Celebrate the Joy of Motherhood
Bing & Grøndahl (B&G), internationally recognized for its craftsmanship and unique artistic style, is credited with producing the world’s oldest collector series of
plates. The company’s hand-painted Christmas plate series began in 1895 and continues today, making it 119 years and counting.
by Larry LeMasters May 21, 2017 @ 10:23
Millions of people collect plates to one extent or another, and one of the largest categories of collectible plates is Mother’s Day plates. Many Mother’s Day plate collections began with a Bing & Grøndahl plate.
Bing & Grøndahl also offered the world its first Mother’s Day plate in 1969, making it 48 plates in 2017. Unlike its Christmas plates, B&G offers a new Mother’s Day plate every year. This remains the longest running Mother’s Day plate series ever issued by a manufacturer.
These Mother’s Day plates belong to the world’s most distinguished plate collecting company. Bing & Grøndahl’s limited edition plates are hand decorated at its porcelain factory in Copenhagen, Denmark. And each plate has the B&G seal on the back. A trademark collectors know and trust.
Brothers Meyer and Jacob Bing, both Danish art and book dealers, and Danish sculptor Frederik Vilhelm Grøndahl, who, at the time, was a figurine sculpture for the Royal Danish Porcelain Factory, founded Bing & Grøndahl just outside the city of Copenhagen, on April 15, 1853. B&G remained an independent manufacturer of fine porcelain until 1987 when it merged with the Royal Porcelain Factory, its primary competitor, taking the name Royal Copenhagen. Some collectors try to limit their B&G collection to items made prior to 1987, distinguishing B&G from Royal Copenhagen.
Grøndahl’s reason for founding his own company was to produce quality bisque figurines modeled in the neoclassical style of sculptor Thorvaldsen. Soon B&G extended its line to include high-end dinnerware and coffee sets. And, as already stated, it introduced its Christmas plate series in 1895, which came to symbolize the extraordinary Danish expert technique.
Designs on B&G Mother’s Day plates depict the joy of motherhood by rendering mothers, all different animals, with their young, including, but far from limited to, dogs, bears, horses, squirrels, cats, birds, raccoons, foxes, swans, deer, and elephants. All of the designs are molded into the plate in relief and hand painted in cobalt blue. The color blue is used on the plates since it is the only color that can withstand the extreme temperatures needed to properly fire this type of porcelain.
There are several dog plates (different breeds), bear plates, etc. that have been produced, so some collectors limit their Mother’s Day plate collection to a certain type of animal, often displaying these small collections on a kitchen or dining room wall.
On the front of each plate “Mors Dag” (Mother’s Day in Danish) and the year of manufacture is written.
For its first Mother’s Day plate, B&G artists captured a mother Cocker Spaniel and four of her litter spilling out of a fruit basket, creating a modest, classic design of a mother dog and her puppies. Today, this plate sells in the range of $25 – $150 on Internet auction sites such as eBay. In 1979, B&G reissued this Cocker Spaniel plate, in its “Jubilee Special” plates, with the dates “1969” and “1979” on the plate to commemorate its 10 anniversary. B&G repeated the celebratory plates every ten years.
None of B&B’s Mother’s Day plates are scarce, so prices offered sometimes seem high only because of seller’s greed. A large majority of these plates cost $15 – $50 with only a few of them exceeding $75. Watch eBay and wait for the price that best suits your collecting budget.
A few additional facts that might help new collectors: The trademark back stamp for Bing & Grøndahl is the three towers derived from the Coat of Arms of Copenhagen. B&G has never released inferior or second quality Mother’s Day plates, so any price list you see will be for 1 quality plates only
Since a book on B&G Mother’s Day plates has not been authored, novice collectors might also want to pick up a copy of Lars Christoffersen’s 2004 book Christmas Plates from Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grøndahl. It is a wonderful overview of Bing & Grøndahl and will help new collectors affirm a basic respect and admiration for the manufacturing process that produces Bing & Grøndahl Mother’s Day plates.
2017 Bing & Grøndahl Mother’s Day plate; NIB; $72.00
1970 Bing & Grøndahl Mother’s Day plate; $15.
1973 Bing & Grøndahl Mother’s Day plate; $15.
1997 Bing & Grøndahl Mors Dag (Mother’s Day) plate; $25 – $100.
1982 Bing & Grøndahl Mother’s Day plate; $20 -$65.
2015 Bing & Grøndahl Mother’s Day plate with Dalmatian mother and puppies: $40.