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Collecting Antique Buffalo China

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.


One of the most popular types of antique dishes among collectors is Buffalo China. It is a sturdy restaurantware, made by Buffalo Pottery, and available in numerous patterns and colors that will suit any collector.

Buffalo Pottery’s Beginnings

Buffalo Pottery was founded by the Larkin Soap Company in 1903. The company thought that if they gave away an inexpensive piece of china with soap purchases their business would increase. Larkin decided to make a china that would be similar to the popular Staffordshire Potteries items but at an inexpensive price. They planned to give one piece away with each soap purchase, encouraging customers to buy enough soap to complete a set.

The first line that they created was called Deldare Ware, an olive green china with a variety of scenes decorating it. Deldare Ware has become the most popular pattern among collectors because of its beauty and rarity.

As the items became more popular Buffalo went on to create more china both for commercial clients and private customers. Cruise ships, railroads, country clubs, restaurants, and the military used Buffalo China, as well as many homemakers.

Buffalo Pottery did not become Buffalo China until after World War I.

Blue Willow by Buffalo China
Blue Willow by Buffalo China | Source

Antique Buffalo China Patterns

Although Deldare Ware was first it wasn’t the only pattern for long. The company soon created a variety of patterns that are still popular today.

Deldare Ware

This olive green china had colorful watercolor scenes on it, reproduced from the artwork of English watercolorist, Cecil Aldin. It was first produced from 1908 to 1909. During the 1920s it was offered again in the catalog. This is relatively rare and difficult to find.

The Fallowfield Hunt was a sequence of images that were associated with foxhunting. The series begins with the hunter’s breakfast and ends at the end of the day. There are nine scenes all together in this series.

  • Breakfast at the Three Pigeons
  • The Start
  • The Dash
  • Breaking Cover
  • The Fallowfield Hunt
  • The Death
  • The Return
  • The Hunt Supper
  • At the Three Pigeons

You can expect to pay an average of $500.00 for a Deldare Ware bowl and much more for larger items.

Dr. Syntax

Original watercolors by Thomas Rowlandson decorated this highly collectible line. Each item includes a different verse by William Combe. The name comes from a book, Dr. Syntax.

This is actually part of the Emerald Deldare Ware collection but because of the illustrations and verses it is often placed in its own category.

Emerald Deldare Ware

Because of the popularity of Deldare Ware, Buffalo China came out with a variation of it in 1911. Available for only one year this china had a classic Art Noveau design on an olive green background.

This pattern is extremely rare and valued amongst collectors.

Abino Ware

Albino Ware was a pale green and rust line of china that included boats, windmills, and oceanscapes. It was available from 1911 to 1913.

Bonrea

Produced from 1905 to 1916, Bonrea was the first Buffalo China to be made in royal blue on white. It had an Asian motif but was not Blue Willow.

Blue Willow

The first American version of Blue Willow was produced by Buffalo in 1907. This ancient Chinese love story has been illustrated on the china of many manufacturers over the centuries but remains popular.

Blue Bird

The Blue Bird pattern has Art Deco styling. The white plate is decorated with two bluebirds flying toward the center of the plate and a blue rim encircles the edge. It was made from 1919 to 1922 and is a beautiful example of the transition from Art Noveau to Art Deco.

Chessie Cat

Chessie Cat depicted a tabby cat sleeping on a bed. Just the face and ear showed. The background was white and this pattern was produced exclusively for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in 1933.

Mandalay

Another oriental motif, Mandalay was created in 1930. The background is white with pink, lavender, blue, and sage florals.

Statler

Released in 1910, Statler had tan flowers on a tan background. The only other colors were blue and green.

Collecting Flow Blue China, Including Buffalo

Maker's mark, Buffalo Pottery, 1911
Maker's mark, Buffalo Pottery, 1911 | Source

Identifying and Buying Buffalo China

Even a novice collector will have no problems identifying Buffalo Pottery pieces. There is almost always the name, Buffalo pottery, and a buffalo and date stamped on the bottom of each piece. The maker’s mark has changed over the years but will always be easily identified with these symbols.

It is interesting to note that you can further date the china because until 1940 the name of the individual customer was also stamped on the items.

You will easily find this beautiful, collectible china at garage sales, thrift stores, and antique shops locally. It can get difficult if you are trying to complete a set, however. Luckily there are numerous venues on the Internet from eBay to Antique Malls like Ruby Lane and Tias.

Antique Buffalo China was made to resist chipping and breaking. The manufacturer managed this so well that it is relatively easy to find and collect today.

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    • floraphil profile image

      floraphil 

      6 years ago from hyderabad, India

      china clay is number 1 in the world. i liked it

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your detailed introduction. It was very interesting.

    • AUPADHYAY profile image

      ANIL KUMAR UPADHYAY 

      6 years ago from INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH STATE, KANPUR CITY

      very informative hub. keep it up.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I had never knew about this before. It's like an art and I love something "antique". Chinese product, especially in ceramic always amaze us. Thanks for share. I learn much from you. Vote up and useful. Cheers...

      Prasetio

    • Ella D'Zur profile image

      Ella D'Zur 

      6 years ago

      You have some beautiful pieces! Great information in your Hub. I'll have to look for the Buffalo Pottery when I go the antique fair in a couple weeks. Thanks!

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Me too!!

    • rsusan profile image

      Rika Susan 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Very informative hub, Marye! I love Antique Buffalo China. I am afraid I wasn't made for all the modern, new stuff.:-) I want cupboards filled with things with history and character...

    • profile image

      marellen 

      6 years ago

      I have some pieces that are blue willow and I love it but I don't think its Buffalo Pottery....very useful and informative hub.

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