The Railroad Commissary
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California Poppy Pattern
With but a few exceptions, only the thick, commercial grade, California Poppy pattern china can possibly be railroad china - the standard weight (a.k.a. "thinware") pieces are household china - and very common!
Syracuse produced the thinware pattern long after Santa Fe quit using California Poppy china. It is very profitable to sell these household cast-offs as railroad china, but it can be difficult to discern the difference on-line
- use caution! Even the commercial grade pieces were used by both the Santa Fe and Fred Harvey's "Harvey Houses". While some non-RR backstamped pieces may have been used aboard Santa Fe trains, one can
only be sure of those pieces that bear the Santa Fe Dining Car Service backstamp. Whereas the Santa Fe marked pieces are highly prized amongst AT&SF china collectors, the unmarked commercial grade china is, at best,
filler, and in a railroad china collection, the un-marked, thin domestic pieces are misfires. There are a very few specific thinware items that were used by the Santa Fe, and so marked - the sherbet comes to mind. Beware, there
is a lot of junk California Poppy china out there –- it does not hold much value. Also, remember to see the reproduction advisory.