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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):

eBay.com (USA)
eBay.co.uk (United Kingdom)
eBay.ca (Canada)
eBay.de (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.

28 replies on “Estimate Your Satsuma Pottery Value”

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.

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?

Hi,
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?
Thanks!

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 12.cm 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

Thanks

Rob

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

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.
Merci

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…)

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 only.it looks like real vintage piece Please give me your comment thank you

Hello,
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 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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