Friday, April 12, 2013

Airways - a collector's dream

Just look at this little beauty, an Air New Zealand butter dish from 1965. It's only 8 cm wide, and at best guess worth somewhere between $50 and $80.
This Air New Zealand ware is truly lovely, and highly collectable. A while ago I met someone who has a whole dinner set. She wouldn't tell me what she paid, but you can guarantee that it is worth much much more now. The first design for this ware was gold on turquoise, but the gold wouldn't stand up to industrial dishwashers so they chose brown instead. This is what the backstamp looks like:
Later, in the late 1970s Crown Lynn made ware for Air NZ second class - the initial order in 1977 was 330,000 pieces. In dark brown with a subtle Koru emblem, it's quite classy but it doesn't tug the heartstrings like the turquoise. In any case they are far far superior to the disposable plastic that comes with the disposable food on airlines these days!
Often the dishes have strange long numbers and letters on the back - they denote specific aircraft, I have been told.
It pays to check before swooping on this ware in junk shops. Some was made in Japan - check the backstamp carefully! This is Japanese:
This is Crown Lynn.
More collectable than the grim brown are Air NZ beakers and ashtrays, in honey glaze from in the Titian factory. I love their graphics, moulded into the shape. The beaker is 9 cm high, the ashtray about 20 cm wide including the handles.  I assume this is an ashtray, but then again it might have been a platter - can anyone enlighten me?
This is the base of the beaker. The only ashtray I have seen is unmarked.
They also made a few beakers in a gorgeous lively green:
(Thanks to Ev for letting me photograph some of these items from her collection).
Crown Lynn also made ware for other airlines. This classic little casserole was for Qantas. The mini-casserole shape was used over and over again for all sorts of domestic and commercial ranges, they must have made millions of them.
Note that the Qantas backstamp was applied separately to the Cook & Serve stamp - with no consideration as to which way up it goes! 
Here is a British Airways dish, the same shape as the brown one above.
This is the backstamp:
Last, I have a little mystery. This gorgeous hotel ware oval plate (also known as an ashet) is the same turquoise as the Air New Zealand ware.
I have no idea when it was made or why. It has the standard vitrified ware backstamp which was used from around 1955-1970:
But it also has some impressed marks which I have not seen elsewhere.
AND it has a very fuzzy shape number (1631) also not usually seen on plates.
If anyone can tell me who this plate was made for, I would be most grateful. And if anyone has any for sale, I would be even more grateful! I would love a set of four for our motor home.

In the next couple of weeks we are moving house, so there will be a bit of a gap before my next post.
Take care meanwhile



  1. Hi Valerie
    Love your blog....
    How much do you think one of the Air New Zealand beakers would be worth?

    1. Thanks for your question Sam. These beakers are not hugely expensive but like most Crown Lynn the price continues to climb steadily. They are not especially common - I can't see any on TradeMe at present. My suggestion is that you do a search on TradeMe for 'Crown Lynn Air New Zealand' or just 'Air New Zealand'. Given time and patience, one of these beakers should pop up so you can see what it goes for. As usual though the price is what someone will pay on the day!

  2. Hi Valerie, I'm hoping you can shed some light on a question about some Crown Lynn plates my father has recently found at a thrift store in Canada. There are 14 dishes in total and all are in new condition. They look to be identical in shape and design as the Air New Zealand ones, the only difference being the word, "HINEMOA" printed across the top. I haven't been able to find any information about these dishes or anyone who has seen them before. I've read a little bit about the Hinemoa and have an idea of where they might have been used. The Hinemoa was withdrawn from service as a ferry in Aug 1966 and was then used as a hotel ship for visiting press covering President Lyndon Johnson's visit to NZ in Oct 1966. I think these dishes were commissioned by the government for use on the Hinemoa at this time and a visiting journalist took some back to North America with them. Perhaps the remaining dishes were destroyed after, which may explain why I can't find any information about them or anyone (so far) who has seen them. Crown Lynn was already making them for Air New Zealand and it probably wouldn't have taken much to add the word Hinemoa across the top and change the backstamp slightly (it looks the same just doesn't have the top part - the word Air and the bird on it). I would appreciate any information you have about them. My email address is if you'd like to contact me and I can send you some photos if you're interested. Thanks

  3. Hi Emma. I have been following this discussion on the New Zealand Pottery website, and I am as flummoxed as you are! I have never seen one of these in all my years of collection and research. We will all be looking out now for any information about your set that pops up. They are definitely as close as you can get to Air NZ - but they are not! Crown Lynn did export to the US and Canada, but I can't imagine they would have exported monogrammed ware - so your theory about them being brought to Canada by a private individual is most likely correct. You are no doubt aware that Air NZ ware is collectable in New Zealand.

    1. Thanks Valerie. It's definitely a mystery. I've emailed a few of the museum sites to see if they would have been used on the Hinemoa when it was a hotel ship - that just seems like the most likely explanation to me and the timing fits. If dad brings them to NZ what do you think he should insure them for? There are 14 pieces in total - (2 dinner sets?) Guess it's hard to value them without knowing what they were used for but they are in perfect condition. Thanks for your reply and for keeping an ear to the ground. : )

    2. No doubt you will keep us posted if you find out anything. Re insurance, that is a tricky question as this set is almost irreplaceable, but I guess you could use the value of Air New Zealand ware as a guide. Search for "Air NZ" and "Air New Zealand" on TradeMe and see what similar ware goes for and then you will have an idea of value. I don't watch TradeMe at present so I have no up to date info.

  4. Hi there! I have a pot from air nz, i think it may be CL, but not sure, could i send you a photo?

  5. Hi Val, I have an Air NZ honey glaze ashtray. My dad used to work there in the 70s, but isn't a smoker. So it's just been a handy dish. I'll send you a pic - Nat