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The “Bobwhite Quail;” a Hard Bird to Catch!

Having seen a lot of what I would call “modern junk steins,” in my opinion the nicest group of modern day steins was produced in France by the “Haviland of Limoges Porcelain Co.” in the early 1980’s.


(The Bobwhite Quail (female / male) produced by Haviland of Limoges, 1983.)

This firm has its beginning as far back as the American Civil war. The 1870’s and 1880’s saw some of the most exquisite designs and blanks and the high point of the original Haviland factory years.  Haviland & Co. became a household word in the Limoges porcelain world. In 1937, the company was purchased by Rosenthal, bringing it into the Rosenthal Group, which owns most of the German and Austrian companies.  Collectors interested in a more complete history are referred to the Internet sites cited in references 1 and 2.

(The Ring Necked Pheasant (female/male) produced by Haviland of Limoges,1981.)

The “Game Bird” stein series were sold in the USA, and other countries by Franklin Porcelain, a subsidiary of the Franklin Mint of Pennsylvania (Franklin Porcelain Company of Franklin Center, PA). These are all marked on the bottom under the glaze with the name of the bird (except the first issue), and then the words “Game Bird Stein”; so I will be calling the series “the Game Bird Series” although at present I don’t have access to the originally produced company documents and their official name. Each stein in the series displays a different game bird. When looking at the stein from the front, the female is shown to the left, the male to the right.

(The Ruffed Grouse (female/male) produced by Haviland of Limoges, 1982.)

The design on the body is a  “Print under Glaze” (PUG), but there is little evidence of this process, as they were extremely well done. The background trees, leaves and bushes just blend into the distance and then disappear really well; there is no evidence of a decal being used. A gold band around the bottom of the stein, one eighth inch wide, complements each scene. The steins measure 7 inches to the top of the lid, 9 inches to the top of the finial. According to Mr. Robert Pagini, one of my web site readers, the original price for each stein was $250.00.Thank you sir. 

Only four designs were produced and all four steins in the series were designed by the same artist: Mr. Basile Ede. I have been able to find out little about Mr. Ede. A “Google” search in January only netted one entry, that a magpie drawing. He is listed as the artist on several of the Franklin Porcelain plates of Water Birds done in the 1981-83 period. A similar search on Ebay in both the art and general categories also netted a zero.

The well designed cast pewter lid is 4.5 inches wide, done by an unknown designer, most likely a Franklin Mint staff artist. The original sales ad says: “Hand-cast in solid lead-free pewter with a hand rubbed finish.” The lid is decorated with a nice pattern of wheat sheaves, leaves and berries, and oak leaves and acorns. It is not marked, but again, was probably done in-house by the pewter-smiths of the Franklin Mint staff. The outside of the lid was chemically darkened, but just enough to give it definition, and the inside is very bright and polished. The 1.75 inch thumblift is shaped like a pine cone. The applied porcelain handle has leaves and berries molded in small relief.

(The Woodcock (female/male) produced by Haviland of Limoges, 1982.)

Listed below are the production years of the “LIMITED EDITION”. To my knowledge, no actual production figures exist, but these steins were produced exclusively for registered Franklin Mint collectors. Each year the subscription to the series had to be renewed, and earlier editions were no longer available, hence the production shrank as the series progressed over the three year period, making “The Bobwhite” stein the hardest of the four to obtain.

The series titles and years of production are as follows:

1981 = “The Game Bird Stein” (The Ring-necked Pheasant)

1982 = “The Woodcock”

1982 = “The Ruffed Grouse”

1983 = “The Bobwhite Quail”

So, my fellow stein collectors, please remember these are quality made porcelain steins produced by Haviland in France. That they have the word “Franklin” associated with them can and probably should be discounted. References: 1. 2.


[NOTE: Photo imaging for the “Prosit” article (used above) was edited by Walt Vogdes, SCI, from the photos taken by SLS in 2005.  Article was written by Stephen L. Smith, MS [Written 1- 2005, and published in the magazine “Prosit” at a later date.

[END – SOK  –  08 – DD]


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