Working with Rosenthal products on a daily basis I can say that, however lovely the wares are, they are not very consistent in their markings. I therefore always dismissed differences in markings and looked solely at the pattern instead.
We continuously offer a large quantity of one of Rosenthal’s most popular patterns, the Sanssouci form in ivory or ‘Elfenbein’, decorated with the ‘Moosrose’ pattern.
In 1974 Rosenthal re-branded their classic forms and patterns, like ‘Moliere’, ‘Maria’ and ‘Sanssouci’ under the sub brand ‘Rosenthal Classic Rose’. Pieces before the change are simply marked ‘Rosenthal Germany’ or ‘Rosenthal Germany Sanssouci’ (I told you about inconsistency!). After this date there is a variety of marks containing (most often) the words: ‘Rosenthal Classic Rose Collection, Rosenthal Group Germany’.
Whilst it would take a very diligent guest to spot the differences at a dinner table there are differences that are easy to see once you know them.
The first, and most obvious is the gilding. The Rosenthal pieces have the gilding applied in a different manner making for small brushstrokes and an irregular edge. The Classic Rose pieces have gilding with a straight edge.
The second, slightly less obvious giveaway is visible in the pattern. The colour of the foliage is different, the older pieces have a slightly more brownish and darker foliage. The application process of the decoration is different as well, as the Classic Rose pieces look a bit more sharp and printed and the older Rosenthal Pieces have a slightly more painterly quality.
The third giveaway is the embossing on the plate. The newer Classic Rose pieces generally have a much clearer embossing whilst the older pieces seem too thickly glazed.
On some occasions the colour of the ivory porcelain is a bit darker in the older Rosenthal pieces, but this is not a rule of thumb.
We decided to split our 200+ piece collection of Sanssouci as we are working on a website redesign that will make stronger distinctions between different Rosenthal sub brands (Studio Line, Versace, Old Rosenthal and Classic Rose).
By the way, to add to the confusion Rosenthal rebranded it’s sub brand Classic Rose to Rosenthal Tradition recently. I’ll write about that in about 40 years or so.