Fiesta Markings: Dating Your Vintage Fiestaware

Have you ever sorted through your cabinet of Fiestaware and wonder: “How old is this Fiestaware? How much is this Fiestaware worth? How can I tell if my Fiestaware is old or vintage Fiestaware?” The answer to those questions is neither simple nor definitive. There are dozens of markings on Fiestaware and they are often difficult to read or applied with little uniformity. Still, there are a few ways you can examine Fiesta bottom marks and Fiestaware stamps in order to determine how old Fiestaware is. Before trying to identify your Fiesta marking, it”s important to note that there are two types of Fiesta logo stamps – ink Fiesta logo stamps and imprinted Fiesta markings. The clues for these different stamps are very different and are not interchangeable. So, what holds true for an ink Fiesta stamp is not necessarily the same rule for an imprinted Fiesta marking! Very important.

Fiesta backstamps are the ink markings that appear on the bottom of the plate. These Fiesta markings all feature the word “Fiesta” in some form as well as some marking identifying Homer Laughlin as the manufacturer. With Fiesta backstamps that are in INK ONLY, you can identify and old piece of Fiestaware by the case of the letters. Remember these rules:

  • If all letters on the “Fiesta” logo are lower case, then the piece of Fiesta is old.
  • If the letters on the “Fiesta” logo are upper case, then the piece of Fiesta is new.

Today, there are four (possibly more) different Fiesta markings. These all have capital letters and often have the words “genuine” and “lead free.” Update: For some nice pictures that illustrate a piece of Fiestaware with a vintage looking color but updated ink backstamps, check out these shots taken over at the Selling Vintage blog.

Fiesta Markings for Imprinted Fiesta Logos

Imprinted Fiesta markings are both difficult to read and have many, many variations. It is very difficult to tell whether a Fiestaware piece is old from its imprinted marking – but it is easy to tell if it is new by the appearance of an “H.” Newer Fiesta pieces now have an H stamped below the logo. This was a recent addition, so not all new Fiestaware will have it. However, these rules hold true:

  • An “H” appearing on an imprinted Fiestaware marking means it is DEFINITELY new.
  • No “H” appearing on an imprinted Fiestaware marking means it MAY BE old but could quite possibly be new.

Circular Fiestaware Markings

Another good indicator of a new piece of Fiestaware is a the new, circular logo. These logos will have a FIESTA HLC USA in a circular pattern, where the word “Fiesta” is actually part of the circle. Again, this is indicative of a new Fiestaware piece but it”s absence is not proof that it is an old piece of Fiesta.

Original Fiesta Markings

The original Fiesta markings from between 1936 and 1972 are identifiable in that they include only:

  • The word “Fiesta” written in a handwritten styling in all lowercase letters
  • The letters HLCO (standing for Homer Laughlin China Co. Sometimes appearing as H-L-Co)
  • The letters USA or the words Made in USA.
  • The word “Genuine”

Each of these characteristics has its own, somewhat hard to nail down history.

The F in Fiestaware

The F in Fiestaware has changed considerably since the 1930s. The original Fiesta “F” is always lower case and has no loops. The rest of the words in Fiesta are interconnected. In 1986, when Fiesta was revived, the F in Fiesta was given a distinctive loop, making it appear uppercase. Also, Fiesta started using the Trademark (TM) and Registration (R) symbols after 1986. The remaining letters became disconnected from the F and were then made into all capital letters.

“Genuine” Fiestaware

The word “Genuine” began appearing sometime in the 1940s. This was in response to the many imitation Fiestaware pieces that were produced in the wake of Fiesta”s success.

Lead Free Fiestaware

The words “Lead Free” appeared after January 1992. Read our other post for more information about lead and cadmium in Fiestaware.

Date Codes

Also in1992, Fiestaware began bearing date codes. The year is noted by two letters and the month is noted by a single letter. For example, VV is the year code for 2007 and B is the month code for February. A piece made in February 2007 would be stamped with VVB. Homer Laughlin has used date codes on commerical products since 1960, but these codes did not appear on Fiesta until 1992. Here”s a handy chart for date codes:

Homer Laughlin Date Codes for Year: Homer Laughlin Date Codes for Month:
  • GG – 1992
  • HH – 1993
  • II – 1994
  • JJ – 1995
  • KK – 1996
  • LL – 1997
  • MM – 1998
  • NN – 1999
  • OO – 2000
  • PP – 2001
  • QQ – 2002
  • RR – 2003
  • SS – 2004
  • TT – 2005
  • UU – 2006
  • VV – 2007
  • WW – 2008
  • XX – 2009
  • A – January
  • B – February
  • C – March
  • D – April
  • E – May
  • F – June
  • G – July
  • H – August
  • I – September
  • J – October
  • K – November
  • L – December

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of Fiestaware markings, this may help you provide clues as to whether your Fiesta is vintage or new. In most cases, it is far easier to determine that Fiestaware is new rather than attempting to prove that it is old. This can be quite frustrating, as many newer Fiesta pieces do resemble original Fiestaware markings. But by knowing which elements appeared later, you can be sure to avoid anyone trying to pass off new Fiesta as old! Read more about Fiesta history on our page Fiesta History

  • Linda ierace says:

    I what year did they put the H and the L on top of each other?

  • FiestaFan says:

    You can join the Fiesta Fanatics FB group and upload pictures there. Plenty of people there can help you decide.

  • Marlys Morrison says:

    Is there a way to send you photo of a fiesta plate trying to decide if it’s a fake.

  • D Lynn KAilburn says:

    I have a 9 inch + vase – I can’t find the specific color anywhere on the internet. Of course its hard to make color connections on the internet. But it has the markings of “fiesta HLC USA” with an H below it. Might you know what year it was produced

  • Mandi says:

    I have some that have no markings on the back. Are they worth anything?

  • diane says:

    j is the month it was made, j being Oct, the 42 is the year i think, the N means it was made in Newell W Va, 8 is the plant no. you can Google Homer Laughlin backstamps and it should tell you for sure

  • Lucille Harris says:

    Some Fiesta does not have any markings

  • Lavita says:

    I love fiesta and have had a few pieces over the years even red I got ripped off for large bowl I was told worth $20 most of mine was stolen I have a pale yellow mug with imprint but it’s not deep it’s hardly visible would love to know age.

  • Rhonda Carpenter says:

    I have cups marked Homer Laughlin, are they Fiestaware?

  • Barbara torino says:

    I have the same embossed markings on my pieces. Can these be dated?

  • Jennie Lee says:

    You’ll have better luck looking it up if you use the correct color name. What you describe sounds like it may be persimmon.

  • Steve D says:

    I have a round, shallow 1.5″ high, 8″-round blue dish with the USA stamped on the back. It looks very “fiesta to me”. I believe it was old in the 1960’s. Any idea of the date?

  • Harley Lond says:

    I have some Fiesta mugs and bowls that have markings unlike any I have seen at your site or even at other Fiesta sites. It is embossed into the china. At the top is HLC with a registered Rmark to the right; followed in the middle by Fiesta (uppercase F with lowercase script letters after that) and then below that USA. I can send a photo. Thank you.

  • Debra L Towsley says:

    If you get on Ebay and search for Fiesta Ware Orange Pitcher then look on the left side in the pull down menu it will state “Sold”. Click on that and it will give you current values that they are selling for. I always look for the highest value then the lowest and shoot for the middle of those values. Hope that hopes

  • anita juppup says:

    thank you. I found this site to be helpful. Have 100 pcs to ID that except for six are true Fiesta. Appreciate your site.

  • >