Belleek Pottery has made a wide variety of much-collected treasures from Ireland

Hard to believe, but both of these very different items were handmade by the Irish pottery maker Belleek.
(Leslie Hindman and Medley Auctions)
The Smart Collector

WHAT: Cream-colored, translucent Belleek china is a much-collected treasure from Ireland. Started in 1857 in County Fermanagh, Ireland, the company still produces handmade wares. Delicate pieces in the painted shamrock pattern may be most widely recognized, but, in differing eras, the pottery also made busts, woven china baskets, pearlized whimsies, earthenware and more.

Today, an active secondary market in less recent Belleek fuels many auctions. In the photo shown, a shamrock teapot/cream/sugar combo brought $150 recently in a Medley Auction on The painted and gilt dog mask, a little over 8 inches across, sold for $2,520 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on Note: Both sales happened via platform online auctions.

MORE: Made circa 1863-1890, the dog mask sold in 2014 for the high sum because it is very early and non-traditional for Belleek. A custom commission order, the piece was previously unrecorded.

SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: Belleek wares are dated by bottom marks on individual pieces.


HOT TIP: Not all Belleek is the real deal. For die-hard collectors, the only true Belleek was/is made in County Fermanagh, Ireland, and is so marked.

Some collectors go for high quality circa 1883-1930 “American Belleek,” made in the U.S. Companies including American Art Works, Columbia Art Works, Willets, Morgan, and Lenox made versions here.

BOTTOM LINE: Belleek at retail and in antique shops can be expensive. Savvy collectors track sales at auctions and online. Platform auction sites online (we’ve mentioned only two) list results as well -- a bonus!