Josiah Spode II first created bone china in 1800 when he added bone ash to a porcelain formula and made the hardest, most durable porcelain known. The factors determining the value of bone china pieces include condition, rarity, popularity and tradition.
Condition represents one of the most important factors in determing the value of bone china. Although extremely durable, it still requires careful handling. Without care, it can develop chips, cracks and breaks, which will lower its value.
Registration and Trademark
Manufacturers typically register pieces of bone china, identify the pattern by name and stamp their trademarks on the underside of each piece.
Not only can you find vases and tableware in bone china, but figurines as well. Minor damage affects the value of tableware more than it does figurines.
Reference books that help decipher and identify numbers and marks on pottery can also help determine value. Serious collectors rely heavily on such books, especially since they regard bone china from makers like Spode as highly collectable.
Caring for Bone China
Handle your bone china carefully and as little as possible. Display your pieces on stable surfaces in closed cabinets. Dust them gently. Wash them only when necessary and without scrubbing.