How do I Identify a Royal Doulton Toby Jug?

Written by jan stowell
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The Royal Doulton pottery firm continues to produce decorative drinking mugs, all of which are officially termed "jugs." Popular since the mid-18th Century, a "Toby" depicts the full figure of a person (as opposed to a head-and-shoulders bust, known as a "character" jug), commonly derived from fiction or popular culture. The earliest Tobys depicted a stout man wearing a tricorner hat, seated and with a dog at his feet. The name Toby, incidentally, is thought to be that of the dog, not the man. Modern Toby jugs commemorate modern cultural icons, including Paul McCartney and Harry Potter.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Find the Royal Doulton seal (known as the backstamp) of a crown and a lion, on the bottom of the jug. All genuine Royal Doulton jugs carry a backstamp.

  2. 2

    Look for a code, also on the bottom of the jug, beginning with the letter "D" and followed by four numbers (e.g. D2628). The code identifies the name and size of the Toby jug. It is normally either stamped or handwritten--and is always beneath the glaze.

  3. 3

    Find the name of the character depicted stamped into the base (not the bottom) of the jug.

Tips and warnings

  • John Wood of Pascoe and Company, a specialist in ceramic art and collectibles in Miami, says the "D" code used to identify sizes and characters is not guaranteed to be found on all Toby jugs. A missing "D" code does not necessarily mean that the jug is not genuine Royal Doulton.

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