White House China has a long and interesting history, with unique points of interest from each issue that was ordered by various events. Most of the Madison collection was burned or destroyed, former First Lady Laura Bush has the record for the most money spent on China during George W Bush's presidency, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan received criticism for the amount of money spent on their 1982 WHC.
Nancy and Ronald Reagan, after close study, chose a scarlet red porcelain dinner plate (white in the center, red on the outer portion) with presidential arms in the center, for their White House China (WHC). Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, one the top two collectors of WHC in the United States, has obtained several pieces from this collection. Other pieces exist within various families and within various museums throughout the United States.
The Reagan China arrived in 1982 after being selected to be manufactured by Lenox, of Trenton, New Jersey. With only one exception, The Lyndon B. Johnson's China, Lenox has since then been chosen as the official supplier since Woodrow Wilson's beautiful Lenox China pattern in 1918.
The scarlet red color was selected specifically by First Lady Nancy Reagan; in part for her fondness for the color red. Additionally, scarlet provided a bright accent to the white paneled walls as well as the gilded amenities of the White House State Dining Room. Mrs. Reagan personally approved the sketches for each and every piece, even making the final decision about how the golden ribbed banding should be appropriately applied.
The gorgeous presidential arms, in the dramatic center of the service plate, was hand-applied in raised gold paste. An unheard of 40 separate handlings; and an equally unheard of 9 separate gilt firings were required to create this magnificent historic example. The Ronald and Nancy Reagan China, for 220 people, came in at a cost of $ 210,399.00. However unfairly, some members of the press had a field day with this. There must have been little other news for them to report because some weighed in heavily on the Reagans over this cost. Although there was media criticism of this, it is interesting to note that the China was actually paid for by contributions from friends of the President and First Lady.
Historically speaking, sometimes no other First Family ever left such an appealing selection of Official White House China for permanent use than Nancy and Ronald Reagan.