Portmeirion Pottery in the 60s
Portmeirion Pottery, with its impractically tall silhouette and primitive art decoration, captured the mode of the sixties perfectly. Portmeirion's proprietor and designer, Susan Williams-Ellis, brought new ideas to the world of ceramics. Her most successful design from the sixties, Totem, combined a modern shape with patterns rooted in ancient cultures. It was the prefect set to bring out at the end of a sixties' dinner party.
Susan Williams-Ellis was the daughter of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who created the Portmeirion village in North Wales. He brought together a collection of features from buildings that would have been lost forever to create a miniature Italianate resort. It is a charming world and deceptively real.
Portmeirion Pottery is not made in Wales, but in Stoke-on-Trent. It came about when Susan Williams-Ellis took over the loss-making gift shop in the Portmeirion village.
Susan Williams-Ellis had an unconventional education, never taking an exam in her life. She went to the progressive Dartington School, studying pottery under Bernard and David Leach. She then went onto study painting with Graham Sutherland and sculpture with the Henry Moore Chelsea School of Art.
Susan Williams-Ellis married Euan Cooper-Willis in 1945. He was a Cambridge maths graduate and part-time stock-broker. They lived an almost self-sufficient life together in a farmhouse near Portmeirion. They had four children.
Susan Williams-Ellis' first venture into commercial pottery was to have her own designs painted onto blanks by A E Gray, the pottery famous for Susie Cooper's designs. At the same time Williams-Ellis was also producing textile designs.
She and her husband bought Gray's in 1960 and another pottery, Kirkhams, in 1961. They founded Portmeirion Pottery in January 1962. Kirkham's was a manufacturer of medical and scientific ceramics. The combination of these two firms and Susan Williams-Ellis' artist talent and vision made Portmeirion into the ceramic work that epitomised the style of the 60s.
Pottery is described by shape and pattern. The tall shape known as 'Cylinder' was key to the look of Portmeirion in the 60s. Williams-Ellis based it on the fortuitous discovery in Kirkham's archives of patterns of tall cylindrical shapes for medical ware.
One of the first designs launched with this shape was Talisman in 1962.
Early Talisman pieces were hand decorated, although most Talisman was decorated using a screen print process. Talisman featured an abstract, but informal pattern. I have seen yellow/orange, blue/purple and blue/green variants. There was also an early black and white version which is quite rare. It was originally offered as a cheaper alternative as it was less costly to produce when pieces were hand painted.
The blue/green combination is the most common. However, Talisman is scarce piece in comparison with the later Totem range. Look out for Talisman kitchen storage jars, which were quite popular in the sixties.
The Talisman range was discontinued in 1968.
Although quite scarce, pieces rather than complete sets can be found on eBay. Expect to pay £10 to £20 for individual pieces: milk jugs, cups and saucers or small pots.
Look for: Portmeirion Talisman on eBay
The range that defined Portmeirion in the 60s was Totem. William-Ellis combined the 'Cylinder' shape with patterns derived from native American Indian cultural art in a raised relief. The glazing process highlighted the raised patterns in a startling way. It was this marriage of a modern shape with patterns from traditional culture that proved so commercially successful. This formula was seen in other fields, for example Stag Minstrel furniture designed by Mike and Sylvia Reed, combined eighteenth century elegance with modern functionalism.
In spite of its modern looking profile, Portmeirion Totem, was not that functional. It won no Design Centre Awards. Its overly exaggerated shape proved easy to knock over, so collectors should carefully examine coffee pots for damage repair.
Portmeirion Totem though, is a design which symbolised the sixties. Like the Lava Lamp and G-Plan Fresco, it is a must-have product for any serious retro fan.
Totem was produced in amber, olive green, blue and a rare white finish. The coffee set is the most iconic, but there were also tea sets, plates and bowls.
Totem was so successful that other manufacturers started to imitate the style. One example was Folklore, by Lord Nelson Pottery, which used a very similar pattern, but on more traditional shapes.
To keep ahead of the pack, Portmeirion introduced a new range of Cylinder patterns based on a black basic shape with gold patterns. These included Coptic Brocade (1968), Gold Phoenix (1968) and Gold Lion (1968).
If you want to identify a genuine Portmeirion piece look out for the Portmeirion stamp on the reverse. The label reads:
PORTMEIRION "TOTEM" SUSAN WILLIAMS-ELLIS STOKE MADE IN ENGLAND
Totem was produced by Portmeirion for several years and is quite common. However, the large slender coffee pot was easily damaged, so look carefully for repairs and read eBay sellers' descriptions with care.
Prices are not astronomical as this design is quite common. You should be able to pick up a complete coffee set in amber on eBay for less than £40. Dealer prices will, of course, be higher. The other colours are more expensive. Olive green is the next most common, with blue being comparatively rare and white extremely rare.
Shop for Portmeirion Totem on eBay. Look for:
Of the later cylinder shapes, the most successful was Greek Key (1965), which was produced well into the 70s.
The original Greek Key pattern came from the archives of Kirkham's, the pottery Susan Williams-Ellis took over to found Portmeirion Pottery. It dated from Victorian times and was a copper plate used to decorate beer barrels and grocers' jars.
Susan Williams-Ellis used the pattern as a border around the top or edge of the pieces.
Like Totem, there was a strong hint of an ancient culture, this time that of ancient Greece. This combined with the modern cylinder shape to make a uniquely 'sixties' piece.
Greek Key was originally a black pattern on a glossy a white shape. Perhaps the most striking Greek Key colour combination though, is the gold and black illustrated above right. Portmeirion Greek Key can be found in the following combinations:
- Black on white
- Black on orange
- Black on yellow
- Black on turquoise
- Gold on matt black
- Gold on matt white
In 1968 the Greek Key range was further expanded when a new range of air tight kitchen containers was introduced. These were also made in 'Chemist Print', 'Ships' and 'Herald' patterns, all fitted with air tight wooden lids.
Greek Key was one of the more popular patterns, so it is relatively easy to get complete coffee sets. The range also included dinner plates and tureens, as well as the kitchen jars.
Expect to pay around £50 for a complete coffee set. Individual coffee pots sell for £10 to £20. Be careful about condition. The coffee pots are easily damaged and many will have been subject to repair. Look out in particular for re-glued lids.
Look for Portmeirion Greek Key on eBay
Portmeirion introduced a less exaggerated shape in 'Serif' in 1963. Note the shape of the handle (left), from which the name 'Serif' was derived. 'Serif' was initially sold with the Portmeirion Cypher and Jupiter patterns featuring a raised relief finish. The glaze finish on Jupiter proved difficult to perfect and it was quickly dropped, making it a rare pattern for collectors today.
The most commercially successful range in the 'Serif' shape was Magic City, introduced in 1966. Portmeirion Magic City featured images of dome shaped buildings suggesting Eastern culture. Also look out for Gold Rule (1968) which was an abstract pattern in black and brown on white.
The inspiration for Cypher came from ancient Minoan art from Crete. The Serif shape provided an alternative to the attenuated shape of Totem. The style though, was still very much in tune with the 60s' period.
Cypher was originally supplied by Susan Williams-Ellis as an exclusive order to a German distributer in the more common olive green colour. Initially UK distributors only sold pewter grey and brown colours. However, the olive green now seems to be the most common colour. As well as pewter grey and brown, there are also white and ice blue variations.
Although Cypher is comparatively rare, as it was not as popular as Totem at the time, it does not command high prices and bargains are possible on eBay.
Look for Portmeirion Cypher on eBay
The Portmeirion Jupiter range, also based on the Serif shape, was introduced in 1964. Jupiter was a modern design comprising a relief pattern of circles.
The original Jupiter range was available in petrol blue and rockingham brown. However, the glaze originally used for Jupiter had problems. Mild acids could discolour it. So for example, fruit left in bowls could affect the glaze. As a result the Jupiter petrol blue range was withdrawn.
A new greyish blue (often described as pewter blue) was added in 1966, but the range was discontinued in 1968. So Jupiter is comparatively rare.
However, sets do come up from time to time on eBay. You will need to pay upwards of £50 for a coffee set. Pewter blue seems to be the most common colour. Individual pieces and small groups, e.g. cup and saucer, or two cups, go for around £10 to £20.
Look for Portmeirion Jupiter on eBay
See www.thepotteries.org/allpotters/817a.htm for a short history of Portmeirion Potteries and a timeline.
See also our article about Portmeirion in the 70s
Books about Portmeirion
I would thoroughly recommend Portmeirion Pottery which is a very comprehensive guide to Portmeirion containing a large amount of useful data for collectors
The Story of Portmeirion Potteries 1960-1995 A Collectors' Guide is a small volume about Portmeirion Pottery containing many photographs and a useful history.
I also found Ceramics of the 1960s (Shire Album) very useful resource for Portmeirion and other pottery from the 60s.
Add your comments on Portmeirion Pottery
"I have a Greek Key Coffee Set(Black & Gold)inherited from family and I wondered if anyone is intested in it or even putting a value on it for me.
Thank you" Catherine Godley 10/10/2011
Complete coffee sets sell on eBay for around £50. (See the section above on Greek Key)." Retrowow 11/10/2011
"I have a complete coffee set by Susan in the Jupiter brown design. The handle on 1 cup is broken. Is it worth anything?" Joan 27/02/2012
"I have a 6 place, complete blue totem coffee set. Excellent condition.
What is it worth" christine kennard 05/10/2012
It would sell for between £20 and £50 on eBay.
best regards." Steven 05/10/2012
"I have a Portmeirion coffee set with the Coptic Brocade design on it and I am finding it very difficult to get some kind of evaluation on it. Could you possibly give me some idea of how much it is worth please." Jacqueline Bell 19/11/2012
Coptic Brocade is pretty rare. However, it does not seem to fetch more than other Portmeirion. Recently a coffee cup and saucer sold for £5 on eBay. I think a whole set would be worth around £50 to £100.
I would be inclined to keep it as its rarity may eventually push up the value.
Steven" Steven 20/11/2012
"Hello, I have a black totem pole style full coffee set in perfect condition, but it has a gold phoenix pattern, not greek key pattern. Could you give me any indication of its value. I purchased the set in circa 1979.
Regards" Margaret Barrett 03/01/2013
"I have a Pheonix coffee set, it has the coffee pot with lid, sugar bowl, milk jug, 4 complete cup and saucers, where am i best to try and sell it, and how much can i expect to get for it ? thanks." carole Bacon 05/01/2013
"Hi Margaret, Your set is worth around £30 to £60 (if you are selling). The best place to sell is eBay, unless you are a dealer with your own shop. Have a look at completed listings to see what other pieces went for. Alternatively, you could offer it for sale on this comment page, if you give your details. Best regards" Steven 06/01/2013
"Hi Margaret. I'm looking for the pheonix set.Are you interested in selling? If so, price please." Wendy Pain 10/01/2013
"I have the complete Amber Totem dinner service including coffee set, casserole dishes, serving plates etc. All in good condition only ever used Christmas can you tell me the approximate cost?" Pauline 21/01/2013
"Hi Pauline, A complete set would sell for from £40 to £80 on eBay. Best regards" Steven 21/01/2013
"I have a matt purple cylindre-shape coffee service, bought in the early 1970's. Does it have any value?P" Marilyn Anstey 23/01/2013
"Hi Marilyn, Does it have a large gold medallion pattern on it?" Steven 24/01/2013
I have a small bowl made by Susan Williams-Ellis. It is Portmerion and also has Botanic Garden written on it.
There is a number 1 on it also. Can you value this for me please?" Jess Dryburgh 26/01/2013
"Hi Jess, It's really hard to say as there were a huge range of designs in Botanic Garden. Botanic Garden is very collectable, so at a guess I'd say £10. The best way to find out is to look on eBay completed listings for similar designs. Best regards" Steven 26/01/2013
"just recieved a coffee set with cofee pot milk and sugar container 6 cups and saucers the patten is greek key yellow/gold with black pattern just wondering value
are different colors more rare/valuable than others?" tim 12/02/2013
The complete set with the coffee pot would be worth around £50 on eBay. Without the coffee pot may be £20 to £30. There isn't much difference in value between different colours of Greek Key. Best regards" Steven 12/02/2013
"I am looking for blue totem coffee cups and saucers and coffee pot. Has anyone got some for sale?" Pamela West 24/02/2013
"I have an Orange Greek Key covered Tureen to sell - what sort of figure should I start the bidding on please" Sue 03/03/2013
"Hi Sue, Tureens aren't that common especially an orange one. You need to find someone who is looking for that specific item. I would start at the minimum price you are prepared to accept for the item. Best regards" Steven 03/03/2013
"I have a Southampton FC mug with team autographs from 1976 in perfect condition, please can anyone give me some info on how many and value... Thanks Karen" Karen 08/03/2013
"Please can you value roughly a 76 fa cup southampton mug from portmeirion which is back with embossed crest, and team autographs. I have searched the internet but not been able to find, plus how many were manufactured. Many thanks" Karen 09/03/2013
"Hi Karen, Portmeirion did produce quite a few of these commemorative mugs. The FA cup final ones were popular in the 70s. Having said that very few come up for sale on eBay. One from 1972 for Sunderland in 1973 sold for £59. However, Gordon Banks, Footballer of the year failed to sell with a starting price of £4.99. Best regards," Steven 09/03/2013
"Thank you Steven, plan on keeping it, a future antique for my grandchildren." Karen 09/03/2013
"I have a Susan Williams Ellis "Totem" Trinket Box. It has a picture of William Shakespeare on the front and his birthdate 1564. It is sage green. I can not find any information about it and wonder if you could help." Br Richardsonenda 23/03/2013
"I have a Greek key coffee set with black on a lime green background. this colour range does not appear on most lists. Was it produced later or is it unusual in any way?
Many thanks" Della 09/04/2013
"Hello, I have two old small canisters with cork tops. The date on one base is 1965. They have blue floral patterns. Can you tell me the pattern? Thanks" Caroline 04/05/2013
I have. Several items of port Merion Pomona marked Susan William Ellis . Storage jars spice jars utensil jar salad bowl . Have you any Idea of the price I should sell for ?" Beverlie Ingram 19/05/2013
Have a look at eBay completed listings. Prices vary from £2 to £50 depending on the piece. If you can see what similar items sell for you will have a good idea of value. Best regards" steven 19/05/2013
"I have a Susan Williams-Ellis Portmeirion purple mug which says 'Friendships Offering' on the front in gold lettering and is part of the love and friendship collection. Do you know of this collection at all, and the mugs worth as I have been unable to find much on it at all. Thanks." Chloe 19/06/2013
They are part of the 'Love and Friendship' collection, which looks to be similar to the commemorative mugs produced in the 60s and 70s. Looking at the colour I would say it was from the early 70s. As to value, they are quite rare, but don't fetch much. One sold on eBay recently for just £3.
Best regards" steven 24/06/2013
I have a coffee set with armorial design it golden yellow with black coats of arms from the british herald.
It is not marked portmerrion but the design certainly is with the tall coffee pot and the full set." Jean 25/06/2013
"I have the remnants of a Talisman (blue/green) dinner service including two fantastic tureens with totem lids. Six soup bowls (with handles) an octagonal meat dish and about 20 dishes of all sizes. Some pieces are numbered i.e. 4/68. I am particularly interested to see whether the best idea is to sell individually or as a lot. I also wondered what is the best place (apart from ebay) to do this?" david 25/06/2013
Why not eBay? This is certainly the best place to sell. Items will also go for more individually. If you sell to a dealer or local auction you will almost certainly get less. best regards" steven 25/06/2013
" Hi I have a large bowl with blue flowers on one is a rose it has your stamp on the bottom also a number which is 41. Any help really appreciated thanks. Steve" Steve 20/07/2013
"I have a coffee pot, milk jug and sugar bowl and one cup in gold greek key on a purple background. I have not seen any others for sale in this colour: are they rare?
Ken" ken farquhar 08/08/2013
"Hello I have an old looking chamber pot, called the corsets made in stoke on trent. pot, its white and black, with"the khiva corselet,Dermathistic corsetthe y and n diagonal seam corsets,and the james Jessup &co Tottenham T,H corset, inside theres an array of ladies with corsets on saying the shape is so elegant. can you tell me how old it is please, and how much in value do you think
kindest regards jacky" jacky malone 11/08/2013
"My husband has a collection of Portmeirion coffee pots. In the collection are two Jupiter pots, one is a definite blue, whilst the other looks almost black. We assume that one is Petrol Blue and the other is Pewter Blue, but which is which? We have tried to find information online, but we can only find that there were two different blues, but no details as to which is the darker one." Kathy 18/08/2013
"I have a 1970 Portmeirion Phoenix 16 piece Coffee set (Pot and lid, milk jug, sugar bowl and 6 cups and saucers) which is in lovely condition. I want to sell to make space How much can I ask for it please?" Caz 29/08/2013
"I am looking for Portmerion Totem coffee in white. two saucers and one cup 3 1/2 inch cups. Do you have any or could you get hold of them?" Chris Harris 05/09/2013
"I have a coffee set which is matt black with white flowers. I think it is rare because I never see any others for sale on ebay. Can you tell me the name of this design?" Mary 24/11/2013
"another coffee set which I can find no other examples of:the only mark is portmeirion pottery stoke on trent: base colour of black with a gilded pattern of bronze and gold in an elongated lattice pattern. The centre of each "eye" shape has a circle with a rough star shape within.
Any ideas on the name of the pattern, and when it was produceD" Joe Edensor 05/12/2013
"Hello, I have a very light blue totem coffee pot. I bought it with a matt black lid which I think is the wrong lid but the pot is in a great condition. I can't see that this colour was manufactured on a larger basis. Could you please tell me more about it and how much it is worth. Also, I have the majority of a matt black coffee set in the style of totem but smooth by portmeirion. How much would this sell for? Thank you, Ceri." Ceri McDade 06/01/2014
"I have a coffee set Magic Garden. Coffee pot creamer,sugar bowl & 6 cups. Can you give indication of value please" Helen 15/01/2014
Magic Garden is very collectable. Sets like this sell for between £50 and £100 on eBay. Best regards" steven 15/01/2014
"I have a lime green and black port merion greek key coffee set - engagement present about 1969. Does it have any value?" Linda 28/01/2014
A complete set would be worth around £50. best regards" steven 29/01/2014
"I have a complete Jupiter coffee set in petrol blue (I think!) in perfect condition, purchased in 1966. What would be the value if I sold it?" Sandra Grayden 09/02/2014
"I have four coffee cups. On the base there is a stamp saying Portmeirion Pottery, designed by Susan Williams Ellis. There are also what look to be serial numbers on each cup. They have a white background with a black diamond shape repeating around the cup in two halves. (Difficult to describe!) I can't find any images of this anywhere online, can anyone suggest what it might be?" Dawn 02/03/2014
"Hi I have a full dinner service in petrol blue Jupiter 31 piece plus turreens and 2 meat dishes can give an idea of its value please" Andy Holland 28/03/2014
"I have Portmerion Plain matt black coffee set in excellent condition and all the pieces are there, could you gve me an idea of value, thank for you time" Rosa Filor 29/03/2014
It's hard to be really precise as complete sets don't come up that often. For a complete Jupiter dinner service, I'd say in the region of £100. I hope this helps." Steven 29/03/2014
Coffee sets do come up quite frequently. I'd value a complete Matt Black service at £50.
best regards" Steven 29/03/2014
"Hi - I have a large (holds over a pint) tankard in matt black with a golden sun design on it. It is narrower at the top then the base and I have not seen any other tankards in this shape and have seen very few items with this design. Do you know anything about this design? Thanks so much" Ellen 26/04/2014
"Hi please could you tell me what colour saucers were sold with the original Magic garden coffee set? I have seen sets with white and black saucers.Kind Regards" Julie 28/04/2014
"I've seen them with black or white saucers. There was a boxed set sold on eBay recently with white saucers, so I assume that it must be genuine. However, there was no backstamp on the saucer." Steven 28/04/2014
"I have a Blue Garland coffee set Tall pot, milk jug, sugar bowl, 6 tall cups, black saucers, black pot lid, the only time I have seen this pattern is on one piece in a portmeirion pottery book.
Any idea on value for household insurance please?" Sue 06/05/2014
"Please can you let me know the value of a full dinner set of brown Cypher ? The set includes 2 serving dishes, six place settings including dinner and side plates, and six desert bowls with their own saucers. And one serving platter? Or maybe the individual prices of each? It seems a shame to split the set as they virtually never come up for sale." Jo 17/05/2014
"I have a white duck egg holder marked as portmeirion 1 and signed by Susan Williams Ellis. Is it collectables?" Sue baker 29/05/2014
"Hi I've got a full Phoenix coffee set ..sadly minus the top of the lid.Where can I get a replacement lid?
Please help me .Tris" tris2910 02/06/2014
"That might be difficult. You could try eBay, or find a damaged coffee pot with a good lid." Steven 02/06/2014
"I have a Magic Garden tea set, never used,still in it's original packing - tissue paper and straw. 6 cups and white saucers,6 tea plates,milk jug,sugar bowl and sandwich plate. Any interest,I am looking for around £90 or near offer, excluding post and packing." Muriel 04/06/2014
"I have 3 Gold Rule coffee cups with saucers. Perfect condition. Anyone have the rest or interested in acquiring them?" Steve 08/06/2014
"Which saucers are the correct ones for lion pattern high gloss coffee set matt black or black high gloss" William Feeney 20/07/2014
"I have a botanic garden hyacinth bulb vase in perfect condition including label. Does anyone know the value of it?" Mike Gregory 05/08/2014
"Hello, would someone be able to kindly help me with a few pieces my grandmother has please. Happy to provide pictures if possible or descriptions! Thanks" Tanya 11/08/2014
"I have one perfect pewter grey cup and saucer which is marked Portmerion with Susan Williams Ellis and Made in England on the base of each but nothing else. I know from looking through your site that it is Cypher. I bought it in about 1963 for a present for my grandmother. Can you tell me why the name is missing and if it is worth more than about £20? Thanks." Pam 12/08/2014
"i have two greek key yellow susan Williams ellis casserole dishes and I cannot find them on any site. could you tell me if there worth anything please. thankyou." janet little 24/08/2014
"Hi I have just aquiired 2 portmeirion jars (not sure what they are really) they both have lids. Underneath they have the portmeirion green stamp with what I think is a date 2/63 both have the same dates. They have also got a number 4187. Would anyone be kind enough to let me know which pattern this is please. Many thanks" Mich Conway 14/09/2014
"I have just bought a Cypher round pot with a deep lid. Is it a sugar pot? The deep lid is baffling me. I've searched the web & can't find one.
Please solve this little mystery. Thanks" Claire aldridge 16/09/2014
"Hi I'm looking for a black lid for greek key set to replace broken one :-(. anyone got just a lid????" Karen 25/09/2014
"My father has a set of six Magic Garden coffee cups and saucers. Are they worth anything?" Margaret Edwards 01/10/2014
"I have 4 cups & saucers, a sugar bowl and milk jug in Susan Williams-Ellis Totem design in white, which I believe is fairly rare. No chips or cracks, but crazed and 2 of the cups have obviously been used far more than the others as they are a bit discoloured. Any ideas on value? Many thanks." Ellie 07/10/2014
"To Margaret. I'd guess the value of around £20." Steven 11/10/2014
"To Ellie, Portmeiron Totem in white does come up quite frequently on eBay. The set would be worth about £25." Steven 11/10/2014
"I have a pot with a cork stopper. Talisman design by susan Williams ellis. (brown and yellow pattern). Do you think it is worth anything. Thanks" Penny 11/01/2015
"Hi could u tell me the value of a 15 piece magic garden coffee set unused many thanks" dawn manning 30/01/2015
"hi i have a tailsman white cylinder shape with designs. no color just the white.has the stamp inside with "totem" in the stamp. what would you say its worth ?" sonja h 30/01/2015
"Seen a sailing boat set (black on white) for £35 it consists of coffee pot 6 cups/saucers, milk jug and sugar pot, all in good condition. I like it but Is this a good price? Thank you, fbt" Felix 25/02/2015
"Hi i have recently bought Portmeirion Black Greek gold stule coffee set. 6 Mugs tall coffee pot with lid bowl and milk pot on mint condition how can i go about getting just 6 saucers to go with cups how much would buyers pay for this ?" Antoine 13/03/2015
I think I have a full set of 'Magic Garden. I can't find it all on ebay or anywhere. Where would I go about finding out some more info on them?
Thanks!" Robert Green 21/03/2015
"I have 6 portmerion totem blue storage jars. Would you know the value of them
THANKYOU" Ruth lamb 28/03/2015
"I have a gold sign milk ju . Could you please let me know what its worth please
Many thanks" cheryl 29/03/2015
"I have a rare white Totem casserole dish with lid, was wondering if anyone interested in buying, how to go about it and what price it should be sold at.Thanks" Melanie 07/05/2015
"Hi, I have a complete coffee set of Portmeirion Totem in white which I have been told is rare. It's in really good condition with no breaks or cracks as it has not been used. Would you be able to give an approximate value please? Thanks Sian" Sian Dinning 25/05/2015
"Hi Sian, I would guess around £100. Coffee pots on their own are worth about £30. Best regards" Steven 25/05/2015
" looking for Portmerion Phoenix coffee pot lid please or coffee pot complete ,located Bedfordshire." kamyonsofor 10/06/2015
"I have a plain white spaniel figurine which I'm told by Portmeirion was manufactured between 1962 and 1968. I've never really been a fan of it (it was inherited) and I've been offered £10 for it and wondered if that's a fair price please" Sandie 16/06/2015
"I have a Botanic Garden tea/coffee pot. On the front it has cistus ladanferious on the back Barbados Aloe. The back stamp is in yellow and says Portmeirion Pottery designed by Susan Williams Ellis. There's no mention of Botanic Garden. Could you date it for me please?
Thank you." Yvonne 17/06/2015
"I am a historian of the British temperance movement and have been collecting temperance items on Ebay since 2006. I am puzzled by the several Portmeirion items that I own because they reproduce motifs from temperance ware in the Victorian period, most notably from George Cruickshank's famous series 'The bottle' (1847) showing the drunkard's decline and fall. Can you pose inform me why these were produced? I ask because the Bodleian Library does not seem to own the reference book on the firm's products which I would otherwise have consulted" Professor Sir Brian Harrison 21/06/2015
"Hello and thankyou for being available for advice. I have come across a dark green oval basketweave dish 230mm x 170mm I believe to be a base of a tureen or similiar having PORTMEIRION Made in England on base. Would gladly pass on to anyone searching for this item . Gather value is of little being base only ? Thankyou" Mick Anstee 30/06/2015
"Hi. I have a complete coffee set with white coffee pot with black printed pantomime characters on it and marked pantomime but it is missing its lid - would it have been white or black? Any idea where I can get one?" Marion 06/08/2015
"Can you help please? I have a complete set of Portmeirion Sailing Ships tea/coffee . I'm not sure if the pot is for tea or coffee. It is not a tall pot and it measures 7" tall to top of handle.The 6 mugs are 5" Tall and have 6 plain black saucers.The milk jug is plain black and sugar bowl is white with black Mariners?pattern.Can you clarify whether this is classed as a tea or coffee set please and let me know it's appropriate value. Than you." Ann Williams 18/08/2015
"I have a Black Portmeirion coffee pot... plain. No markings. I can't find a price for this pot anywhere. I'm hoping you can help. It is tall, skinny and black. No designs and no marking. Thank you very much." Alisa Stevens 22/09/2015
"I have a soup bowl by susan williams ellis dated 1978 number 38 with 2 a pictures of a bird on a twig and a lake in the background it is in very good condition,is it worth to keep saving and of any value" David potter 05/12/2015
"We have a substantial collection of olive green totem pottery available if anyone is interested." Simon Turton 13/12/2015
"I have a green Totem spice jar with a wooden (not cork) lid with rubber seal - is this a genuine item? There is the correct mark on the bottom but it's very hard to read the black on the dark green!" Sue Wright 13/02/2016
"I have acquired a set of four storage jars Oranges & Lemons pattern. They are 'named' on the front in Welsh SIWGWR for sugar etc., I have never see this on any Portmeirion pieces before, is it rare/unusual or just applied for a particular retailer. Help please thank you" Angela Williams 05/03/2016
"hi I have a brown (totem?) 2 handled mug/tumbler with William Shakespeare and date 1546
can you tell me if its worth anything please?" deborahashman 13/03/2016
I have a chamber pot, given to my Grandparents on their wedding day. The oval emblem on the bottom say "The Bottle" By Cruikshank circa 1847 Portmeirion Pottery Stoke on Trent Made in England. The pot describes the decline and eventual murder of a family after the father begins to drink alcohol. Does it have any value?" amanda cordero 22/03/2016
I have 3 pieces of PORTMEIRION SUMMER STRAWBERRIES Serving Bowl, and two platters.
The platters have on their backs 10 & 11 the bowl 4
what does this mean??" Rick 01/04/2016
"What a great advice service you provide! So many questions to answer!! Ive scrolled through so I hope I'm not repeating a question but can you tell me please what the significance of a coloured back stamp is - if anything? My Magic City item has an orange one, but Ive noticed others on eBay that are plain. Thanks in advance for your help." Angela Gibson 15/04/2016
"Hi Angela, Portmeirion used a variety of different backstamps over the years and so it will just be whatever they had to use at the time. As far as we know there is no significance to your orange version of the Magic City stamp." Purely Portmeirion 24/04/2016
"Hi, i have a red flan dish and large red soufflÃ© dish with Portmeirion Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, Made in England on the bases. Any info about age, value, much appreciated as not finding anything on internet. Thank you" Alison O'Neill 01/05/2016
"Hi, what a wonderfully informative site. We have two sets of brown Totem coffee cups that are very slightly different in height. The slightly taller ones (by 2mm) have a heavily embossed stamp on the base. The other type is a slightly lighter glaze and has a non embossed transfer stamp on the base. Can you elaborate on this? Thank you." Howard 03/05/2016
"hi i have 2 totem mugs blue have you anymore information on them please." stephen walden 07/05/2016
"Hi Alison what you have is some Red Dragon cookware.
Red Dragon Cookware was a range of designer cookware based on a new fluted shape. These items however have become hard to find due to problems with the fully vitrified stoneware body. In some instances, larger items would crack in the oven and the glaze did not pass tough regulations set by the USA and so any items sold in the UK were withdrawn. The cookware was originally designed to be both ornamental and useful and was called Red Dragon because of the vibrant red glaze placed over a black clay slip undercoat. This made the black show through the gorgeous red on raised areas giving each piece individuality.
The value would depend on condition and finding a collector." Purely Portmeirion 10/05/2016
"Hi, I have brought back to the UK my mother's 16 piece black Phoenix coffee set, never used and in pristine condition. The set has the backstamp however the coffee pot only has a Phoenix on one side. Can you tell me if this is normal? Saara" Saara 14/05/2016
"I note the authenticity guidance relating to the stamp, yet there is repeated references to 'Portmerion' above, and responses as if these are authentic Portmeirion pieces. Was there a period when the stamping was dyslexic, or is the guidance above a little 'free'?" Chris 11/06/2016
"Please can you help I also have a Greek key coffee set with black on a lime green background this colour range does not appear on most lists.
Please could you advise as to the value of the set which is complete & in perfect condition.
Paul." PAUL JONES 28/06/2016
"Hi my mum has the Arabian Brocade coffee set in excellent condition how much is it valued at? She also has a tea and coffee set in Magic City but doesnt think they are as rare and therefore not so valuable is she right?" anita edney 24/07/2016
"As I've received no response, I would like to repeat the request for help I made about a year ago, which reads as follows: "I am a historian of the British temperance movement and have been collecting temperance items on Ebay since 2006. I am puzzled by the several Portmeirion items that I own because they reproduce motifs from temperance ware in the Victorian period, most notably from George Cruikshank's famous series 'The bottle' (1847) showing the drunkard's decline and fall. Can you pose inform me why these were produced, or tell me anything about their history?" Professor Sir Brian Harrison 21/06/2015" Professor Sir Brian Harrison 25/07/2016
"Please could anybody tell me where I can buy replacement rubber seals for portmerium storage jars? I still want to use the lovely jars but the seal has gone brittle and is no longer air tight.
Many thanks." Suzi race 03/09/2016
""As I've received no response, I would like to repeat the request for help I made about a year ago, which reads as follows: "I am a historian of the British temperance movement and have been collecting temperance items on Ebay since 2006. I am puzzled by the several Portmeirion items that I own because they reproduce motifs from temperance ware in the Victorian period, most notably from George Cruikshank's famous series 'The bottle' (1847) showing the drunkard's decline and fall. Can you pse inform me why these were produced, or tell me anything about their history?" These Portmeirion items are briefly discussed towards the end of the article I have published with Ian Holmes in the latest issue of the English Ceramic Circle's 'Transactions' Vol.26 (2015) pp.229-50. Professor Sir Brian Harrison 21/06/2015" Professor Sir Brian Harrison 25/07/2016" Professor Sir Brian Harrison 11/09/2016
"I have a black diamond totem coffee set, minus the sugar bowl. I bought it in 1967 and it has ever been used. It is one of the early sets so hasn't any gold markings. Saucers and the coffee lid is black. Can anyone help with the value. Thanks." Carol Arro 15/09/2016
"I have a Portmeirion Coffee set, Black & Gold Phoenix pattern by John Cuffley. All perfect.
Cylindrical shape Coffee pot, 6 cylindrical Coffee cups, matching cylindrical Jug and Sugar bowl.
Could you give me some idea of its value and where best to sell it, please..?" Annette Bhalla 16/09/2016
"I have a Susan Williams-Ellis Greek Key coffee
set. Is it worth anything." jean sharpI 24/09/2016
"I have a Portmeirion Coffee set,Black and G old Greek Key pattern by Susan Williams-Ellis.Could you give me some idea of is value and where to take it to sell.Thankyou" jean sharpI 24/09/2016
"Hello I have just bought a jug which I would think was for custard. It is by Susan williams Ellis. It has a band of pink rosebuds around the middle and is turquoise and white, but has no date or numbers on it." Felicity doble 25/09/2016
"We have a 12 piece olive green Portmeirion Totem dinner service. One soup bowl handle is broken. It includes the coffee set. Is this of any interest to buyers? D" Debbie Van est 01/10/2016
"I have a Persian brocade coffee set in very good condition, so cracks or chips and no wearing to the gold, I don't think it's ever been used, do you know the value of it?" val bryn 07/10/2016
"I have a Persian brocade coffee set in excellent condition, do you know how much it might be worth" val bryn 07/10/2016
"Hello, I have 5 yellow & brown Talisman coffee cups and saucers. 4 of them have black stamp on the base, but one has a teal blue stamp. Please could give me an indication of how much they might be worth? Many thanks for your time." Sophie Humble 14/10/2016
I have a Gazunder with the fish design BUT also with the wording ' ANNE'S CHIP SHOP THE BEST PLAICE IN TOWN ' ON THE INNER OF THE BOWL 'YOU'VE NEVER HADDOCK SO GOOD ''
COULD YOU PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME MORE AS TO AGE AND WHERE ? it has the logo on the base oval shape in a light tan colour ?
x" Julie Bedlow 14/11/2016
"Hi, I have found a milk jug from the sailing ships range. I am finding it difficult to find anything much about this Portmeirion range and in particular have not seen jugs at all. It is numbered 8086. Does this mean 80 of 86? Do you know anything about this range?
Tash" Natasha du Cros 03/01/2017
"Hi there I have a Magic Garden coffee set and the complete dinner service all unused. They sat on a Welsh dresser before being packed away. How much do you think they are worth please.thanks Linda" Linda Bullen 06/01/2017
"I have a portmeirion Greek key design in lime green, coffee pot , six cups and saucers, with milk jug and sugar bowl, all in excellent condition . Can you give me a value on them please." Rose 29/01/2017
"I have the Totem green complete coffee set.
I also have a complete dinner service including 6 of each fish and dinner plates, side plates, soup cups and saucers, pudding dishes, 2 vegetable turines, 1 meat platter, 1 gravy jug and saucer, 2 sauce containers with stoppers, and 1 beer mug.
All are in excellent condition. Could you give me an idea about thier value please." Margaret 02/02/2017
"Hello! I have a plain black, eggshell finish, coffee set, with pot, jug, bowl and six coffee cans and saucers. It is not marked, but certain it is Portmeirion, as me Mothers started her collection in the 60's!
Want to sell, as scared it might get broken. Any ideas on price and where to advertise please.
Thanks" Kate Cottier 19/03/2017
"I have a moss agate pattern "oil" bottle that my grandfather bought. I believe this pattern is quite rare. Any information ? Thanks Alison" Alison 29/03/2017
I have a cornucopia oil or vinegar bottle, I cannot see any information regarding this, is it a rarer pattern please? And how much is it worth? Thanks" Fran 18/04/2017
"Like the comments about some of the portmeirion tea set. I have been collecting parian ware of many different items from jugs to posy vase and 4 coffee mugs in the totum style which cost me 40 pounds 20 yrs ago.
How could I have them all valued as my daughter says I have to get rid of all my collectables." Daryl 07/05/2017
"Hi. I have an unmarked set of plain matt black coffee cylinder & espresso cups & saucers.
I can't find any information about unmarked Portmeirion.
I can't find any images of plain matt black sets.
Does this mean it's a fake?
Very keen to hear from you?
Sylvia" Sylvia 09/06/2017
"Hello I have a replica FA Cup measuring 12" high made I think in the early 80s by Portmerion could you tell me anything about it like how many were made what the current value might be I know about 200 full size were made but nothing on my mine I have owned since new
Paul" paul nixon 15/06/2017
"I'm missing a sugar bowl from a golden lion on a white background coffee set, can't find white anywhere is it a rarity just to complete my display, thanks." John Shaw 18/06/2017
"Hello, I was wondering if you could please give me any idea of the value of a Portmeirion Coffe set I bought in the late 60's. It is a full set of six coffee cups and saucers, milk jug, Suger bowl, and tall coffee pot. It has never been used, and is in as new condition. The name on the base is Reddington's New Foot Soldiers. Many thanks
Tom Bennett." Thomas Bennett 25/06/2017
"Hello, my sister wants to sell her Portmeirion Pomona pitcher and bowl. The pitcher is number 142 and the bowl is 52 its in excellent condition as its been in a cupboard for years but does not know its value.
Thank-you for your help.
Sandra Pritchard" Sandra Pritchard 26/07/2017
"Hi I have 6 cups & saucers milk & super bowl in white gold greek marked portmerion pottery susan williams ellis could you please let me know how much I could sell for thanks" Andrea 05/08/2017
"Hi. I have a coffee set white gold collection with block gold signs coffe pot, 4 cups and saucers, milk and sugar is it worth anything" Joan kelly 03/10/2017
"Hi, I have a coffee service in Cypher in the Serif shape in brown. There is some damage however, as the little knob on the coffee pot lid has broken off but I still have it. There are only 5 cups, one of which has had its handle glued back on.
I was wondering what it would be worth?" Jane Broughton 09/11/2017
"I have a set of 6 large tankards each with a different black and white print on them in a series titled "the bottle" can anyone tell me about them? They each have the portmerion stamp on the bottom and the number 4162.
Thank you" Sam Williams 19/12/2017
"i have a tea set summer magic by susan williams ellis is it worth anything" linda williams 06/01/2018
"I have a Jupiter set including coffee pot, sugar bowl, milk jug and 6 cups and saucers in perfect condition. Strangely, the sugar bowl and coffee pot aren't backstamped, is this normal?" Eleanor 14/02/2018
"I have 2 Portmeirion large 7" x 4" round bulging bowls with one handle on the side -- they almost look like huge teacups decorated with white and black images/scenes. One titled Velocipedes, the other The Bottle by Cruikshank. Can you tell me what each is worth? I cannot find anything like them on line. Thanks" ellen 05/04/2018
"I have a Portmeirion set of 6 coffee cups and saucers and 6 soup bowls in a Cornflower design from the 1960s. I have never seen this design mentioned anywhere yet we had a dinner service in it, 6 large plates, 6 medium plates and 6 small plates (one small one remaining) and also had 4 huge breakfast cups and saucers (two saucers remaining), all broken over time. I also still have a couple of other items, a tall coffee mug and a marmalade (?) pot without a lid. Any idea of the value of these or why they are never mentioned?" Pam Cusack 08/04/2018
"I have two very large deep bowls marked portmeirion. They have a subtle mottled sage green glaze. I've owned them for years and have never seen this finish elsewhere. Any help is much appreciated." Bea Burns 24/06/2018
"I have a jupiter petrol blue coffee set could you suggest value.Thanks" Geoffrey Last 11/07/2018
"About £50. All the best" Steven 12/07/2018
"Hello, I have picked up a white totem coffee set (full) and i am enjoying having it on display but wondering if i should insure the set and if so would you be able to provide a estimate.
Thanks very much. Katie" Katie M 13/08/2018
"You should be able to replace it on eBay for maximum £200, if you have to buy each piece individually. Most sets sell for c£50, but whit is a little rarer. All the best" Steven 14/08/2018
"I have a Portmeirion Red Dragon Casserole Dish with lid that has never been used but kept mostly for its decorative appeal. From what I've read on your page it seems that most were withdrawn. Is this likely to have any value due to its rarity? I'm not sure of its age. Thanks." Margaret 19/09/2018
In spite of the previous comment Red Dragon in not making big money on eBay. I haven't seen a casserole dish, but most items sell for £10 to £20, it might be worth a bit more depending on condition. All the best" Steven 20/09/2018
"I have just inherited a small pin dish backstamped with Portmeirion Ware designed by Susan Williams-Ellis Grays Pottery Stoke on Trent, I can't find the pattern anywhere or on any website. It is gold with tiny black stars and dots.Difficult to describe without showing a photo. I wondered what it would be worth" Charlotte 01/10/2018
"With reference to my last message,I realise it's Moss Agate" Charlotte 01/10/2018
"Helloeveryone, I am in need of a Portmeirion Magic City coffee pot lid (black). Does anyone have one for sale or know of anywhere I can get one? Thanks" Debbie Jones 14/12/2018
"I have a sugar and cream. stamp says Gold Dot by Susan William-Ellis Portmeirion England. white background,
gold, black and brown spots and diamonds. cant find on internet or in Portmeirion book.. help please." maggie 19/05/2019
"I have a complete Phoenix coffee set on the bottom it has stamp
Portmerion pottery designed by Susan Williams Ellis
Stoke on Trent made in England. How much would I be able to sell this" Sandra 15/06/2019
Phoenix coffee sets sell from 18 to 50 pounds on eBay. best regards" Steven 15/06/2019
"Hi Sandra I have a complete Susan Williams Ellis Portmeirion Gold Rule Coffee Set. What would this be worth today ?
Sue FosterAEJ" Sue Foster 21/06/2019
"I have 2 Portmeirion Mugs in Black & Gold
1) Mayflower (with map on reverse)
This is quite a common one I believe
2) The other is "Save Snowdonia's National Park"
In English and WelsThe base says designed by Susan Williams-Ellis
I can find no information on the latter at all
Anyone help with history and valuation please" George M 23/06/2019
"I have found a complete coffee set with coffe jug for very reasonable cost but the making is impressed into the pieces and not stamped. Says all right words but does anyone know of it being impressed on pieces.?" Dan Letzer 10/07/2019
"Phoenix complete coffee set. Has not john cuffley but susan williams
Ellis stamp. All information on this set does not show susan stamp is this misprint? Was given as gift 1974. Thankyou" Sandra 30/07/2019
"50 years ago I bought every piece made in the Totem pattern while we lived in Germany on a military base, it fit my lifestyle and I loved it. When we returned to the US and I remarried I turned to other English china, after discovering ebay I started collecting vintage china and stoneware and I am now sitting in a house where there is not room for another plate and I am still looking at buying more. It is a sickness but it has been fun." Karin Byars 16/11/2019
"Could anyone tell me how much an oval cactus grandiflorus (night flowering cereus) platter, approx 33cm X 23cm, with the 1972 susan william ellis backstamp is worth? I believe it is quite rare." jacquie 16/12/2019
"Hi, my mother has a complete and pristine Aztec Brocade coffee set. Could anyone tell me how much it would be worth? Thank you" Lisa 17/06/2020
"Hi Lisa, One sold on eBay for 75 pounds recently. It didn't have the milk jug. So yours might be worth slightly more say 80 to 100 pounds.
But that's eBay prices, you will get less from a dealer or auction." Steven 18/06/2020
"I have bought a vase with handles featuring Birds of Britain bearded tit. On the base in raised white lettering it says Portmeirion Made in England and the number 38 in green. It does not have the normal green stamp. Could you please advise me what date this could be and if it is of any value? Thank you Anne" anne pollard 23/08/2020
I have two black and gold tankards with lions on them and a gold rim. The stamp on the bottom is green and says designed by Susan Williams Ellis. Would they be originals, and if so how old would they be, and do they have any value?
Thank you" Gill Elwood 16/09/2020
"I have a Cornucopia canister and can't find that pattern on any selling site. I know it is very early. How much could I sell it for please?" Lisa Raw-Rees 03/10/2020
You are right, Cornucopia is a very rare early design from around 1962. I've not seen any recently sold on eBay. I guess it depends on what items you have. I've seen a cup and saucer on another site for £50 and a sifter for £150. If you want to sell on eBay I'd suggest a high buy-it-now with a best offer option. Alternatively you could start low, but this is risky without a recognized market on eBay for it." Steven 03/10/2020
"Thank you for your advice! I am considering my options." Lisa Raw-Rees 10/10/2020
"My son owns 4 complete sets in black and gold - Greek Key, Phoenix, Gold Lion, and gilded Gold Lion (which also has 6 espresso cups with saucers). There is also a purple and gold Greek Key part set.
Where is the best place to get them valued for insurance?" P Yates 25/11/2020
"I have a Portmeirion lidded container with the number 8359 on the base (ceramic not wooden lid) and a pattern of wild flowers ( pink dog roses, blue aquilegia, yellow buttercups? Blue cornflowers? Grass stems and leaves ( no insects) and pale oink bands of colour around, I cannot find this design noted anywhere . I have a cylindrical container ( no lid) with Heatherley of Cessington stamp on the bottom with an identical flower design. I'm confused as I can't find a history that the two potteries had any connection, so why are the designs identical" L Coleman 25/11/2020
"I wrote to Portmeirion Customer Services a couple of years ago and posted a message on this site 18 months ago but as yet have not been able to get a satisfactory reply to my query
It is about a 1960s Black and Gold mug with the inscription "Save Snowdonia's National Park" - designed by Susan Williams-Ellis.
The reply from the Company was not helpful and as yet have not had any response in trying to trace this. NOWHERE, it seems, is the any reference to this particular piece.
Can anyone help? - and has it any value?" George M 04/02/2021
"Hi George, Portmeirion produced a large quantity of black and gold mugs in the 1960s and 1970s. Some were to commemorate events such as the Moon Landing in 1969. They also produced mugs for sporting events. It seem probable that this was a one off commission for a campaign group. Sorry I don't have any further information. best regards" Steven 04/02/2021