THE "CHINA KING"
Vol. 1 Issue 5
The founding father of Lefton is George Zoltan Lefton.
He was born in Hungary. Although he earned a living as
a designer and manufacturer of sportswear, his hobby was
collecting fine porcelain.
In 1939 he left Hungary for America, seeking freedom and
opportunity. After arriving in Chicago, he started his
own ceramics business in 1941. On December 7, 1941, the
involvement of America in WWII began. A very close
friend of Mr. Lefton's was Japanese-American. Mr Lefton
protected his business from Chicago residents who were
going from Japanese-owned business to Japanese business
destroying their business'. This same friend became an
important link to his major manufacturing source in Japan.
Some of the items manufactured during that period are
quite rare today. Mr. Lefton held his quality specifications
high, therefore his items will be in high demand
for a long time to come. His reputation earned him the
name "China King". Until the mid 1970's, Japan was the
main source of Lefton's pieces. Sources in Japan changed,
which caused Lefton to look for other factories and
suppliers. Some of them were Taiwan, Malaysia, and China.
The majority that are sold in the secondary market were
made in Japan.
In identifying Lefton pieces, remember that as a general
rule many of Lefton's pieces came in different sizes,
colors, designs, and styles. Like any colored item, colors
may not always be consistent unless it comes from the same
Lefton marks include: stamps, labels, or numbers. Some
pieces may have one of the three, two of the three, or all
of the three. Some may have initially had a stamp and
paper label. Paper labels wash off or get removed.
Some of the early marks consisted of:
(1946-1950)a horse with a rider stating:
"Handpainted, Exclusively Made in
Occupied Japan, G.Z.L.,U.S.A.", stamped
"Lamore China, Entirely Handmade, G.Z.L.,
U.S.A.,Made in Japan"
(1948-1953)"Made in Japan", "Lefton China,
Hand Painted, Made in Japan" with a crown
in the center;
(1950-1955)a crown encircled with "Lefton
(1949-1955)a crown encircled with "Lefton
China,Hand Painted, Reg.U.S. Pat. Off.";
(1948-1953) a crown with a capital cursive
(1955-Present)a crown encircled with "Lefton
China, Hand Painted". There can also be
"Royal Dover, Bone China" or "Made in
Some of the most collectible pieces are the Angels,
Miss Priss, tea sets, Bluebirds, and all types of
dinnerware. Prices may vary, depending on size,
condition, rarity, and location.
For additional information, a good source of reference
is the set of books by Loretta DeLozier; Collector's
Encyclopedia of Lefton I, II, or III.
Next month's subject will be on Homer Laughlin China.
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