What’s it Worth: Tricorne Dinnerware

Triangular art deco dinnerware was ahead of its time.

Tricorne Dinnerware

Tricorne Dinnerware

Tricorne Dinnerware-Rust Tulip pattern

Tricorne Dinnerware

Tricorne Dinnerware

Tricorne Dinnerware - Bird of Paradise decal pattern

Tricorne Dinnerware

Tricorne Dinnerware

Tricorne Dinnerware-Dutch Petit Point, an interpretation of a Dutch masterpiece.

 

For years, people took it for granted that dinner plates were round. But in 1934, noted ceramics designer Don Schreckengost and the Salem China Company turned that notion on end with the introduction of Tricorne dinnerware.

As the name suggests, the 9-inch dinner plates in this art deco ceramic line were three-sided, and cup handles were sharply angular, as shown in these three readers’ photos. Tricorne’s design was ahead of its time, and the line had other problems as well. Low porosity made plates susceptible to crazing—those inconsistent patches of tiny hairline cracks or webbing that result when body and glaze contract at different rates. If the glaze was pierced, the patches darkened. And the decal treatments that formed the different patterns in the Tricorne line often washed off.

Still, new patterns kept Tricorne in production for several years. Salem made luncheon and buffet sets, plus a 24-piece bridge set with nut cups that sold for $10.70. As part of its marketing strategy, Salem used a wide variety of marks, sometimes mixing backstamps or including none at all. Later Tricorne designs were known as  “Streamline.”

Interestingly, the company—which produced white granite and semi-porcelain tableware in Salem, Ohio from 1898 to 1967—was known more for its traditionally styled pieces than for these more modern-looking ones.

In perfect condition, Tricorne dinnerware pieces in these three patterns would be worth about $6 per plate (any size); $4 per bowl (any size); $7 per cup and saucer set; and $10 for a sugar bowl or creamer.

—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)

S. Brown 1 April 23, 2012 at 2:21 am

I wanted to commend you on your article; as someone who has collected probably the largest online collection of the shape, I’m always on the look out for more info! Here’s a shout out to Modish.net, a collector’s group of lovers of Art Deco and Mid Century dinnerware (and more).

As to the prices, I’m not sure when this article was researched, but it’s been my experience that demand has grown, and so have the prices! Replacements.com recently inherited some stock from the now defunct TableTops.com, including some Tricorne in Mandarin Orange, and their price for small cereal bowls is $22.50 apiece!

I have hundreds of pieces, some of which are listed in my Etsy shop, SusabellaBrownstein, and yet I had never seen the Bird of Paradise decal pattern in your 2nd photo, and only a variation of the floral decal in the first! I’d love to one day know how many different designs and patterns they put on this iconic shape, thanks for adding to my knowledge!
~Susabella

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