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Newsletter
March 2011

Letter From The Editor

We have been extremely busy here at The Plate Lady and very remiss in keeping current with our newsletters. We apologize for that.

Our priority, as always, is Customer Service, and keeping up with answering all of your emails keeps us constantly on our toes.

It is a prevailing fact that there is just not enough information out there about Limited Edition Collectibles these days, and at the same time, there is an enormous demand.

Although conversing with her customers about collectibles has always been one of The Plate Lady's greatest pleasures, she can no longer keep up with the demand due to her advancing age. She has reluctantly been forced to retire and can no longer participate in the day to day activities of the company she founded.

Therefore, to fill that need we have found an excellent web site that has a wealth of information about all types of collectibles, including Limited Editions. We have provided a link to that web site from our Collectibles Info page and also information on how to find the free information that web site has to offer.

Also, we have posted an informative article titled "Demystifying Limited Edition Plate Identification" to help collectors understand the ins and outs of the collecting Limited Edition plates. If you scroll down this page or click on the provided link, you will find that article and hopefully it will have something for everyone about the fascinating world of Limited Edition Plate Collecting.


We have also included the story of "The Snow Maiden" right below that article, for those interested in learning more about that wonderful Russian Folk tale. We found the article enclosed with one of the Limited Edition "Russian Fairy Tale Collection" plates from the Heinrich company and have copied it for your enjoyment.

Boris Zvorykin's wonderful illustrations of four classic Russian Legends are revisited in that historic collection of plates: The Firebird, Maria Morevna, Vassilissa the Fair, and The Snow Maiden.

You can view all four of those collections on our Fairy Tale, Rhyme, & Legend Collectible Art Plate
page.

We hope you enjoy the articles we have provided and that all of your adventures through life are happy, full of joy and filled with blessings.

The Plate Lady
™ ® Staff




Demystifying Limited Edition Plate Identification

Most Limited Edition plates are reproductions of original paintings that were transferred onto plates by various manufacturing methods. Only one template is used by the manufacturer for all plates made from that work of art, for that particular series of  plates.  But sometimes the same manufacturer will make another plate template, from that same work of art, to include in another series of plates.

A Limited Edition plate collector needs to be aware that artists often license more than one manufacturer to reproduce their paintings onto plates. So you might also find different plates with the same art work on them, made by different manufacturers, and they might all be genuine Limited Edition Collectible plates.

Here is a little bit of information that will help you greatly:

Limited Edition means that the manufacturer vows to produce NO MORE than an amount stated from that template. Then the template is destroyed and never used again.  However, if the edition is limited to 10,000 plates that does not mean they produced 10,000 plates, it only means that they vowed not to produce more than 10,000 plates.

Also, saying a plate is the first edition only means it was the first plate in a series. Second edition would be the second plate in a series, etc. Each edition is limited to the same amount of plates as the other plates in that series, but there may not have been the same number of plates produced for each edition. That's why some plates in a series may be more valuable than others.  Value is based on supply and demand, as well as materials and workmanship.

Limited Edition Collectible plates are usually numbered and of those that are not, then none of the plates from that template were numbered.  Again, either all of the plates from that template were numbered, or none of them were numbered.

Those numbers are just SERIAL numbers. They don't mean anything more. A collector cannot identify a plate from it's serial number because the number is not unique.  Only one plate from a template gets that number, but plates from other templates, and even other manufacturers, might bear the same number. There was never anything standardized about numbering plates in any particular way. Some of the numbers also contain letters.  This was probably just a way to keep the serial numbers from getting too long.  More variables are possible when letters are added to serial numbers.  For example:  License plates have letters added so that the numbers can be limited to a predetermined length without being duplicated.

Plates are produced in batches, not all at one time, but there is no available system that tells you which serial numbers belonged to which batch of plates produced from a template. Unfortunately nothing was ever standardized about how different manufacturer could number plates.

There is always a chance that some plate batches were flawed and they contained certain serial numbers, but those batches were usually discarded by the plate producer.   Then again, there are instances where every plate from an edition was flawed and those plates were still sold to the public.

So the value of a Limited Edition Collectible plate cannot realistically be decided by its serial number. Rather, the value is determined by condition, supply, and demand.

The more important number is the Bradex number. Limited Edition plates have Bradex numbers, but the Bradex number is not listed on all plates. Some manufacturers include it and others do not.  It's an identification number that essentially says: Yes, this is the second plate from the 104th series that this manufacturer produced in this country.

For example: Bradex: 84-B10-18.2 means that the plate was produced in the USA by the Bradford Exchange and it was the second edition plate of the 18th series. The "84" means USA and "B10" means Bradford Exchange. The third plate in the series would be 84-B10-18.3  The manufacturer may have made thousands of plates from that template, and they will all have the same Bradex number, but each will have a different serial number.

What you want to be most concerned with is who the manufacturer was. Different manufacturers use different materials to produce plates and therefore their plates are more or less valuable. (ie. porcelain, bone china, pottery, metals, alabaster, etc.) Some manufacturers are more well known for quality work than others also, so their plates may or may not be more valuable.

All that is what makes plate collecting so complicated.

The only way to truly identify a genuine Limited Edition plate, without the Bradex number, is to know:
1) the manufacturer's name
2) the artist's name
3) the series name
4) plate's name

If ALL match your plate, and the picture looks the same, then it is the same plate. That's why we give all of that information for every plate on our web site at http://www.theplatelady.com

Plates without a series name are called "Single Issues" or "Special Issues", but that will not always be written on the plate, AND sometimes plates belong to a series but its name is not printed on the plate. The Franklin Mint did a number of Single Issues and often did not print the series names on plates that clearly belonged to a series.

One last thing to know, sometimes manufacturers release miniature plates that look just like the full sized plates, so knowing the diameter of the plate is also important.

There are some counterfeit plates out there, but counterfeiters usually get caught pretty quickly.  Artists and their heirs are very aware of who has been licensed to reproduce their property.  They can easily spot counterfeits, especially when they are on the web where they can be found by search engines. 

As a collector, it's important to research any unfamiliar manufacturers, to make sure they legitimately produce Limited Edition collectible plates for the industry.  That way you can be sure that you're not buying a knock-off that looks like the real thing, but was made by some obscure company that no one has ever heard of. Artists can also be contacted to find out who was or is licensed to reproduce their art.

by Lillian Glockson

Please contact us at mailbox@theplatelady.com for permission to re-use this article.




The Snow Maiden - Folk Tales from Old Russia

Once Upon A Time, at the edge of a deep forest, there lived a poor woodcutter and his wife. As they grew older; they became sadder and sadder because they had no children.

One day in the dead of winter, the woodcutter and his wife went to the forest to chop wood. The cold was intense; the work long and difficult. Hoping to cheer his wife, the woodcutter said, "Let us make a little snow girl."

So they set to work shaping balls of snow, and in a short while they had made a "snegurochka" - a snow maiden.

Moved by this sight, the woman sighed, "If only the good Lord had sent us a little girl to share our old age."

They did not know that The Fairy Spring had been watching them. Her daughter, Snegurochka The Snow Maiden, had yearned for the companionship of mortal humans and wanted to live with the people. But her father Winter, ruled her and would not release his daughter, Snegurochka.

Snegurochka knew that she would have to sacrifice her immortality to live with humans but still she asked her mother to please release her. So, the Fairy Spring, took pity on Snegurochka and decided to set her free.

Suddenly, a miracle occurred.

The eyes of the snow maiden the woodcutter and his wife had made twinkled and the breath of life parted her lips. Snow maiden no more but a real flesh and blood girl.

Snegurochka trembled and spoke: "If you will let me be your daughter, I will be a good daughter to you, the joy of your old age."

“My darling daughter, let it be as you desire,” answered the old man. “Come home with us, our longed-for little girl!” They took her by her white hands and led her from the forest.

As they went, the pine trees swayed goodbye, saying their farewell to Snegurochka, with their rustling wished her a safe journey and happy life.

The old couple brought Snegurochka home to their wooden hut, their ‘isba,’ and she began her life with them, helping them to do the chores. She was always most respectful, she never contradicted them, and they could not praise her enough, nor tire of gazing at her, she was so kind and so beautiful that no words could describe her.

Snegurochka, nevertheless, worried her adopted parents. She was not at all talkative and her face was always pale, so pale. She did not seem to have a drop of blood, yet her eyes shone like little stars. And her smile! When she smiled she lighted up the isba like a gift of rubles.

They lived together thus for one month, two months; time passed. The old couple could not rejoice enough in their daughter.

In the same village there lived a maiden called Kupava. She was a true beauty, with hair as black as a raven’s wing, skin like blood and milk, and arching brows.

One day a rich merchant came through town. His name was Mizgir, and he was young and tall. He saw Kupava and she pleased him. Kupava was not at all shy; she was saucy and never turned down an invitation to stroll.

Mizgir stopped in the village, called to all the young girls, gave them nuts and spiced bread, and danced with Kupava. From that moment he never left town, and, it must be said, he soon became Kupava’s lover. There was Kupava, the belle of the town, parading around in velvet and silks, serving sweet wines to the youths and the maidens and living the joyful life.

The day Snegurochka first strolled in the street, she met Kupava, who introduced all her friends. From then on Snegurochka came out to dance with her friends daily. A young boy, a shepherd, pleased her. He was named Lel. Snegurochka pleased him too, and they became inseparable.

Whenever the young girls came out to stroll and to sing, Lel would run to Snegurochka’s isba, tap on the window and say: “Snegurochka, dearest, come out and join the dancing.” Once she appeared, he never left her side.

Snegurochka wanted to sing of love with her friends, including the shepherd Lel, but her heart was unable to know love.

One day Mizgir came to the village as the maidens were dancing in the street. He joined in with Kupava and made them all laugh. He noticed Snegurochka and she pleased him; she was so pale and so pretty! From then on Kupava seemed too dark and too heavy. Soon he found her unpleasant. Quarrels and scenes broke out between them and Mizgir stopped seeing her.

Kupava was desolate, but what could she do? One cannot please by force nor revive the past! She noticed that Mizgir often returned to the village and went to the house of Snegurochka’s old parents. The rumor flew that Mizgir had asked for Snegurochka’s hand in marriage.

When Kupava learned this, her heart trembled. She ran to Snegurochka’s isba, reproached her, insulted her, called her a viper, a traitor. She made such a scene that they had to force her to leave.

“I will go to the Tsar!” she cried. “I will not suffer this dishonor. There is no law that allows a man to compromise a maiden, then throw her aside like a useless rag!”

So Kupava went to the Tsar to beg for his help against Snegurochka, who she insisted had stolen her lover.

Tsar Berendei ruled this kingdom; he was a good and gracious Tsar who loved truth and watched over all his subjects. He listened to Kupava and ordered Snegurochka brought before him.

The Tsar’s envoys arrived at the village with a proclamation ordering Snegurochka to appear before their master.

“Good subjects of the Tsar! Listen well and tell us where the maiden Snegurochka lives. The Tsar summons her! Let her make ready in haste! If she does not come of her will we will take her by force!”

The old woodcutter was filled with fear. But the Tsar’s word was law. They helped Snegurochka to make ready and decided to accompany her, to present her to the Tsar.

Tsar Berendei lived in a splendid palace with walls of massive oak and wrought-iron doors; a large stairway led to great halls where Bukhara carpets covered the floors and guardsmen stood in scarlet kaftans with shining axes. All the vast courtyard was filled with people.

Once inside the sumptuous palace, the old couple and Snegurochka stood amazed. The ceilings and arches were covered with paintings, precious plates lined up on shelves, along the walls ran benches covered with carpets and brocades, and on these benches were seated the boyars wearing tall hats of bear fur trimmed with gold. Musicians played intricate music on their tympanums. At the far end of the hall, Tsar Berendei himself sat erect on his gilded and sculptured throne. Around him stood bodyguards in kaftans white as snow, holding silver axes.

Tsar Berendei’s long white beard fell to his belt. His fur hat was the tallest; his kaftan of precious brocade was embroidered all over with jewels and with gold.

Snegurochka was frightened; she did not dare to take a step nor to raise her eyes.

Tsar Berendei said to her: “Come here, young maiden, come closer, gentle Snegurochka. Do not be afraid, answer my questions. Did you commit the sin of separating two lovers, after stealing the heart of Kupava’s beloved? Did you flirt with him and do you intend to marry him? Make sure that you tell me the truth!”

Snegurochka approached the Tsar, curtsied low, knelt before him, and spoke the truth; that she was not at fault, neither in body nor in soul; that it was true that the merchant Mizgir had asked for her in marriage, but that he did not please her and she had refused his hand.

Tsar Benendei took Snegurochka’s hands to help her to rise, looked into her eyes and said: “I see in your eyes, lovely maiden, that you speak the truth, that you are nowhere at fault. Go home now in peace and do not be upset!”

And the Tsar let Snegurochka leave with her adoptive parents.

When Kupava learned of the Tsar’s decision she went wild with grief. She ripped her sarafan, tore her pearl necklace from her white neck, ran from her isba, and threw herself in the well.

From that day on, Snegurochka grew sadder and sadder. She no longer went out in the street to stroll, not even when Lel begged her to come.

One beautiful spring morning Lel came to Snegurochka’s little window and pleaded with her to come out with him, just once, for just a moment. For a long while Snegurochka refused to listen, but finally she could no longer resist Lel’s pleas, and she went with her beloved to the edge of the village.

“Lel, oh my Lel, play your flute for me alone!” she said. She stood before Lel, barely alive, her feet tingling, not a drop of blood in her pale face!

Lel took out his flute and began to play Snegurochka’s favorite air and Fairy Spring called on the flowers to fill her daughter's heart with love.

Snegurochka listened to the song, and tears rolled down from her eyes. She was falling in love with Lel, and as her heart warmed she began to melt. Then her feet melted beneath her and she fell onto the damp earth and suddenly vanished.

Lel saw nothing but a light mist rising from where she had fallen. The vapor rose, rose, and disappeared slowly in the blue sky.




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