighbouring regions. These boxes generally aren’t as valuable as the ones marked Limoges, but are worth more than those created in other countries.
Run your finger across the bottom of the piece, feeling for the marking. Some Limoges pieces have the signature or marking pressed into the bottom, which is done during the firing process. These pieces are usually authentic, as reproductions paint or stamp the mark on the bottom.
Scratch your fingernail against the bottom of the piece, along the marking or signature. Some makers stamped the bottom and then covered it in a clear glaze. You won’t do any damage to authentic pieces, but on reproductions, you’ll often remove part of the mark or signature when scratching it.
Look for any logo, which indicates what company made the Limoges box. Many companies, including Limoges Castel and Faberge listed their company name on the bottom of the piece, with a trademark ® or copyright © logo next to it. Other companies use a specific marking, such as a crown above the company name.
The United States began requiring companies to list the country of origin on pieces in 1891. Some Limoges boxes without a Made in France or Limoges, France marking are from before this time, but collectors still look for some kind of marking on the bottom. Those marked PRC for People’s Republic of China or PMC for People’s Mainland China with the Limoges marking typically indicate a piece that was sent overseas for painting. These are technically Limoges pieces, but not as rare or valuable as those finished in France.