Estimate Your Satsuma Pottery Value

The writers here at our Satsuma Pottery website are all passionate collectors of Japanese culture, from Samurai armor to Uchiwa fans - but none of us are experts in our respective fields. Asking us to value a vase or tea set based on a few blurry images is a very difficult thing to do - and certainly not something we are proficient at.

We use a number of methods to estimate the Satsuma Pottery value when looking to buy pieces or to appraise items for other people. I thought it made sense for us to share them here, so that you are able to do some of your own research before taking them to be properly valued in person.

These are presented in no particular order, but they are definitely points we consider and tools we use when looking to see what price a piece might sell for or should be bought for.

1. Is it real?

Whether a piece is a "genuine" or "real" piece of Satsuma pottery is something I have written about before - and is definitely the first place to start if you are looking to confirm the providence of the piece.

  1. Does it have a hand painted marking?  Most original items have the makers signature done by hand.
  2. Is the Shimazu crest on there?  The red circle with a gold cross is a good sign that the piece is a genuine antique.
  3. Is the marking written in English?  Many pieces made after the 1940's were marked with "Made in Japan" or "Japanese Satsuma" on them. If your piece has english writing, then it will not be as valuable.

2. The history

This is not something you can put a price on easily, but many of the pieces that people have contacted me about originate from within their family. These pieces have been passed down to them and the current owner is looking for a value (to sell or for insurance purposes).

Satsuma pieces that have a good, proven story behind them will be worth more money. For example, if the piece was presented as a gift by a notable Japanese person (Emperor or such) then it will be worth more than a piece found at a local thrift shop.

You also have to be able to prove that the story is real too to get any decent value from the item.

3. Is the Satsuma piece damaged?

Like any other piece of antique pottery, the better condition it is in, the more valuable it will be. Cracks and chips can be repaired, but any serious collector will not want to do this anyway as it will detract from the piece, but these things have to be taken into account when estimating the value.

4. Look at what is selling now.

One of the best ways to estimate the price is to look at what is selling and seeing if you can find something similar to your piece.

The best place to do this is on eBay and they quite happily give you access to their "Completed Listings" over the last 30 days or so.  Use the following links to view items that have been sold on eBay (use the eBay site nearest to your location): (USA) (United Kingdom) (Canada) (Germany)

This list has already been sorted to show more expensive items at the top. This is because the higher priced items are definitely genuine and therefore you will be able to match your item with more certainty.

The listings on eBay will help you match the style, size and type of item and some of them also have images of the makers mark too (click the items to see more details and pictures) so you might be able to identify who your item has been made by.

Don't forget that you can use the "Categories" links on the eBay pages to drill down further into specific types of piece, such as Satsuma Buttons or Bowls. Alternatively, add some additional words to the search box at the top of the eBay page to help narrow your search.

5. Check the marking on the bottom.

There are a number of other websites that can give you more information about Satsuma pottery and also some images of the markings.

The best is the Gotheborg site, which has an extensive listing of markings and their translations. This will help you identify the maker, area the piece was made and also a rough time period of when it was made.

There are also books available from Amazon that will help you identify the piece. These can be a great resource for lovers of Japanese and Satsuma pottery.

I hope this list of methods and resources has been a help to you in identifying an estimated price for your Satsuma pottery piece.

I am not able to offer this as a service online, but there are websites such as ValueMyStuff that will do it for you - for a price. I have not met anyone who has used such a service as yet, so please provide me with any feedback you have if you decide to go down this route.

101 replies on “Estimate Your Satsuma Pottery Value”

Hello, I have a large handpainted vase that depicts what I believe are samurai & is approximately 4 feet tall.
It has a red mark next to a cross on the bottom.
Any information regarding the vase in the pictures would be greatly appreciated.
If believed to be genuine & of value appraiser recommendations would also be appreciated.

Thank you for any response

I’m wondering about the value of this bowl and where to sell it. It says ‘made in Japan’ so I think it’s more modern. Can anyone help?

Hi Yvonne, I noticed that particular marking in the Roseberg listing this page (above) has a link to. You can check it there.

Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I was hoping to identify the marking on what I believe to be a Japanese Satsuma Mille Fleur vase from the Taisho Period.and an approximate value. The dimensions are
H – 4″
W -5″
W (mouth)- 2.25″
W (base) – 2.75″

I have a set of cups Satsuma Japan dragons characters with this mark. But I cant find date of manufacture, or anything about this mark. I just know, that my grand, grand father got it before 1939. Can you tall me something more about this mark?

I can’t show you photo of the marks or the china as i havent got access at the moment but my family has a top quality Pre world war 2 Satsuma tea set. All perfect and intact. 6 trios, jug, sugar basin, two tea pots. All in fitted Velvet lined box. Bought by my grandfather a ships captain. He always bought the top quality as he was from a wealthy family. No damage at all> Japanese marks. What range of value would that be?

Wondering if you could interpret this for me. I believe it may be a mass produced piece as the painting seems too precise and not always aligned. I know the top is a crest for the Shimazu clan. It is a vase I inherited. Thank you for your help.

Hey there.
I bought these wee cuties and they have koshida markings on them.
Just curious what you might have paid for them if you bought them?

My grandma inherited this set of coffee cups back in the 1970s, but I guess those were older.
I am not sure if they are authentic Japanese or a Chinese copy. Each plate and cup has differences, so it’s clear it’s hand made. Also the porcelain is very thin.

I inherited this 5 inch tall vase and wonder what it is
I have searched for hours for the makers marks but am guessing it’s just something 20th century mass production
Thank you for your time

Dear Tao, first of all, thank you very much for your valuable information. There are pieces left over from my grandmother. You can view the pictures in the related attachment. I would like to know your evaluation, thank you.

Thanks Burak! Unfortunately, those look to be mass market Satsuma pieces. The big clue is the MADE IN CHINA mark. Seeing as Satsuma is Japanese in origin, these will be mass produced and not valuable.

Hi Tao, i have been all over the internet researching this piece that I inherited and cannot find any symbols or common marks like it? It is hand painted and looks Satsuma. Any idea who could’ve created this piece?

Hi Tao, thank you so much for this information. I am having a really hard time with this mark.. the piece looks very Satsuma but I can’t find letters like this anywhere!! Your help would be wonderful!!

Hi I just loved this ginger jar, at least I think it’s a ginger jar, which I inherited from my mother in law. No idea where she got it or when, she loved jumble sales. Tried and can’t decipher the marks on the bottom. Doubt it has any value but love it, though curious about how to clean it or if I should, thanks
On the inside on the base there’s a keyhole indentation that isn’t clearly visible on the outside

Hi, I bought a full tea set I do believe it’s royal satsuma Millie flowers, I’m just wondering the value if you could help me please? I believe it’s Meiji period.

Good afternoon, any information will be greatly appreciated!
I have tried to find information on this Mark, and cannot identify it anywhere.

Can someone help me identify the markings and time frame this tea set was produced? I purchased an 8 piece tea/luncheons set intact and in beautiful condition. Thank you in advance.

Hi there,
I just would like to find out more about the possible value of this set, it was given by a grandparent,still in pristine condition. It written in English ‘Satsuma Made in Japan’

Hi Candice. Pieces with English writing on will be more modern pieces, not antiques and will therefore not be very valuable.

Hi, i purchased the attached urn (missing it’s lid) around 20 years ago from a junk shop after looking at it in the shop window for weeks and falling in love it.
I have looked for similar things since on line but can’t find anything, there are no markings on it, the lions head feet section that it sits on is separate so it is in two pieces. The design wraps around but is different on the front and back. I am not looking for valuations I would just love to know something more about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Clare

I recently acquired a 12″ tall piece at a thrift store. It appears to be Satsuma but lacks the crackling glaze or a marking on the bottom. The inside shows unfinished areas near the handle that makes it look very handmade. It’s very intricate and well done with a nice gilt. Any info would be very appreciated.

Definitely a modern piece, likely a printed design too not hand made. If you look at the gold lining in your image top right, it is not aligned with the pink flower but follows the same shape/design.

I have inherited a piece of Satsuma Vase (at least looks like one) from my parents. Since this does not have any marks or signs at the bottom, I guess this probably a mass produced item or a copy. But I am not sure. Although, I am not interested the value of this item, instead want to know whether this is a real satsuma or copy ? The vase is 12 inch in length.

Used to always stare at this in Grandma’s cabinet.Then reading and seeing all the comments started my curiosity.So would like your expert advise as the origin of this.Thank you

I enjoyed your site and gained much information. I have inherited a tea set that was in my grandmother’s china cabinet in the late 194’a and 50’s. It says Made in Japan and has a star embossed as a mark. would you be able to tell me the age and the company? Very much appreciated and thank you.

This vase was handed down to me from my grandmother who was born in 1900. Markings are hard to read, wondered if you could shed any light on what it may be worth. (I can only upload only 1 picture). Thanks!

Im looking for information on this vase. Im curious as to the red flowers too. It has small crazing under the glaze. I was at a yard sale a few years ago and a couple ran inside and offered to sell it to me. They told me it was the ladies father and was originally insured with an appraisal which they could not find after her father passed away. They were unable to get a confirmed date from appraisers in this area and were told it was because there is no stamp on it. I was told it was 400 years old but I doubt that.

Hi, I have a vase with a lid, carved with the attached picture. Just wondering if you could tell me something about this marking and country.
Cheers Sue

Hi Sue. This does not look like any marking I have seen before. It also does not look like a Satsuma piece either. Sorry I can’t help any more than that.

Hi Tao,
I have attached a photo of the whole vase, I was told by a auction house that this was a Satsuma.
Cheers Sue

We have a matching pair of vases that I was wondering if they could be Satsuma heritage, but missing the cross/circle marking – or would this marking mean something different?

Unfortunately the vase looks like a modern item intended for import to the Western market. Still authentic, but cheap. The marking is highly suspect. The left part of the first character is incomplete and drawn by someone who doesn’t know how to write Japanese characters (a poor attempt at copying the characters for ‘Satsuma’). Just my personal opinion, but I think someone has tried to fake an old-looking (but inaccurate) marking on a modern item. Please seek a second opinion by all means.

Hello Tao, I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been researching a Satsuma floor urn or vase for over a year now. In my research I’ve compared what trusted experts such as yourself suggest to authenticate pottery. I have what I believe to be a genuine earthenware Satsuma possibly from late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It has outdoor scenery of Geisha women and girls perhaps from the Edo period, four panel, moriage, gold gilt, flowers, fine crackle, the hum when tapped, the thin hairline crack at bottom likely from the kiln (there is no other crack or chip anywhere), and all the Satsuma colors typical of this style in muted tones of green, beige etc plus the small moriage dots of white. There is a rusty red worn ink stamp on the bottom that I cannot find a match to. I have looked for info on this particular type of mark on this particular type of Satsuma, and cannot find any info. I have attached photos for you to look at. I do not expect a valuation. If you have any idea of when this type of mark could have been used on such Satsumas, that would be enough for me to make an estimate of value. I thank you very much in advance if you have a minute, I know your time is valuable and cannot answer to everyone’s queries.

Could you please provide any information on this marking. Its on the bottom of a floral pattern on a vase urn with lid.

Hi Steve,
The symbol of a cross inside is circle denotes the Japanese ‘mon’ or crest of the Shimazu samurai clan of the Satsuma region (nowadays called Kagoshima) of the island of Kyushu in SW Japan.
The two Japanese kanji characters simply read ‘Satsuma’ (top character is ‘satsu’, bottom character is ‘ma’).
I make no guesses as to the authenticity of the item, bug gappy to have deciphered the markings for you.
Happy hunting!

Mine doesn’t have the family crest, but everything else looks correct. No English on the box, and there are flowers painted inside the trinket box on the top of the lid as well as the bottom part of the box like the other ones I saw on ebay. Appears to be authentic, but im not 100% due to the lack of the family crest. Any ideas?

I’m having trouble finding out if my satsuma fishbowl vase is a mass produced vase or a rare vase, what can you tell me about the markings?

My local Savers recently had a giant vase set of two donated. I unfortunately didnt get a picture and an employee did turn over the vases and did not find any markings. They were very tall with beautiful gold trimmed cranes all over the vase. The top part depicted an image of a traditional farmer while the base had a gorgeous hand panted image of women conversing with one another while kittens played. The handles were also gold. These vases almost stood as tall as me and naturally caught everyones eye in the store. Though no one actually bought it cause they were priced for the set at 599.99. Now idk if because there was no marking whatsoever they were fakes or not. But I still found them quite stunning and am curious.

Hi Karron. I cannot give a value i’m afraid. You would need to look into getting the piece valued properly. It’s a very odd shape – does it have any markings or words on the bottom?

I have a Satsuma tea set that I would like to learn more about. I have seen many like it on eBay. It has the raised dragon decorations on it. Most of the ones I have seen have always been black, gray or brown and occasionally orange . I have never seen another one like mine, it is bright green! It has the large tea pot, sugar bowl, four plates, 4 cups and four saucers. Unfortunately the website will not allow me to download any pictures. Is there anything you can tell me about the set?

I bought a mid-sized Satsuma vase at a charity auction. There is no stamp on the bottom but there is a signature painted in gold. Is it real Satsuma? How old is it?

well i tried the on line appraiser and they said it was free so i figured what the heck i’ll try it , so what i was trying to value was a statue of kwan-yen it was approx. 18″ H X 7 1/2″ W it was absolutely perfect i sent the woman 6 pics all different angles the statue had her standing wind was blowing clothing to one side very crisp colors blues , red , yellow , black , white and gold leafing i told the woman i’m pretty sure it is famile porcelain , well she told me without a doubt it was a cheap ceramic piece and on it’s best day it might bring 50 to 70 dollars if i was lucky then she kept trying to get me to agree to pay her for the estimate i didn’t pay her a nickel i put the statue onebay for $ 750.00 and sold it in less than ( 1 hour ) yes 1 hour to a fella in china and on top of that it was 170.00 dollars shipping when he got it he sent me a very nice thank you , so what do you think , should i have paid the appraiser and listed it for 50 dollars , myself i think the appraiser was insane i wouldn’t do that again ever. but anyway this statue had an open bottom and there were two imprinted seals in there and i still haven’t found anyone to translate them i have pics of them and i made molds of them but no one to translate .

Hi John. Wow. This does sound like a bad example of an online appraiser. However, if it was free, I do wonder if they were just trying to get you to list the item with them or sell it to them?
With anything online, an opinion will only be based on the pictures. Handling it and seeing it in person will have made a big difference. But glad to see you went with your gut and managed to get a good sale! Well done you!

Hi ,

I’m a Antique dealer 4 years now and I’ve just obtained 2 beautiful pieces of Meiji period Satsuma 20cm KORO and a Immortals bowl ! I got them fro. A specialist in those areas obviously genuine as well

I use value my stuff they really know what they are doing it’s a 5 star service ! I actually use them to appraise n value my collections that I sell ! They are all experts in there fields and they can spot a fake easily.

Museum of Treasure based in Telford the UK that’s me. Anyway the items I buy are genuine I use value my stuff for further insight, professional expertise and to ensure I don’t over charge my clients .

I started with only 6 items 4 years ago I’m now heading towards the 300 mark but as this is for Satsuma only I won’t discuss what I have etc . The 2 pieces I obtained have all the correct traitors to be genuine Meiji !

I have only one question before I get them fully identified n appraised !

The immortals bowl has a black painted area with Gold and the cross I see from liking on the sites they were done in Gold I’m thinking mine are late 19th century and looking forward to the valuations I receive on them !

The real stuff is not cheap unless you get supper lucky n find it and the other person doesn’t know what they have



And here are the marks for the Immortals bowl it’s really stunning only this is black and Gold again hand painted for sure

Please note I’m only providing the markings as you can only add 1 photo

Unfortunately the vase looks like a modern item intended for import to the Western market. Still authentic, but cheap. The marking is highly suspect. The left part of the first character is incomplete and drawn by someone who doesn’t know how to write Japanese characters (a poor attempt at copying the characters for ‘Satsuma’). Just my personal opinion, but I think someone has tried to fake an old-looking (but inaccurate) marking on a modern item. Please seek a second opinion by all means.

J’ai une paire de vases satsuma qui font 47 cm de haut.
La traduction de la signature est la suivante.
Pouvez-vous me confirmer cette traduction et me dire quel est réellement le signataire afin de me faire une idée de leur valeur car j’envisage de les vendre.

It says 大日本 薩摩 白山造

So it is “satsuma pottery” style made in ” 大日本” period (1868 – 1945), by I believe “Hakuyama” or “Shiroyama” (one character can read many ways…)

Can’t be ‘hakuyama’. Will be ‘hakusan’ (2 on-yomi Chinese readings) or, as you correctly identified, ‘shiroyama’ (2 kun-yomi Japanese readings).

i have a vase It is bottleshaped ( looking at pictures tear or pear )
It has a strongly carved / inscribed dragon and eagle
It has waves and clouds
The colours are fairly subtle and muted
Olive green Enamel Decorated in black and brown but touches of a heavy thick turquoise and a small amount of bright yellow and some gilding in a dull gold Some which has worn off rim and the fine gold speckled decoration
There is very little dragonware I see on here in a pear shaped bottle vase ? I assumed it was japanese as the dragon had 3 toes ? There is no obbious stamp but at the neck of the bottle is a cross but broken in its form not like the satsuma emblem Im not good on internet but can text the photos if anyone can help
The vase has age signs Crackling Rust spots Especially the base and a few kiln flaws

I have a matched pair of 12′ Satsuma vases with red marks on base indicating Seizan, Meiji Period. Cobalt blue background, typical faces. Raised enamel and gold leaf. Perfect condition.

my plate shows as royal satsuma fine hand painted porcelain decoration looks like real vintage piece Please give me your comment thank you

Are there any pieces with no marks on bottom? I’ve purchased what looks like a Satsuma piece with a sticker on the bottom. Unfortunately the goodwill sticker is right over it which had made it impossible to get off. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

I bought a sleeping cat with lots of details it’s a satsuma wondering what the current price is for this item

I purchased a piece of oriental pottery at an estate sale and I am wondering what its value is. It is 12 inch tall, oblong when seen from top, has two black dolphins for handles, looks like satsuma painting, no markings on bottom or inside and was brought back from the orient during the second world war around 1944. please advise. Ben

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