Despite its Anglo-sounding name, Shafford dishware was produced in Japan in the mid-1900s. Shafford pieces are not pottery; rather, they are marked as fine bone china. In the early 2000s, even though the company no longer produces china, its wares are still available in abundance on the resale market. Look for pieces in local antique shops and thrift shops, as well as on online auction sites and at yard sales.
Shafford exported pieces to the United States from Japan starting in the 1940s and ending in the 1970s. Shafford produced china planter mugs depicting famous people, music boxes, figurines, pitchers, pill cups, candle holders and a host of other novelty items.
Shafford used a variety of labels on their china. Certain Shafford dinnerware is marked with a foil label that says "Japan." Figurines have different types of marking. They may be marked with numbers; some Shafford cats made in the 1960s are marked with Roman numerals, according to the Animal Figurines Gallery Index. Other pieces may be marked as hand-painted or as fine china, while others may bear a foil sticker marked "Shafford Japan." Shafford egg coddlers may be marked simply as "Shafford."
Shafford made more than 100 different dinnerware patterns in a variety of styles, including floral patterns such as Bouquet, Meadow Flowers, Provence, St. Tropez and Tulip Time, and fruit patterns such as Strawberry Patch. Shafford dinnerware also includes whimsical lines such as Country Morn, a yellow plate with a cow in the middle; Little Farm, a patchwork pattern in pastels; and Nantucket, which features a large crustacean. Embossed patterns such as Berry Time, Vintage and Rabbit Patch are also available on the resale market.
Shafford produced a number of figurines depicting one or more people in varying poses. The figurines either have a bisque finish or are marked as hand-painted, and cover a range of scenes and eras, such as ladies in Victorian garb, the Madonna and child, girls offering birthday gifts, boys in pajamas, cowboys and Oriental couples. There is even a figurine of the notorious pirate Blackbeard.
Shafford also made an extensive line of animal figurines, including several breeds of dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, deer and other wildlife. The Blue Ribbon line of figurines produced in the 1960s feature a high-gloss finish. The company also produced a line of distinctive "black cat" pieces, including spice jars, salt and pepper shakers, cookie jars and teapots. The cats are painted black, with a red bow around their neck, painted whiskers and painted green eyes with black pupils, as well as white eyeliner on the upper part of the eye.
How to Identify Japanese Pottery Porcelain Marks
Suggested resources for assistance in identifying Japanese pottery and porcelain marks without knowledge of the Japanese language