The Railroad Commissary
Welcome to The Railroad Commissary's
"SP" Gala supplementary information page. Please feel free to send questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org Relevant information, and credits, will be posted.
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"Emerald Green" / "Nogales" / Gala Pattern
Most Gala brand china is backstamped "S.P. Co.", which for years was mistaken for meaning "Southern Pacific Co." It is now known to mean Shenango Potteries Co. – the back stamp does not refer to the Southern Pacific. Later Gala items bear the typical Shenenago Indian Potter backstamp (along with the Gala mark). The so called "Emerald Green" pattern seems to have been an honest mistake, but Gala came in several colors, so some crafty dealers have invented other SP-sounding names to try to legitimatize other colors, most notable calling the tan version "Nogales". There are several other colors of Gala china, including gray, dark blue, and a cranberry color, which have been seen offered as "Southern Pacific" china. Likely, other SP-sounding names will appear for these pieces. The bottom line is that NONE of these Gala pieces were ever railroad china! This same pottery also marked many other patterns with an "S.P.Co." back stamp. Most are frilly, floral patterns on delicate china, but as they would easily tax the credulity of most any railroad china collector, they rarely seem to be offered for sale as Southern Pacific china. Just think twice when you see this backstamp and you will probably come out OK.
The Southern Pacific did mark some china with an "S.P. Co." back stamp (most specifically on Franciscan Daylight patterns, Green Stripes pattern from Warwick, and some very early Imperial), so care should be taken when looking at little known patterns of china. Our best advice is to become familiar with the pattern before you buy.
(this is NOT a RR backstamp – repeat, not Southern Pacific Co.!!)
(dealers that know better are surprisingly often seen selling this as RR china
– don't be their next victim! –
don't they know what such deception does to their reputation!?!)
A similar problem exist in silverware. Several silverplate companies show their names as XXX S.P. Co., which should be read XXX Silver Plate Co. Nonetheless, some try to misrepresent this as Southern Pacific dining car silverware. It is a pretty lame hoax, but it does seem to work more often than not (usually where the buyer must rely on the sellers written description). It is easy enough to spot in person because the purported SP stamping is always part of another name, and usually up on the back of the neck of the piece. A real Southern Pacific stamp would be towards the end of the handle.