Collecting RS Prussia PorcelainMost collectors of RS Prussia porcelain will usually say that it was the elaborate, unique and artistic shapes that first drew their interest to this late 19th/early 20th century German porcelain. The distinctive and varied shapes of RSP and its related porcelain (RS Germany, Royal Vienna/Germany, etc.) markedly distinguish it from its contemporary porcelain. RSP is characterized by the sculpted and embossed shapes along its borders, which in many cases are in the forms of flowers, foliage, jewels, geometric designs and elaborate trims.
Many molds were named for their obvious shapes, such as carnation, iris, lily, ribbon-and-jewel, icicle and fleur-des-lis. Early RSP advertisements in retailer catalogs described these shapes and collectors subsequently adopted these description when referring to various items. In referring to the guidebooks by Lee Marple, one can find excerpts of these early advertisements and thus see how the orignal descriptions were used in describing and marketing the porcelain.
The most practicable way to become familiar and collect the varied and abundant molds is by studying pictures of bowls and plates. For the new collector, studying the molds will also help identify fake and misleading items and look-alikes. Many RSP molds seen on bowls and plates have corresponding chocolate/tea/coffee pots, vases, sugar and creamers, and cracker jars with similar mold versions. In 1982, antique book author Mary Frank Gaston established a mold numbering system that has become a universal reference systems for avid RSP collectors. The mold numbering system is first described in her book "Collectors Encyclopedia of R. S. Prussia" (Collector's Books). Her subsequent editions expanded and revised the mold numbering system as new discoveries and varieties became known. The current availability of all RSP reference books is listed in the R. S. Prussia Association web site - rsprussia.com.
The more elaborate RSP molds are in the styles that can be described as Victorian, art nouveau and rococo. These styles first appeared in the late 1880s, and further evolved during the early 1900s, until the more streamlined art deco designs took over.
The red mark ("wreath and star") is found on many of the popular and striking pieces that have allured collectors over the last forty years. Many of the elaborate and decorative molds have the "Royal Vienna" (with crown and the word "Germany") mark - the mystifying mark that was used as either a product line of the RSP factory or by an affiliated decorating studio. The smooth shaped pieces that are representative of the art deco period (1910 - 20) most often have the RS Germany and RS Poland marks. Yet, most RSP collectors know there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to RSP marks and molds. A single mold may be found with the red RSP mark, a green R. S. Germany mark, or many of the other related and double marks. It's these varieties and combinations that challenge the collector in dating the porcelain and determining when it was produced and exported from Prussia, Germany.