Q: I found a large platter in my basement. I don’t know where it came from. It’s white with a thin decorative border and the letters “U.S.L.H.S.” at the top. It is 13 by 19 1/2 inches and is marked on the back “James M. Shaw & Co., New York.” There’s also a second mark I can’t make out. Any information would be appreciated.
A: The initials on your platter stand for the United States Lighthouse Service, which was formed in 1910. It merged with the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. The Lighthouse Service maintained all the lighthouses in the United States. Three different patterns of dinnerware were made for the Lighthouse Service, each by a different manufacturer. Your platter is in one of the first two patterns made. The mark you can’t read is probably the manufacturer’s mark. James M. Shaw & Co. was a New York City distributor that was bought by Nathan Straus in 1936. So your plate was probably made between 1910 and 1936. Value: about $1,000 because it was made for the Lighthouse Service.