After 1863 when President Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November to be a national day of thanksgiving, well-to-do Americans created a market for fine china to celebrate the new holiday. Most of the original thanksgiving china in the late 1800’s came from England by makers such as Staffordshire, Mason, Spode and Johnson Brothers. Some were all one color and some had beautiful transferware patterns in fall colors.
As the middle class began to clamor for china and dinnerware for their celebrations, many companies began to produce turkey platters and thanksgiving themed china that was more affordable. In the 1920’s and 30’s, metal platters with colorful turkeys appeared in the stores and catalogs.
There are many different patterns available to the collector. Some platters depict a tom turkey, others, a turkey in flight or a popular pattern called Native American that shows a tom and hen turkey standing in the woods together. These platters come in all shapes and sizes. When caring for your vintage turkey plates and platters, make sure to hand wash them. Modern china can take the dishwasher or microwave but I wouldn’t try it with your valuable vintage plates and platters.
It can be tricky sometimes to determine the age of turkey plates and patterns. Usually if there is an identifying mark or maker on the bottom, you can look up the history of the company and see when they used that particular mark. Kovel’s has a good website and excellent reference books to help you date your wares. Turkey platters in excellent condition can bring anywhere from $40 to $400 depending on the rarity and maker!
Jillinda Falen has been collecting and selling antiques for over 26 years. She is also an experienced estate liquidation specialist and licensed REALTOR. You may contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Warner Robins Patriot.