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 dif-
ferent sizes, colors, designs, and styles. Like any colored item, colors may not always be consistent
unless it comes from the same "color run".
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 China,Hand Painted;
(1949-1955)a crown encircled with "Lefton China,Hand Painted, Reg.U.S. Pat. Off.";
(1948-1953) a crown with a capital cursive "L" above;
(1955-Present)a crown encircled with "Lefton China, Hand Painted". There can
also be "Royal Dover, Bone China" or "Made in Japan".
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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