Collecting P. K. Silesia Porcelain
The hardest thing about collecting P. K. Silesia ceramics ware is the name.
P. K. stands for Porzellanfabrik Koenigszelt. Porzellanfabrik is German for “porcelain factory.” Koenigszelt is the town near the factory’s location, in Silesia in northeastern Germany.
Even the town’s name has a complicated history. When the railroad was extended into northeastern Germany in the 1840’s, one of the junctions ended up out in the country. So railroad officials needed to come up with a name for that junction. Someone suggested Koenigszelt, or “king’s tent” because he thought that Frederick the Great might have pitched his tent nearby during the Seven Years War. That sounded good, and the railroad went with it.
A town was established near the junction, mostly to provide homes for railroad workers. Then in 1860 an entrepreneur named Silber built a ceramics factory there, because of access to the railway and because there were clay and coal deposits nearby. His production costs were so low that he outsold most of his competition. The factory attracted investors, and grew quickly.
At that time the company was called Porzellanfabrik Silber and Co. It changed hands a couple of times and ended up as Porzellanfabrik Koenigszelt, or P.K., in 1886. The company continued to expand and did quite a bit of exporting. By 1930 it had 1000 employees.
For a while P. K. Silesia had the sole concession to create Mickey Mouse and other Disney images in porcelain. Hitler apparently was not a fan of Mickey Mouse, and put a stop to the arrangement. But the factory kept up production throughout World War II.
After the war, Silesia became Polish territory and today the factory is called Zaklady Porcelany Stokowej. It’s completely modern, of course, and produces dishwasher-safe, microwaveable kitchenware.
P. K. Silesia backstamps have changed a lot over the years, because of changes in the company name, different products, and also the change in the company’s location from Germany to Poland. The backstamp in the picture below shows that this plate was made between 1914 and 1918. It’s from the back of the plate in the picture above.
How much are P.K. Silesia collectibles worth? You can find vintage serving bowls on ebay for between fifteen and twenty-five dollars. Dinner and dessert plates go for about the same. Their backstamps mostly indicate that they’re from around World War I.
P. K. Silesia backstamps from the 1870’s to around World War I tend to have eagles. For a short time in the early 1920’s backstamps had a tent, and after that many backstamps featured a crown.
P.K. Silesia vintage porcelain has a lot of antique charm. It isn’t too hard to find, and if you’re like me you can buy pieces in thrift stores for under a dollar and get a real deal. Then you can turn around and sell them on ebay. But for now I like just collecting them.
Pictures by Kathleen Murphy