As with any antique, the value of antique Noritake china is based first and foremost on what a buyer is willing to pay. The condition and rarity of the pieces, their markings and date of manufacture all play an important part in determining the value of the china.
Noritake china began in 1904, in the village of Noritake, Japan, an area rich in clay. China needs to be at least 100 years old to be considered antique rather than vintage, according the US Customs Service. Markings on the pieces can help determine its age. Older china was made with an imprint on the back, called a back stamp, rather than information printed or painted on the surface.
The earliest back stamps for Noritake china were recorded in 1908, for pieces meant for use in Japan. Its popularity quickly grew, and by 1911 the china was sold widely in department stores, used by the Japanese navy and even by the Emperor. Noritake began making china for export beginning in 1910, and the first back stamp in the United States was registered in 1911, although the china was not exported to the United States until 1914. The back stamps of early pieces include the letter "M" in a red wreath and the words "hand painted," although this back stamp was used until 1940.