Saturday, May 9, 2009

Where does all the china go?


Everytime we are faced with selling an estate, more often than not we find large set of 'good' dishes. Many times we are left several sets, mother's, grandmother's and possibly great aunties.

The problem as I see it, is two fold. First of all, today we don't entertain the way we used to. And yes, by we I mean ALL of us, including the individuals whose china we are charged with selling! People have gravitated towards a simpler way of life, with low maintenance entertaining methods, like microwaving and dishwashing. These large sets of dishes usually require special care and certainly cannot withstand the dishwasher.

Secondly, young brides and young people want their OWN patterns. Yes, you might find the odd girl who will cherish Grandmother's set of dishes (will she ever use it is another question all together), but more often than not, the tradition of young brides heading down to Ashley's or Birks to register for a pattern still holds true, and so the older large sets of dishes often sit.

They sit in countless buffets across the country, they sit on tables at antique shows and often, unless they are priced ridiculously reasonably, they sit without interest at estate sales.

The fact is that changing tastes in fashion (dinnerware fashion), and our changing lifestyle make them incredibly hard to sell. No matter HOW much your loved one cherished it. If you feel quilty seeing it go at a fraction of what they paid for it, a good question to ask yourself would be; 'How often did they use it'?

Some interesting facts
• Replacements.com, the world’s largest china replacement service carries over 300,000 patterns by thousands of makers.

• Pricing your china based on prices from replacement services is not accurate. If you want to know what your china is worth, contact them directly and ask them what they would pay you for it.

• Hard to find 19c English transfer ware dinnerware with Canadian related motifs, like beavers and maple leafs command a premium with today’s collectors.

• Patterns with a lot of gold decoration tend to appeal to collectors, and as a very general rule, but more desirable.

• Serving pieces (platters, teapots, gravy boats) and odd pieces (consomm√© bowls, fruit nappies, demitasse cups & saucers) are always more valuable as they were never sold as part of sets but rather were available separately and are therefore rare.

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