Sunday, September 26, 2021

Buying Vintage China

My well-documented china fetish started a long time ago when I was in high school.  As someone who has always had a job, my first job other than mucking stalls and delivering flowers was in a department store working in the china and linen departments.  That's where I first encountered Wedgewood, Aynsley, Lenox, Minton, Noritake, Mottahedeh, Coalport, Johnson Brothers and others.  My friends have never left.  To this day I used some of the knowledge garnered way back when to guide me.  So when I look at vintage china the first thing I look for - who made it?  I am a china snob.  Some brands I just won't ever touch - Rosenthal for one.  I have to like the "feel" of the china.  Quality is king.  

Look on the back of the plate.  The maker's logo should be there and in some cases you can date the china by the marking on back.  If there is no marking, pass. If you want to hang the plate or if you are buying for odds and ends, go for it.  But if you are splurging on an entire set, go for quality.

Some brands I look for other than the ones mentioned above - Haviland, Limoges, Royal Doulton, Ginori, Royal Worchester, and Herend, 

These Spode plates are fabulous.  Looks like they are a Williamsburg collaboration and according to Replacements, Ltd. these are discontinued and were made from 2001 to 2004.  See the Spode logo on the back.

See the logo and the name of the pattern. Not all will have the name of the pattern on the back.

I used to sell this pattern and rarely ever see it, Chinese Tigers by Wedgewood. This is so chic and "in" today.  This was produced from 1984 to 1993. Pair this with white dinner plates and tartan for the holidays:

Lenox is not one of my favorite brands but they make Kate Spade china and most of my Lenox (if not all) is Kate Spade. But I remember this pattern and it was one of my favorites.  Lenox is often more of a beige color than a true white.  Rutledge is lovely:

Another tip - buy only salad plates or dinner plates. I almost always try to find salads and if I can find enough dinner plates I buy those too.  But I don't set a formal table that often anymore so you don't need bread and butter plates or cups and saucers. Bowls are typically expensive. I have some glass bowls that I can use if I need them.  Then you can add to your patterns as you find pieces.  The fun is in creating a new set from scratch too.

Bianca by Wedgewood is another pattern that I love and once sold:

Make sure you get the right sized plates. Years ago they made luncheon plates which are like small dinner plates.  And sometimes the sizes will vary even for salad plates.  The older dinner plates are also smaller than our dinner plates today. I much prefer the smaller ones and they set a prettier table. Clunky and large?  No thanks.

This is another pattern that you may not be aware of - Les Oiseux from Ceralene.  It looks a lot like Herend's Rothchild Birds and it is less expensive.  You can find this pattern out there from time to time. I knew someone who picked this china when she was married in the 80's.  The plates are numbered much like Herend as they are different and you'd want to try and collect all the numbers.

Happy hunting!

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