As Sevres has produced some of the most beautiful porcelain ever created, it is only normal that there are many copies and fakes on the market. This discussion is limited to two Sevres patterns produced during the reigns of Louis Philippe and Napoleon III for use at their palaces by officials and staff called the "Services A Chiffre Dore" and the "Service des Officiers." The "Service des Officiers" is differentiated by the ring of oak leaves surrounding the boarder of the service pieces.
While tens of thousands of items were produced for these dining services, many copies were also made by Limoges and other French makers during the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. The quality of these copies is fair, with some being hard to differentiate from the originals. After a few years of collecting, I have approximately 125 pieces of this pattern (see sidebar for image). Here are some identification guidelines I have developed.
1. Most fakes are marked 1846, but not all 1846 are fakes.
2. Most real porcelain will have under-glaze makers marks signifying date of production. I have yet to see a fake with these under-glaze date marks. I have seen real items without them, but such pieces were usually secondary items such as lids and parts of bolted pieces.
3. On real Sevres, the over-glaze date stamp is typically stamped on a corresponding under-glaze oval.
4. Porcelain that is approximately 150 years old should show some some shelf wear.
5. Obviously, period Sevres porcelain was never marked "Made in France", as was (is) some late production copies.
Period Serve Coffee Cup
Fake Sevres Coffee Cup
The two photos provided above show the bottoms of a real Sevres tea cup (left) and a latter fake. Clicking on them will enlarge in a new tab. The fake only lacks a "Made in France" mark or it would demonstrate every warning sign that the porcelain is a later copy!
It should be noted I have copies in my collection made during the reign of Louis Philippe and so dated on the bottom, but with the Napoleon III cypher on the dish. This indicates the blank was made before the change in royal administration. I also have items where the Louis Philippe cypher was removed and the Napoleon III cypher added. Again, this was almost certainly done by Sevres prior to delivery to the new Emperor.