Fairylite Foreign Cup of Knowledge Green Plain

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Fairylite Foreign

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Fairylite Foreign Cup of Knowledge

A Fairylite Foreign cup and saucer copy made in Japan
Interior of the Fairylite Foreign teacup
Fairylite Foreign saucer
Fairylite Foreign backstamp
Original boxed set of Fairylite Foreign cup, saucer, and illegal copy of the Aynsley instruction booklet

Fairylite was a British importer of Asian-made novelties during the post World War Two era. They dealt in paper goods, playing cards, toys, and other small gift and game products. Depending on the nature of the merchandise, these items are either marked "Fairylite Foreign" or "Fairylite Empire Made."

Fairylite fortune telling tea cups were made in Japan for export to Great Britain during the 1950s, and the pieces were marked "Foreign," to signify non-English origin. The Cup of Knowledge made by Fairylite was an illegal knock-off or patent infringement of the original Cup of Knowledge pattern from England. Specifically, this cup is a close copy of the Aynsley Mint Green Cup of Knowledge.

This Japanese Cup pf Knowledge is a cartomancy cup that is, except for its packaging, virtually identical to the Unmarked and B. Shackman cup sets Made in Japan suring the same era. It was manufactured by the same (as yet unidentified) Japanese pottery that manufactured the Fairylite Foreign Cup of Knowledge Plain Green for export to England, with a copy of the Aynsley instruction booklet; the B. Shackman Cup of Knowledge, which was also accompanied by a copy of the Aynsley instruction booklet; and the Unmarked Green Japanese Cup of Knowledge that came with its own different and unique instruction booklet.

Here's how to tell the Fairylite set apart from others:

  • Pieces are backstamped "Fairylite Foreign" rather than "Aynsley" or being left with a paper sticker or no backstamp. British law at the time required the "Foreign" backstamp under the glaze, while the United States, where B. Shackman only insisted upon a paper label, and once the label the label was washed off, there was no visible backstamp at all. Thus all of the sets marked "Fairlyite Foreign" went to Great Britain and all of those with paper labels, many of with now present as unmarked, went to the United States.


catherine yronwode
curator, historian, and docent
The Mystic Tea Room

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