I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on the meaning of printed numeric back marks such as the one seen in the maker's mark of William Adams "Columbia". In the TCC database, please see "Columbia" #01 in blue as an example. Some of the Adams' "Columbia" have a numeric printed mark while others do not. I recall seeing this on other patterns by other manufacturers as well ("Sydenham" by J. Clementson for example). The example in the TCC database happens to have the numeric mark inside the maker's mark but this is not always the case. I thought that this might refer to a particular design within a pattern that uses a variety of central designs but found two different designs within the "Sydenham" pattern that have the number 16 on the back. Just off the top of my head, it seems that the numbers are low denomination single or double digit numbers. Would the mark refer to a quality inspector, the person doing the transfer work, marked for a specific retailer, etc? Any insight/explanation much appreciated.
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