Austrian vs West German Ceramics

I’m sure many of you will have seen what you think is a West German ceramic, which then turns out to be Austrian – with the word AUSTRIA moulded on the base. I have been keeping my eye on these to try and work out who made them. Earlier this week I bought a nice Carstens baluster vase, decorated with a circular variant of Carstens’ ‘Ankara’ pattern. It’s quite a complex glaze combination and pattern, so I was amazed to see that the base was in fact moulded ‘AUSTRIA’. So, did an Austrian company copy this glaze, and effectively ‘rip it off’, or did Carstens license the pattern to another factory? I think neither, and that all (or the majority of) Austrian ceramics that look like West German ceramics were made by Carstens in Germany. It’s known that Carstens had a sales office or branch in Austria (as well as Australia, Brasil and even Chile!), and it may have been easier to export their wares to certain countries if they were not marked ‘Germany’ – after all in 1960, the …

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