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Noritake China Value: The Comprehensive Collector‘s Guide for 2023

Noritake china has been synonymous with graceful design and fine craftsmanship for over a century. Prized by collectors for its rich colors, gilded decadence, and elegant motifs, this Japanese porcelain brand is often a cherished family heirloom passed down through generations.

But Noritake china isn‘t just beautiful to behold – it can also be incredibly valuable. In recent years, rare Noritake pieces from the company‘s early years have sold at auction for tens of thousands of dollars, making it a favorite among savvy collectors and investors alike.

Whether you‘re looking to appraise your Noritake collection, start a new collecting hobby, or pick up a few choice pieces for resale, this in-depth guide will give you everything you need to identify, value, and sell Noritake china in 2023 and beyond.

As a longtime collector and expert appraiser specializing in Japanese porcelain, I‘ve personally handled hundreds of exquisite Noritake pieces. I‘ll share insider tips for spotting valuable items, walk you through the appraisal process, and reveal the best places to hunt for Noritake china treasures today.

The History of Noritake China

Antique hand-painted Noritake china plate

To understand what makes Noritake china so valuable, it helps to start with the company‘s fascinating history. Noritake was founded in 1904 in the village of Noritake near Nagoya, Japan. The company was started by the Morimura brothers, who had been successfully importing Japanese antiques and porcelain to the United States.

Seeing an opportunity, the brothers decided to begin producing their own high-quality china for export, blending classic Japanese aesthetics with Western sensibilities. They recruited top artisans to craft and hand-paint the porcelain in the company‘s signature style.

In these early years, all Noritake china was hand-decorated by skilled craftsmen. These exquisite, labor-intensive pieces from the first two decades of the 20th century are now some of the most sought-after and valuable on the market.

"Many of the earliest Noritake pieces were created for the American market in a style known as Nippon, characterized by its rich gold gilding, hand-painted details, and romantic Victorian motifs. Nippon era pieces, typically marked only with ‘Nippon‘ on the base, are among the rarest and most valuable to collectors today."

-Joe Rosson, antique appraiser and co-author of "Treasure Hunt: The Fun of Finding, Valuing and Profiting from Collectibles"

By the 1920s, Noritake expanded production and began using more standardized designs and assembly line decoration techniques to keep up with demand. While these pieces lack some of the fine hand-painted details of earlier items, many are still high quality and collectible today.

Throughout the 20th century, Noritake continued innovating and adapting to consumer tastes. They became particularly popular in the U.S. market for their elegant dinnerware sets, including patterns like Azalea, Marquis, and Savannah.

While Noritake still produces china today, many collectors focus on acquiring antique and vintage pieces, especially those from the company‘s first 50 years. These are the items that tend to bring the highest values on the secondary market.

Noritake China Value Factors

So what makes one piece of Noritake china more valuable than another? As an appraiser, I look at several key factors to determine a piece‘s worth:


In general, the oldest Noritake pieces command the highest prices, especially those made before 1930. Items from the first decade of the 20th century, often hand-signed by the artist, are particularly prized.


Certain Noritake patterns and pieces were produced in very limited quantities, making them difficult to find today. Unusual serving pieces, specialty items like bud vases and hair receivers, and short-run patterns tend to bring the most money.

Decoration Method

The earliest Noritake china features entirely hand-painted designs, typically with intricate details, raised gold paste, and scenic motifs. Later pieces may incorporate transfers, decals, or stenciling in addition to hand-painting. In general, the more hand craftsmanship, the higher the value.

Artist Signatures

Some of the most valuable Noritake china is hand-signed by the individual artist who painted it. Pieces by noted designers like Hotoda Kaiza, Kitamura Junko, and Frank Lloyd Wright are highly sought after.


As with all antiques, condition plays a huge role in determining value for Noritake china. Pieces that are free of chips, cracks, crazing, or wear to the design or gilding will always bring the highest prices. Items in original condition with no signs of repair are most desirable.

Marks and Backstamps

The marks on the underside of Noritake china provide important clues to its age and rarity. Older pieces may be marked only with "Nippon," while others include "Noritake" or "Made in Japan." Pieces with M-in-wreath or RC marks are especially collectible.

Complete Sets

While individual Noritake serving pieces and vases can be valuable, complete sets of dinnerware are often worth more than the sum of their parts. A full set in perfect condition with all the serving pieces can bring an impressive sum at auction.

"One of the most valuable Noritake sets I‘ve appraised was a rare, complete Black Tulip pattern service for 12 with all the accessories. It had been carefully passed down in the same family since the 1920s and was in pristine condition. We estimated its auction value at $12,000 – $15,000."

-Monika Schiavo, Director of Asian Arts at Hindman Auctions

Identifying Valuable Noritake China

Now that you know what factors influence Noritake china value, how do you go about determining if your piece is a hidden treasure? Start by carefully examining it for the following features:

Check for Marks

Examples of different Noritake backstamps used over the years

As mentioned, the marks on the bottom of a Noritake piece provide valuable clues to its age and rarity. Here‘s a quick guide to some of the most common marks and what they mean:

  • Nippon – Used between 1891 and 1921, can indicate a very early and valuable piece
  • M-in-wreath – Used in early 1900s, often indicates hand-painted item
  • Noritake RC – Used 1911-1949, signifies piece made for export to US and EU
  • Made in Japan – Used from 1921 onward to comply with US import laws
  • Noritake China – Company name not officially used until 1981

If you find a mark you don‘t recognize, consult a specialized backstamp guide like "The Noritake Collectors‘ Encyclopedia" by Joan Van Patten. Some rare pieces may have atypical marks indicating a limited production run or special exhibition item.

Look for Artist Signatures

Don‘t forget to check for any additional marks beyond the Noritake backstamp. Some of the company‘s most prestigious artists signed their work by hand, especially in the early years.

Pieces with a legible signature by noted designers like Kitamura Junko, Yoshida Minori, or Ito Sozan are highly sought after by collectors. Even if you don‘t recognize the name, an artist‘s signature often indicates a piece is hand-painted and thus more valuable than a mass-produced item.

Assess Condition Carefully

Give your Noritake china a thorough once-over to check for any condition issues that could impact its value. Examine it under a bright light, looking for chips, cracks, crazing, scratches, or fading.

Pay particular attention to areas of high relief like handles and rims, as these are most vulnerable to damage. Check the gilding for any signs of wear. Very fine scratches or utensil marks are common on pieces that have been used, but significant loss of the design or gold is a red flag.

It‘s helpful to compare your item to photographs of pristine examples in collector‘s guides so you know what flaws to look for. And if you‘re unsure, it‘s always best to have a professional appraiser take a look.

Compare to Known Collections

If you suspect you have a valuable piece of Noritake china, one of the best ways to confirm its identity is to compare it to items in notable collections. Museums with significant Noritake holdings include:

  • The Noritake Garden in Nagoya, Japan
  • The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia
  • The Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon

You can also find many rare Noritake pieces illustrated in collector‘s books and auction catalogs. Check your local library for titles like "Noritake: Jewel of the Orient" by Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen or search online auction archives.

"As a collector, one of my favorite resources for identifying Noritake patterns is the ‘Old Noritake‘ website and collectors forum. Members share photos of their rare pieces and help each other track down information on obscure patterns and marks. It‘s a great place to connect with other passionate collectors."

-Chris Thompson, longtime Noritake china collector and dealer

Noritake China Price Guide

So what is your Noritake china actually worth? While an in-person appraisal is always best, here are some real-world examples of Noritake values for different types of pieces:

Item Age/Pattern Sold Price Auction House
Rare M-in-wreath vase, hand-painted 1910s $2,000 Hindman
Art Deco lusterware bowl 1920s $750 Christie‘s
Serving platter, Azalea pattern 1930s $150 Michaan‘s
Teacup & saucer, Roselyn pattern 1950s $50 Replacements
Dinner plate, Savannah pattern 1970s $25 eBay

As you can see, age, rarity, and artistry are the biggest drivers of value. The most prized Noritake china pieces are typically those made before 1930, especially hand-painted, limited edition items with non-standard patterns and styles.

More common patterns and pieces made from the 1940s onward, while still collectible, tend to bring lower prices simply because they were mass-produced and are easier to find on the market today.

If you have a complete set of Noritake china in pristine condition, you can expect to see the total value increase significantly. For example, a rare 1920s Black Tulip pattern service for 12 with all the bells and whistles could bring $10,000 or more at a well-publicized auction.

Where to Find Valuable Noritake China

Wondering where you can get your hands on the most valuable and rare Noritake china today? There are a few go-to sources for savvy collectors:

  • Estate sales and auctions – Check listings in your area for upcoming sales featuring Asian antiques and art. Arrive early to get a good spot in line and don‘t be afraid to ask questions about the provenance of any Noritake pieces. For the best selection, focus on sales in affluent neighborhoods and retirement communities.

  • Antique shops and malls – While you‘ll pay a dealer markup, brick-and-mortar antique shops are a good bet for finding high-end Noritake pieces that have already been vetted for authenticity and condition. Prices are often negotiable, especially if you‘re buying multiple items or are a repeat customer.

  • Online marketplaces – Etsy, eBay, and other online antique marketplaces can be treasure troves for Noritake china, but it‘s crucial to do your due diligence. Always ask the seller for additional photos and condition details before buying. If the price seems too good to be true, be wary of fakes or reproductions.

  • Flea markets & garage sales – Yes, it‘s possible to score valuable Noritake china "in the wild" for a song, but you‘ll need a sharp eye and some luck. Focus on sales in upscale neighborhoods and be prepared to dig. Carry a loupe to check for marks and a small flashlight to examine pieces for damage.

  • Specialty matching services – If you‘re looking for a specific rare piece to complete a set, your best bet is to work with a matching service that specializes in discontinuted and hard-to-find china patterns. Replacements, Ltd. is the largest, with over 11 million pieces in stock, but expect to pay top dollar.

Selling Your Noritake China

Ready to part with a piece of Noritake china from your collection? Here are some tips for getting top dollar:

  • Get an appraisal – For rare, high-value items, it‘s worth paying for a professional appraisal to document your piece‘s identity and condition. Check the websites of the Appraisers Association of America or the International Society of Appraisers to find a qualified Noritake expert in your area.

  • Consider auction houses – Selling through a reputable auction house like Bonhams, Christie‘s, or Sotheby‘s will expose your Noritake china to a global audience of motivated collectors. While you‘ll pay a hefty seller‘s commission (typically 10-20%), it may be worth it for five- and six-figure items.

  • Consign to a dealer – Antique dealers who specialize in Noritake and Japanese porcelain may offer to sell your china on consignment, typically taking a 20-50% cut of the sale price. It‘s a good option for less valuable pieces that aren‘t auction-worthy.

  • List it online – For common Noritake pieces under $100, selling on eBay or Etsy is often the simplest option. Be sure to take clear, well-lit photos that show the item from all angles and disclose any condition issues upfront. List pieces individually to get the best price rather than grouping them into a mixed lot.

Noritake Collector Resources

Looking for more information on collecting and valuing Noritake china? These books and websites are a great place to start:

  • "The Noritake Collectors‘ Encyclopedia" by Joan Van Patten
  • "Noritake: Jewel of the Orient" by Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen
  • "Collectors Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain" by Joan Van Patten
  • "Noritake China: Identification Made Easy" by China Replacement Buyer‘s Guide
  • Old Noritake Collectors‘ Website & Forum –
  • – Extensive guide to Japanese porcelain marks and history

Whether you‘re a seasoned collector or just starting to dabble in the world of Noritake china, there‘s always something new to learn and discover. By arming yourself with knowledge and a keen eye, you‘ll be well on your way to building a collection that‘s both beautiful and valuable. Happy hunting!