June 2017

For six years, Tony Wood was the personality behind these popular Masterspy pages.

Tony’s enthusiasm for Best Ware was unabashed as he wrote about Carlton Ware being sold on eBay and that had caught his eye.

It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that Tony passed away on 23 June 2017. He is survived by his lovely wife Angela and daughters Jenny and Katy.

Below are his words of introduction to his first Masterspy page or ‘blog’, which he composed in October 2010.

We have kept all he has written so that he will still be with us in spirit. His monthly reviews can accessed from the menu above in reverse year order.

Rest in peace Tony.

Harvey Pettit – Webmaster for Carlton Ware World

October 2010

Hello everybody out there,

This is “eBay Masterspy” here (cue the theme from James Bond, or perhaps the Pink Panther). I have been asked by the Carlton Ware World committee to look at what is happening on eBay in respect of our favourite pots and make a monthly report for you all on the website.

At this stage I am not sure what you will be interested in and how it should be presented. Naturally I have my own areas of interest, which I will cover by default unless you good people tell me to look at things you want covering more regularly.

Obviously, what I need is your views and feedback, so leave at comment via the link at the bottom of this page or and to let me know.

Like many of you out there I don’t have bottomless pockets and I know only too well the frustration of seeing a cherished target lost to another bidder, but eBaying is as addictive as collecting Carlton Ware itself, so perhaps we can share some of our triumphs and sorrows in the coming months. I am not a dealer, in fact at this moment in time I have never sold so much as a used staple on ebay. My perspective therefore is purely as a collector (and certainly not an expert, even in my area of interest), but if there are dealers out there who want to see things covered from their point of view in some way I am happy to oblige within the limits of my ability and knowledge.

No doubt I will make many factual mistakes, but that will only give you something to give me feedback on, of course (just don’t shoot the messenger, as they say). Your comments will remain confidential unless you wish your views to be published and I will not attribute any comment to you by name unless you give me permission to do so. I have no idea if I will receive 1 email per month or 1000, so I will have to decide later if I am going to be in a position to answer every email or not. Please bear with me on this.

I hope in time my page on the site may prove to be of value to some of you and that you visit my page regularly.

Best wishes,

“eBay Masterspy”

26 Responses to Introduction

  1. Ian & Sue says:

    Your mission if you chose to accept it, is to put something on the site that’s interesting to non-collectors but still carltonware related! Good luck with that.

  2. ebay masterspy says:

    Hi Ian and Sue,
    Fancy a bad cold, I have one going spare?
    Thanks for your post which I will definitely keep in mind.
    I am planning something which may prove of interest, but if not, do let me know.
    Now where is that industrial strength Ibuprofen?
    Best wishes,
    ebay masterspy

  3. Mike Maunder says:

    Good Morning
    I thought my recent dealings with a member on Ebay would be interesting
    In September I bought a 10″ Blush Carlton Ware Vase for the starting price of £9.99
    There were no other bidders which I assume was down initially no photograph being uploaded a one line description and a feedback of 92% with 3 recent negatives.
    I thought what the hell £9.99 was not much to loose.

    After waiting a couple of weeks I emailed the seller asking when the vase would be posted and getting no response, a week later, emailed again with no reply.

    After five weeks and a warning email to the seller that I was going to leave negative feedback, the vase was re-listed!!

    I left negative feedback, received a refund from Paypal and within a week received an abusive email from the seller calling me a p…k and d…head and that the vase had sold for £40 so I was the only looser.

    What they didn’t know was the winner of the re-listed vase was my daughter who has bought it for my Christmas present!!

    There is a sting in the tail…..Ebay have picked up a relationship between me and my daughter and asked us to take a test on responsible selling, so we understand what are the do’s and don’ts of selling on Ebay.
    Ironic really as the original seller has got away with fraudulent behaviour.

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hi Mike,
      I feel very sorry for you and your daughter.
      What the seller did to you was disgraceful and to get off scot free after doing it beggars belief.
      Added to which you have been wrongly accused by ebay. From what you say I presume the ebay response was auto-generated – a bit 1950’s Soviet Russia otherwise in my opinion.
      I hope that future purchases are trouble free.
      One thing is for sure, I can’t see you purchasing from that seller again, so who is the loser in the end?
      ebay masterspy

  4. sandy nicholls says:

    i am looking for carlton times books no:-26 and 28. i have many other numbers to trade !! any help would be fantastic, i am a collector of the floral sets and the village and cottage series also missing a couple of items, sandy

  5. Martyn J Dewhurst says:

    My Father and Step mother have a lovely Carltonware Rabbits at Dusk bowl about 10″ across and are in the process of moving house so they are considering selling the bowl. Do you have any suggestions as to where is the best place to sell a piece like this? Many thanks

  6. andi says:

    Hi Masterspy. Love your posts. Reading from Canada where I just purchased a tea cup, saucer and sandwich plate set that is marked CarltonWare Made in England “Trade mark” looks like the triangular Mimosa sets from the 50s. The thing is mine is plain (no flowers) off white with gold where the Mimosa has a brown or yellow swoosh. Can’t seem to find anything like it. I’ll admit there are variances on the CarltonWare wordmark from those I find online and it looks in very good condition (ie. there’s no crazing). Have you or your readers seen anything like this? It’s a beautiful piece and I’d love to know more if anyone has information. Thanks!

  7. Gail Gould says:

    Hello from Canada Masterspy
    I can send pics on any follow up
    I have a CW ginger jar (6in) with lid in the red Jazz pattern. It is in excellent condition.
    In your opinion what would be the most hassle free way to sell it, I have an offer now of 2500.00 cad. I know how desirable this pattern is and I am in no hurry to sell…..

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hello Gail,
      Thank you for responding to my blog. As I see it there are 3 ways to sell your ginger jar. Firstly there is the traditional way – sending it to an auction house. If you don’t have a well known one nearby which lists on the internet this may not realise the highest price (as many major buyers are spread right across the world) and will probably cost you in the region of 20% of the hammer price in fees. If the auction house is not nearby you may have to post it to them. If it doesn’t sell they would have to post it back (alternatively taking it by car might seriously dent the net outcome as well, especially if it doesn’t sell and you have to go and collect it afterwards). As one or two readers of this blog have discovered, auction house packing isn’t the best. Secondly, you can sell to an acquaintance or fellow collector. Are you getting a good price? If you aren’t well versed in Carlton Ware prices this could be a lottery. If the person who has offered you money is a dealer, he or she will want to sell on at a profit, so it is unlikely to be the highest price possible (no fees and no risk in the post, however). Thirdly you can list it on ebay. You would have to set up a seller’s account, but once this is done you can use it thousands of times. Listing on ebay will cost around 10% of the sale price in fees, but if it doesn’t sell much the larger part of the fees are not charged. One other benefit is that your pot will not leave your hands until you have the money and when you do post it you are the one packing it. It will be a lot of money one way or the other, so pack in a big and strong enough box and make sure it is nice and snug with plenty of shock absorbent materials (not just newspaper). It may have to go a very long way and through some uncaring hands.
      Whichever way you sell it ensure you protect yourself by listing it with a reserve. Then if it doesn’t meet your expectations it isn’t being sold too cheaply. Before you do anything else I would also advise reading our Valuation Page which can be found at the bottom of the sidebar on the left hand side of the Home Page.
      I hope this has been of help and that you revisit my blog again.
      Best wishes and good luck with the sale,
      ebay masterspy

  8. Halina says:

    Hi Masterspy!!
    Thanks for the funny items from eBay. I also love seeing the items I have bid on or have caught my eye.
    Not everything has been available for postage to Australia, which is very disappointing 🙁
    Some of the patterns you have put up I have in my collection and I am thinking of selling them now! Great work.

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hi Halina,
      Thanks for your post and kind words.
      As for the funny items I simply can’t believe some of the things which appear on ebay and am even more amazed that people will pay money to buy them. It does give me pleasure to be able to share some of the weird and wonderful stuff with you all.
      I wonder if you have been very successful in your bidding on ebay?
      You only say you have bid on some of the items I have featured, not that you succeeded in your bids.
      I hope you have, because if ebay is about anything it is about everybody having access to all sorts of goods.
      If you sell some of your pieces on ebay I hope you will remember to include the UK in your posting destinations!
      I hope to hear from you again, perhaps when I post my new blog in a couple of days.
      Best wishes,
      ebay masterspy

  9. Angela Waltner says:

    I am wondering if I can send you some pictures of figurines that I received from my great grandmother. From your posts, they seem in your wheelhouse. I have many miniature china with crests, some hand painted items from China and Japan. From my understanding. They were all items from the early 1900’s to the mid 1900’s that my great grandfather sent to my great grandmother in his military travels during Word War II.
    Thank you,
    Angela Waltner

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hello Angela (and other recent contributors David and Denise),
      My apologies for not replying more quickly (I hope your patience has held out and you are still checking for my reply). I have been away from home working most of the week and it gets a bit tiring. I didn’t want to dash off a 1 line reply when you and Denise and David have taken the trouble and time to write in. But it is Friday evening now and it is the weekend Yeaaaaah!!! Your email is well timed. I have been thinking of including a few pieces of Crested Ware in my blog for a couple of months. Please do send a picture or two of your items to Harvey here at and I am sure he can put it on the website for you. There are many collectors of Crested Ware, including members of the committee of CWW. I am sure it will be of interest to many members.
      Kind regards,

  10. Eric Armstrong says:

    Hi I bought the Grebe & Waterlily shape 217 3″ vases in December and I am over the moon with them, they were in mint condition many thanks again glad-findings. Also my wife bought the 3″ Gazania bowl for me for xmas that was in your December issue, what a lovely xmas I had.

  11. ebay masterspy says:

    Hello Eric,
    What a Christmas – ho ho ho!
    I am not surprised that you are Over The Moon with your little pair of Grebe & Waterlily beauties.
    I would be OTM with them too.
    If your wife actually buys you CW pots as presents can I swap wives with you???
    I know the little Gazania bowl is also superb too as I saw it at the CWW AGM and had my sweaty paws on it (sorry, a little warm soapy water gently applied will get rid of my paw prints) and was soooo tempted to buy it.
    My loss is your gain!
    Feel free to write in again.
    This blog thrives on reader’s comments.
    Best wishes,

  12. alan cocking says:

    Have been reading your blogs about the cream Sketching Bird plate that recently received 2 bad receptions from ebay buyers. I think I may have bought it(or a similar one) at aution recently. Apaert from fine glaze crazing, mine IS perfect, si I hope its not the one you spoke about here.Would you help me by letting me know the faults the other one had please. Regards.

  13. Betty Maxworth (Pixie5144) says:

    Hi Masterspy. I hope you won’t mind checking out a couple of items on Ebay for me. One of my own listings item No. 321268520021, and another one from a UK seller- item No.371341936327. I have seen these “Kang Hsi” like patterns a few times on Ebay, but am not sure about them. Are they Chinese reproductions, fakes or genuine W&R CW? The blue stamp on the base of both these pieces looks genuine, but I am no expert. Usually if someone more knowledgeable than me sees me make a mistake, they message me via Ebay, but I have not heard from anyone as yet. Of course, if mine is a fake or reproduction (not by CW), I will remove it from my listings, or give the buyer a full refund if I don’t hear from you before auction end tomorrow.
    My apologies for the late email. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers and all the best for Christmas. Betty.

  14. chris says:

    The Humming bird vase sold as a buy it now for 595 pounds has arrived and I am pleased to say is perfect and measures 7 1/2 inches high..
    ps Sale date October 16th 2014…
    Chris M…

  15. Ann Burton says:

    I have a Feathertailed Bird & Flower 3354 vase but unfortunately the rim has been damaged and repaired in the past. Do you think it will still has a value?

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hello Ann,
      Apologies for my late reply.
      Unless it is badly disfigured it will surely still have some value.
      If you wish to sell it try ebay – you can always set a reserve as at an auction house.
      Kind regards,

  16. Tracy says:


    I love your blog and have found out information here that I’ve not been able to find out anywhere else! With that in mind I’m hoping you can enlighten me about a little pot/planter I have. It’s driving me crazy not being able to find anything on the net about it. It’s very similar to the magpie pattern except that the background is yellow and the birds appear to be swallows. I did the obvious and entered swallow after W & R Carlton but nope. Nothing. Arrrrrgh!

    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hi Tracy,
      Thank you for your kind words about me blog! I appreciate it.
      There is a CW pattern named Swallows, but it would be much easier to be certain if you could give us any numbers underneath. If the number is impressed into it, this will be the shape number. If it is painted on it will be the pattern number unless it is in the format o/1234 in which case it would be the factory order number. Sadly the order numbers were lost when the factory went out of business, but pattern numbers can almost all be traced. If you have a Facebook account we do have one too, named Carlton Ware World. Post a picture of the piece and its base on there.
      Keep reading the blog!!!
      Best wishes

  17. Adam says:

    I saw your September comment on an Oz sale of a Stork & Bamboo bowl…well, I bought it, as I had had a lovely vase in that design by my friend pixie (whom you often mention) and which was among around $100,000 worth or CW from 1890 to the early 50s stolen by my former landlords.

    When I told the seller how much I missed my vases (and jugs, and ginger jars and Cloisonne Ware plates, (especially the 1914 Stork & Cherry Blossom, my Handcraft, Rock garden, Garden, Chinese Figures and full Sunshine Carlton China teas set including the fairly scarce large hot water jug and the unusual round (not squared) b&b plates, my four Foxglove Tea for two sets (two green, two yellow and a Pink Buttercup complete set…and Temple candlesticks…even my Flies vases and rabbits at Dusk jugs…just so much. I just wish I could name and shame these people) asafbsh84 told me he had another 4 bowls and did me a deal for them at less each than the initial.

    They are all in perfect condition and being shallow bowls are very easy to display on stands and although they look like blue lustre in the photos, they are more a deep iridescent violet.

    I was planning on having some online stores and keeping my own personal collection (I likewise miss my Worcester Birds vases, pedestal vases in Roses and Peach Blossom and if anyone comes across a 1924 blue lustre urn-handled Blossom and Branch ‘vase’ (ice bucket) you might know now where that came from.

    But people have been so kind, particularly those I have given advice on dating/style/shape or period (as if one doesn’t know a design name or that shapes were made for years or an AW gold script isn’t from the 1930s although the shape was) whom I have contacted over the years, I am starting (after a heart attack mind you) to rebuild the collection it took years to get and two people just a day or two to strip, against the law but its civil). I have not replaced the Noire Royale or many others yet, or my trays and only a couple of trefoil handled serving dishes…but I would REALLY like to thank people from as far as the UK, US, Europe and the wonderful pixie5144 who have been so kind and encouraging.

    And I was really happy to see the Stork & Bamboo bowl, which is simple to display on a stand and to thank asafbsh84 for the bowls. I find most CW buyers and sellers to be very friendly. And for those who don’t post outside of the UK, I have great friends in the UK some sellers are gracious enough to send pieces to…and I love these blogs for ideas and contacts and sense of humour.

    So thank you, too, for cheering me up when I lost everything, with your sense of style and humour. Although you will probably diss me for having started with Rouge Royale and still having a thing for the coffee sets! Though I have branched out and became quite eclectic, I could not resist a Rouge coffee set sold in separate sections, Melon design and only 5 cups…but I already had one so I do have 6 after all! lol


    • ebay masterspy says:

      Hello Adam,
      Sorry I didn’t see your post before. It was because it was posted against my introduction article from back in 2010. Well, if you are still checking for my response I just want to say how despicable are your ex landlords!!! It must have felt awful. All that effort amassing a large collection only to have it stolen. At least you are back renewing your CW. Good luck with it.
      All the best

  18. Kerry says:

    I have a little solid soft pink goblet like vase, pale pink with gold trim…..
    On the bottom is Carlton Ware, made in England “trade mark” which is from
    1926- 1980’s In the base of the ware itself is the number 1643 and in black, under the glaze is written Mr 21/1612 then off a bit to the side is 4157. What is this, from when is it made and what’s the pattern. I can’t find it anywhere but it’s very nice…..slight crack formed naturally and spidering of the glaze.
    the bottom

  19. Brian M Smith says:

    Hi as you will know from my ebay address I have been an active buyer for some time.
    I recently purchased the Chinese Bird & Cloud piece and am curious to understand your comments re Face book posts 26th Feb 7th March 4th April.
    I have tried to look on carlton ware posts on facebook but my understanding of how to use facebook is not good so I have been unable to find these posts or what they mean.
    Could I ask for your help

    Kind Regards

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