Oceanic Steam Navigation Company (OSNC)
china is usually the proverbial jackpot for any steamship china collector. Harder to come by than any other
china, OSNC's quality and quantity have made it sought after by collectors worldwide. As equally rare is finding any
information on these pieces.
The first piece of OSNC china photographed above is
the rare "Snowflake" pattern (as it's called). The only other place online with a photo of this plate dates it as circa
1890s, but this piece (and two others residing in a private England collection) are dated from January of 1925. It is surprising
that for the records kept by that time by White Star and their passengers, that nothing exists for these pieces. Were they a
late order for the newly acquisitioned RMS Majestic? One may never know. However, a 4th such plate recently
sold at auction in the US and contradicts the last three. It was made in March, but the faded number impression looks to be
dated either 1880, 1886, or 1890. This is odd since the date on this piece differs with the others by 35+ years.
The second piece above is the "Spode Greek Key" china, which
is the more common pattern to surface from OSNC. This pattern came about the turn of the century and was used up until the
1930s by White Star Line. This pattern of china has also been recovered from the debris field of the RMS Titanic.
One of the rarest and most prized of any White Star Line china
is that of the "Spode Cobalt R4331 and 4332" sets. Full information of these pieces can be viewed at Titanic's China
Wares through the link on the White Star Line 2 page. http://titanic.marconigraph.com/mgy_china.html
Probably the rarest piece to behold is the Royal Crown Derby A La'
Carte Service pieces - Rd.No.575573. (Photo in Titanic's China Wares page as well.) Only two pieces of this china have been
seen, one resides in the Royal Doulton Collection. Another sold at auction in 2000 with the following description:
Stonier & Co., Ltd. - Liverpool, ca. 1912 A white china plate from the Ritz Carlton dining
room. Marked with the OSNC logo in the center of the plate in green, and decorated around the edges with a rose and leaf swag.
The back of the plate is marked White Star Line/Stonier & Co., Ltd./Liverpool. In addition the plate is marked with a
reference number 9100/9. 91/4 in.(23.5 cm.) Diameter. PROVENANCE George Fredrick Bull Douglas G. Bull LITERATURE Archbold,
R. and McCauley, D. NOTES This plate was purchased by Mr. Bull after the sea trials between Belfast and Liverpool in April
The third pattern listed above is that of the "Mother of Pearl"
or "Beaded" OSNC china. These pieces were produced in blue and brown color and have mainly appeared in the form of demi cup
& saucers and soup bowls. This pattern was used onboard the RMS Olympic in her restaurants and the range of dates used
is unknown. The brown version is the more difficult to come by.
The two most unknown patterns of OSNC china include the "Rose" pattern.
These pieces consist of rose flowers similar to Cunard's rose pattern with the OSNC logo in the center in a light green color.
They were probably used during the 1920s & 30s to coincide with Cunard's china pattern. Thus far it is known a full service
was made in this pattern including dinner & dessert plates, cups & saucers, and teapots. Identical pieces
sold from the estate of Ken Schultz in 2007.
The last and most obscure is the "Green Laurel Leaf" pattern. Dating
is unknown, but assumed to be the late 1910s or 1920s. This pattern consists of two outer gold rims with a beautiful
deep green leaf pattern on the inside. The OSNC logo is also in a dark green in the center. (Thanks to Ray Perks for this