When thinking of collectibles, most people think of things that increase in value over time, and that can be passed down from one generation to another. Collectibles come in all shapes, sizes, colors and from all over the world. Often times these special items take time to find and collect, and can be very expensive unless one has inside information and can find a great deal. Either way, no matter how they are obtained, collectibles are a great addition to any person’s home. Lefton Collectibles are a great addition to have in a collection. They add beauty and a sense of history that is unlike any other. With a vast variety of pieces, each special collection makes a great conversation piece, and the options are endless as to what makes each collection unique to each owner.
History of Lefton Collectibles
In 1939, a Hungarian immigrant by the name of George Zoltan Lefton came to Chicago and started importing quality china from Japan – into the United States. After World War II the porcelain became very popular due to its expensive and sophisticated look as well as its affordable prices. With his love for collecting, George Lefton was able to use his skills in order to promote a new passion for fine china that has spread over the years.
In 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed, there were many Japanese-owned businesses that were robbed and destroyed. It was during this time that George Lefton helped Nunome, a friend who was Japanese-American board up and protect his business. Once the war was over, it was Nunome who helped George develop relationships with china produced in Occupied Japan. In 1946, the first of many pieces of Lefton China arrived in the United States. Once these pieces entered the United States their popularity increased. The combination of charm, value, and affordability made for a lasting impact in the United States among fine china collectors.
The Lefton Company, specializing in collectibles, was founded in Chicago in 1941 by George Zoltan Lefton, a Hungarian immigrant. Lefton collectibles include pottery, porcelain, and hand painted décor, some with practical uses, and others solely made for display. At one point, Lefton Company collectibles were available in over 10,000 retail stores in the United States.
In 1945, George Zoltan Lefton visited Japan. Impressed with the superb quality of Japanese porcelain, Lefton engaged in an importing agreement with the Japanese, making him one of the first American businessmen to interact with the country after World War II. The first Lefton product, china, marked with “Made in Occupied Japan,” reached the American shore in 1946.
The company has created a large array of collectibles including: marmalade jars, lighthouses, figurines, mugs, and vases, just to name a few. Collectors still scramble to find vintage Lefton pieces that have certain markings. These markings can include Lefton China, Lefton’s, G.Z.L., Geo. Z. Lefton, and also can be marked with just the letter “L.”
In 1996, George Zoltan Lefton sadly passed away. The Lefton Company carried on though; in 2005, the company was sold to OMT Enterprises, and still continues to create unique and ornate collectibles.
How to Collect Lefton Collectibles
In order to begin a successful collection, one should first decide which collection to invest in. With so may collections available and so many subcategories in each one, it is easier to build a Lefton collection by focusing on one at a time. Another good idea is to also decide on whether or not the collection will consist of figurines such as birthday pieces, couple figurines, boy and girl figurines, or traditional pieces. Lefton collections can also consist of holiday pieces as well.
Another decision that can be hard to solve involves picking which pattern to collect. With decorative pieces, it is important to know that they are named after the main or dominate color in the set. A few examples would be, Green Heritage, Violet Chintz, Forget Me Not Blue, and Heirloom Rose. This can make for a very interesting collection with a great mix of color and unique names.
There are many tips to help one collect items that are true Lefton Collectibles. You can learn how to date Lefton collectible items. True collectors know that the correct mark of a Lefton collectible can be found on the bottom, and that up until around 1950, a man riding a horse was the identifying mark. Then at some point up until 1953, the mark was switched to the company’s name and also included “Made in Japan. A couple of years later in 1955 the identifying mark was changed to the company name and also included a crown above the name, and this is the mark that is still used today. Being able to identify these marks will make buying pieces easier because a collector will be able to focus more on the details and not so much on telling the real ones from the fake ones.
As with any other type of collections, when collecting Lefton Collectibles, one should only buy pieces if they are in good condition. This means that they should be free of any chips, defects in pattern or design, and have great color. If there is even one small chip on an item the price will instantly be reduced. If there is damage found like a crack for instance, the value of the item could drop by half. No collector wants a damaged piece in his or her collection when they are building one of perfection.
Whether Lefton Collectibles are brought for a beginner collector or a seasoned veteran, each piece is guaranteed to bring something different to the owner. With the history and beauty behind this fine china each collector will have no problem feeling a sense of pride when looking at what they have discovered.