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Belleek Mask Creamer - 3rd mark

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    Posted 5 years ago

    (63 items)

    One of my favorite Belleek designs is Mask. This is a Mask Creamer bearing a black 3rd mark dating it between 1926 and 1946. The handle and inside has a nice soft yellow luster.

    There are several sizes of this item. This one is approximately 4" tall.

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    1. Manikin Manikin, 5 years ago
      Very beautiful Belleck creamer ! I had to look hard to see mask but I can him on bottom front of vase :-)
    2. live.eclectically live.eclectically, 5 years ago
      @Manikin Thanks! I have a bunch more to post including more Mask pieces.
    3. upscalebohemian, 5 years ago
      I was told by a renowned Belleek dealer in the late-1980s (Aaron Levine, whose daughter Nanci continues his trade) that Mask was first issued in the third mark period (in the 1920s). Recently I found a piece like this with the usual yellow "Cob Lustre" on the interior, but with a green handle, and with the second mark. That would make sense because the second mark ran from 1891-1926, and it was probably made at the very end of that period, so Mr. Levine had probably only come across third mark examples (I know that was true in my case until I found this unusually colored version of this piece).

      Recently I saw someone selling this same piece (with only the normal Cob Lustre detail), damaged, with a blurry and not necessarily convincing 1st period mark, and I think it's a fake, as sometimes has been discovered by the UK Collectors' Group.

      There's no Mask pattern in the 1904 catalog, so that, too, would suggest it was first design and made after that (some time near the end of the second period).

      Originally I bought Mask new from the seventh ("gold" mark) period because it was still made and in plain white (Belleek called the plain white finish "Pearl" on the 1983 price list).

      Over the years I sold it because Belleek thickened the cups and filled in the pierced detail on the plates, and the tip of the handles kept them from sitting perfectly flat in the saucers.

      In the last year or so I've replaced Mask with 6th mark (1965-80) pieces because this issue isn't as pronounced (and because I still prefer plain white to earlier versions that have Cob Lustre detailing), but during the 6th mark period, the cups can tend to be a little out of round in the firing for some reason, so I've bought many to find the few of them that are acceptable.

      Either way, I'm glad to have Mask in plain white ("Pearl"). I never liked the yellow Cob Lustre much, and in 1986 when I started buying Belleek, that's pretty much all anything new was made in. Even other finishes that had been made in recent years that were in the catalog were by then discontinued or only offered in Cob Lustre.

      It's for this reason, too, that during the 6th mark period when Belleek stopped adding the yellow to the insides of cups, creamers, etc., I prefer the later versions without.

      Belleek claimed it was because they'd heard from American customers who drank tea with lemon that the lemon was bleaching out the yellow finish inside the cups. That's true, it does, in splotches, but in reality it was probably just one of another in a long series of economizing measures.

      It wasn't until 2001 that I could (finally) buy a Neptune set in pink tint and gilt again, but the detailing of the coral where they used to make all kinds of textural depressions were virtually eliminated, and it was offered through QVC.

      I sold that on eventually (didn't want QVC stuff), and bought again in 2004 when it was Belleek's release without QVC (and supposedly the final time they were ever going to make Neptune before retiring it, which of course turned out to not be the case, since they just made it again for QVC's St. Patrick's Day show this year but with the tea pot finial grossly oversized, mugs instead of cups/saucers -- just a real mess).

      I also later bought two pink and gilt Neptune sets from the 1980s before they stopped making it (it was definitely not available by 1986 or later). The pink tint is noticeably more pale during this period.

      I lucked out because someone was selling an estate and first sold just the saucers and plates, so I got them cheap, then later found and sold the cups in a separate auction, so I now have two full sets with 4 cups/saucers each, the plates, cake plates, tea pots, creamers, and sugars (enough for a lifetime with spares to break).
    4. live.eclectically live.eclectically, 5 years ago
      This is my wife's favorite set. I just read that lemon thing in one of the early 1980s "The Belleek Collector" newsletters. I grew up in the late 70s/80s and remember my mom's friends in the 80s collecting things like plates and Hummel figurines. It's interesting reading these and seeing what was going on like the collector's society being first established.

      My first introduction to Belleek was almost 2 years ago in May 2015 when I bought a lot at auction of 4th to 6th period items. The dolphin spill and Moor vase got me. The rest is history as they say. I've been a little obsessed since then :) I really appreciate the craftsmanship of some of these pieces, which is what draws me to the older pieces I think since they are often much more detailed - although some of the "newer" baskets are quite impressive.

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