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Guide to Collecting New vs. Retired & Vintage Limoges Boxes

Guide to Collecting New vs. Retired & Vintage Limoges Boxes
By Vida Cunningham March 8, 2018 No comments

Throughout history, people have enjoyed collecting objects of beauty. Collecting offers plenty of enjoyment for enthusiasts as they hunt for that perfect piece before lovingly displaying and sharing it so their loved ones can admire it. Vintage Limoges boxes are one popular and prized object to collect.

European nobility originally collected these small boxes during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, today anyone who enjoys collecting fine pieces of art can start searching for their own favorite pieces. If you're thinking about starting a collection, you have your choice of new or vintage Limoges boxes. Discover the differences between the two, and start your collection today.

Collecting Limoges boxes: New vs. Retired & Vintage Limoges Boxes

Collecting opens a world of adventure for the enthusiast. Objects of beauty have been collected and enjoyed by people of every culture, age and background throughout time. Such prized possessions are lovingly displayed by collectors to be admired and to share with loved ones.

Among the top prized objects to collect are French hand-painted Limoges boxes. Originally collected by the European nobility who were the only ones that could afford such extravagant objects of beauty in the 1700-1800s, Limoges boxes have been greatly admired and collected by anyone who enjoys the finer things in life. Since the mid 20 th century, collecting Limoges boxes has become a favorite pastime for a wide variety of collectors in the United States, and the numbers continue to grow.

Magnificent Birds and Bees Limoges box by Beauchamp

When it comes to collecting Limoges boxes, tastes and preferences vary dramatically. Collectors collect Limoges boxes that match their taste or the sentiments that come from collecting. Many collectors like to collect Limoges boxes by theme – for example memorializing places where they have traveled to, animals they love, culinary interests, sports or gardening, just to mention a few. Others like to collect one style or various styles in small groupings in a variety of interest areas.

Some collectors prefer to collect only retired Limoges boxes, as they are harder to find and add a one-of-a-kind level of interest to their collection. Others like to collect the latest creations and/or exclusive Limoges boxes that are the newest creations out of Limoges, France.

Whichever is your preference, here are some reasons why both retired and new Limoges boxes are so wonderful to collect.

Before discussing collecting retired Limoges boxes, let’s clarify a few points about what is considered a “retired” Limoges box.

What is a retired Limoges box ?

There is a great variety of retired Limoges boxes available in the market today. Most are from the later part of the 20th century. There are various factors for a Limoges box to be considered retired. The following are a few of them:

Limited Edition

Many Limoges boxes are produced in specific shapes with specific coloring combination under a limited edition. The limited edition could be from a low number, such as 20 or 50 to larger numbers, such as 500, 750 or 1,000. When the last Limoges box in that grouping is created, that specific style becomes retired and that specific shape/color combination is no longer produced. Of course, the same shape can be produced by the same artist or studio or other studios with different coloring .

The mold is retired

Some molds are used to produce a certain number of Limoges boxes. Once the full number is reached, the mold is retired and that shape and style is no longer produced.

The artist or studio is no longer producing

There have been many artists and studios in Limoges, France that have ended their production of Limoges porcelain. Some artists have retired, closed their factory or workshop and are no longer working in the industry. The Limoges boxes with the mark of such artists or studios are then considered retired.

Collecting Retired Limoges boxes

As you may know, all Limoges boxes are made to order and when produced are made in relatively small quantities. Whether or not a Limoges box is marked “Limited Edition”, all Limoges boxes are made in limited editions, and some in very low quantities. Such pieces, when retired, are of great interest to serious collectors.

Retired Bingo Cards Limoges Box

Every Limoges box is crafted and hand-painted individually. This is one of the most outstanding reasons for the great collectibility of the Limoges box as no two are the same. Most retired Limoges boxes are greatly coveted as they are quite hard to find. Collectors are willing to spend great sums for styles produced by some of the best Limoges producers or certain collections such as the “Disney Collection” that have now become quite rare and greatly sought after. At, we are proud to offer the largest selection of the now rare Disney Limoges Boxes as well as many other rare and retired Limoges boxes.

Collecting New Limoges boxes

The Limoges porcelain industry is a point of great pride for the French people. As the number of artisans and studios in Limoges has decreased in the recent decades, the remaining master artisans and studios who continue this time-honored tradition and produce this fantastic art form are considered producers of “Rare France Crafts” and are registered by the French government as such. Today, there are a very small number of seasoned artisans working at factories or independently in their own studios.

As the quality and workmanship of the artistry of Limoges has caused only the very best artists to remain in business, many of today’s Limoges boxes are among the highest quality ever produced. The collections offered by the top importers into the United States such as Rochard and Beauchamp, are hand-selected styles of the highest quality.

Many of the Limoges boxes produced today are of museum quality and truly equal those on display in various palaces and museums in France and throughout Europe.

Unicorn Exclusive Limoges Box by Beauchamp

Collectors who enjoy collecting the newly created Limoges boxes, can enjoy finding the latest and best creations coming out of Limoges, France. New styles and shapes continue to emerge from the most artistic creators of Limoges boxes in Limoges to further delight Limoges collectors and gift shoppers.

Collecting Limoges boxes as an investment

Collecting Limoges boxes not only serves as a hobby and a coveted pastime, but these treasure boxes also serve as an investment. Due to the fact that Limoges boxes are exquisite art pieces and are individually crafted in small quantities, their value continues to increase. Some of the rarer styles of Limoges boxes have doubled, tripled or quadrupled in value in the past few decades.

Mickey Mouse Watch Retired Limoges Box

Collect Limoges boxes that please you the most

So whether you prefer collecting retired and harder to find Limoges boxes or enjoy collecting the latest pieces produced by the artisans in Limoges, each Limoges box added to your collection brings great pleasure. Displaying your treasured collection provides great interest for your own enjoyment and all those who visit your home.

J. Paul Getty, the founder of the museum by his namesake in Malibu, California, wrote about the love of collecting: “the romance and zest – the excitement, suspense, thrills and triumphs – that make art collecting one of the most exhilarating and satisfying of all human endeavors.”

Limoges Collection Display Case Limoges Box

At, we are excited to offer collectors and gift shoppers a fantastic and ever-increasing selection of the finest French Limoges boxes. Our retired selection includes numerous one-of-a-kind and hard-to-find pieces that are hard to resist by any collector.

As direct importers of French porcelain boxes, we are pleased to offer the very best and latest styles of Limoges boxes by the top artisans in Limoges, France. Our selection includes many exclusive styles only offered at