Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A new name in vintage Christmas tea wares


The Antique Mall of Greater Green Bay turned up several vintage Christmas treasures, including this cup and saucer and pedestal plate. I really, really love vintage Christmas wares, especially after focusing on them so much last year when I was working on my Christmas cookbook. So to find two vintage pieces that can be used at teatime was quite a treat, and I paid $5 for the cup and $7 for the plate.

I thought I'd seen just about every name in china that's out there, but "Norleans of Japan" was a new one for me.

An even older treasure, and perhaps my favorite find of the whole trip, was this plate. Yes, it's browned and crackled, but I absolutely love it. In fact, I just assumed it had some chips hiding in there, but when I got home, it did not. The back has what looks like a crack, but it doesn't come through to the front, so I decided this $2 find was absolutely worth it!

And a calendar from 1907? I love it. 

The old artwork of holly and berries is so soft and elegant. Reminds me of a vintage postcard.

The back has the word "semiporcelain" and a back stamp that I haven't had time to look up.

But the most fun thing about the plate? It wasn't until I got home to Georgia and unwrapped it that I realized there's more verbiage, only the original gilding (I'm guessing) has worn off, so I had to hold it every which way in the light to read "Merry Christmas, ZELL BROS., One Price Street, Unity, Wisconsin." Could this be from one of my beloved old department stores? Why, yes! Zell Bros. was a dry goods store, but alas, it barely outlived this plate. According to the Clark County, Wisconsin, history that I found online, "In 1909 fire started in Button Membrue's Hardware Store and spread north to Fred Wescott's Saloonand the Forest House Hotel which stood on the corner of P and 13. Then, it spread south to engulf Zell Bros. General Store, and August Weide's butcher shop and shoe shop." I read that and felt that I'd lost a friend!

And last but not least, I'd had my eye on a Lefton China Christmas angel, and this one ($15) was my most expensive purchase of the trip, which just shows how thrifty everything was. I can't wait to decorate with her this Christmas, and when I do, you know you'll see it here eventually!


  1. What wonderful things you found! I love the tall teacup and pedestal plate, and that calendar plate is amazing! Just the 1907 calendar is great by itself, but then the department store connection - I think it was meant to be yours. The Lefton angel is darling, too. I'll look forward to seeing her in your December photos.

  2. That's such a nice calendar plate--what fun that you found it! It's great that you were able to find information about what happened to the department store from which it came. And I love pedestal plates, too.

  3. Oh, my gracious!!!! What WONDERFUL finds!

    I am so sad about the fire - so many incredible architecture has gone up in flames back then. It's overwhelming to think of the loss.

  4. I have never tried it, but I read that you can "heat" the plate in milk to remove the brown color.

  5. I have calendar plates for my parents, from 1905 and 1910, plus my husband and our children. I have never found one for me, since I was born shortly after WW2, so I have a plate of lily of the valley for my May birthday.

    1. I had not thought about finding a calendar plate for the year I was born. That's a great idea!

  6. What fun finds. I love the pedestal plate in the first picture. Also love the artwork that looks vintage.


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