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Collecting and Caring for Rosenthal Antique Monbijou China

Updated on February 7, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

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

Monbijou China was introduced by Rosenthal in 1896 and manufactured through the Edwardian era until 1906.

The name translates to the phrase, My Jewel, and it is certainly exquisitely detailed. It can be positively identified with the R and C crown with crossed swords hallmark stamped on the back. The china is also usually marked with Bavaria, as the country of origin.

It was named for Mon Bijou, the summer home of the wife of Frederick William I, Sophia Dorthea. It was well known for its beautiful gardens, detailed Rococo styling and daintily feminine air. Although the name lives on in the china the beautiful estate was reduced to rubble during World War II and never rebuilt.

The pieces are easily recognizable as Art Nouveau; fluid and graceful.

Bavarian china, although not Monbijou
Bavarian china, although not Monbijou | Source

Monbijou, Bavaria Motifs

Monbijou is not a particular pattern, rather it is a style of china.

Rosenthal created a variety of pieces in white-ware and unpainted and then sent them to various artists to be hand-painted. The company was careful to use only the most talented artists it could find from all over the world. The artists would then create a one of a kind item, sign and date the bottom of the piece in the vicinity of the mark.

The most popular motifs were:

  • Flowers
  • Fruit
  • Portraits
  • Sea Shells
  • Sprays of flowers; some with flowing ribbon

The edges are most often scalloped or ruffled and hand painted with gold leaf.

Although the pieces are relatively rare you may be able to find the odd plate at the local antique shop or auction. Most pieces have remained in excellent condition because people tended to use them as display items rather than giving them the more utilitarian use of holding food.

If you cannot locate any Monbijou china locally you can often find pieces on the Internet. Always use sellers that you trust, that have excellent ratings and that offer a fair return policy and guarantee.

Examples of Monbijou Bavarian China

You can find some beautiful examples of Monbijou china on the Internet.

Evaluating Antique Monbijou

Rosenthal Monbijou is not as well-known as other lines of Bavarian china and tends to be on the inexpensive side. You can expect a plate in perfect condition to sell for between $75 and $100 dollars at auction – much less than some of its well-known counterparts. As with any antique, the value will vary according to other factors like:

  • Desirability
  • Provenance
  • Condition

Of course, chips, cracks, and other flaws will bring the value of the piece down significantly.

Caring for Rosenthal Monbijou China

Unless you keep your china behind glass all the time you will want to dust and clean it on a regular basis to keep it looking its best. If you have a piece that does need to be washed follow these steps.

  1. Always place a folded towel in the bottom of the washing and rinsing sinks to protect the china from cracks and chips.
  2. Fill the sink with warm water. Keep it the temperature that you would bathe a baby in. Extreme temperatures can cause the fragile dishes to crack and/or ruin the painting.
  3. Add a few drops of gentle dish soap (not detergent) and swish around until you have a few bubbles.
  4. Wash one piece at a time.
  5. Rinse carefully.
  6. Air dry away from extremes in temperature; air vents, windows, the stove or oven, etc.
  7. Store in an enclosed case or behind glass.

Monbijou, Bavaria is a great hallmark to find on the bottom of a piece of china. You can enjoy it for its beauty as well as its rarity. Whether you choose to use it for special occasions or just to display, Monbijou china will bring a special elegance and beauty to your home.


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      I love china and these pieces are so beautifuly.

    • PiaC profile image

      PiaC 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I have a fondness for old china. Even though I don't collect myself, my grandmother used to, and I have some of her pieces. Thanks for the tip on washing fragile china. I would hate to crack some of the more delicate pieces by accident.