More on Suspicious Marks
I've seen one or two items
that were marked with both brand marks (Lladró and
NAO), probably unintentionally at the factory, but both marks were clear and in separate places on the base.
The photograph shown below is of the base of a legitimate,
in which a bogus Lladró mark has been overlaid right on top
of a legitimate older, impressed NAO mark (just visible in the photo). It may have been added by an ignorant
counterfeiter who didn't realize that NAO is a Lladró product.
(The addition of what looks like
an indelible black stamp on the piece, perhaps added by an auctioneer or other
seller, does nothing for the piece, either.)
The fake mark may even have been
added by a seller who got tired of "explaining" to potential buyers the legitimate association of
NAO with Lladró and who may have added a mark that looks
sufficiently like the Lladró mark to head questions off
at the pass from those who need to ask such questions. I have now seen two different geuine
NAO items with fake Lladró backstamps added. However, doing this has
needlessly complicated both the authenticity of
the NAO items on which they appear and the legitimacy of the
NAO brand itself.
How do I know the overlaid Lladró
mark is a fake? Well, in the first place, the color is wrong; one wouldn't see this "Mulberry blue,"
almost gray mark on a genuine Lladró. The bellflower logo is also ill-formed (though
it would be hard to tell because of the interference of the underlying incised
mark, which is precisely, of course, why the bogus mark is placed as it is). Finally,
the shape of the accent mark is wrong and there's an ill-defined
squiggle or blob next to the "O"
where the © sign would be on a legitimate mark. (This "fudging" of the
copyright symbol is a common feature of counterfeit Lladró marks.) Also,
the oldest blue backstamp, which this purports to be, is generally found without
a copyright sign, making that "blob" next to the "O" look all the more out
Another example of an odd mark (at right) that may or may not have been intended to deceive
has been found on a pair of miniature owls in the "Lladró style." The mark on these
examples is somewhat primitive and bears a loose resemblance to the capital letters N-A-O,
though it bears no resemblance at all to the refined mark of a genuine NAO. (Compare
this mark to genuine examples found on the NAO marks page).
Other clues to the non-Spanish origin of this miniature pair can
also be seen in the base, which is mostly glazed; genuine Lladró
products - and, indeed, most contemporary Spanish porcelain figurines of
whatever manufacturer - nearly always have a completely unglazed base. (They
also usually have a flatter base than the one pictured here.)
very large steam escape hole in the bottom of these pieces is also a giveaway.
NAO and other Lladró products nearly always have a very subtle steam escape
hole in the base, not much bigger than the sharpened tip of a pencil, and, although
I have occasionally seen much larger holes in a NAO, I've never seen them take up
as much of the proportions of the base as the holes do on these two examples.
Though they attempt to imitate the
Spanish style, chances are they weren't even made in Spain. The coarseness in
the mark's lettering may be attributable to an attempt to imitate a Western
alphabet by someone unfamiliar with it, which could indicate an origin somewhere
in Asia. (In fact, at least one shipment of forged core collection Lladró
that I know of has already been traced to a factory in China.)
Well, the point of all this is, of course, that the global market fanned
by online auctions has become a commercial version of the American "wild frontier,"
so collectors are advised to be cautious in assessing the manufacturing
origin of figurines with "funny marks."
At Last - A New Lladró Book!
The Lladró Guide; A Collector's Reference to Retired Porcelain Figurines in Lladró Brands
My most recent Lladró book has revised and expanded content and
remains the only book in print on this topic that isn't just a catalog. Covers all Lladró and
Lladró-affiliated brands (regular collection, NAO, Zaphir, Golden Memories,
Hispania, Rosal, and Tang) and tells how to distinguish them from imitations and counterfeits.
Revised and expanded content includes
many new photos and a new chapter on future directions for collectors and the company now that it has
passed from family hands. The book is in hard cover, which eliminates
that annoying curl-up that happens with paperback books. You can order the book directly from the publisher, Schiffer Books,
or from your favorite bookstore using the ISBN 13 number 978-0764358395.
Warning: If you're looking for a catalog
of every retired figurine Lladró ever made, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for beautiful, full-color photos of
representative models and more in-depth and well-researched
information about Lladró and its history and production than you can get in thumbnail photos with captions,
this book is what you're looking for.
Retail Price in Hardcover: $45