Collecting Antique Plates – Antique Dishes to Collect

Antique plates can add whimsy, draw attention and refine your interior decorating. They can vary from the very attractive to ugly and often come with rich stories. They make excellent tableware and displays and can become items of genuine value to sell at any time.

The most effective way to know antique dishes worth is by locating the mark from the maker and discovering if that maker is well sought after. The maker’s mark is a unique stamp, trademark, and a date. It can have one of these or all three.

The maker’s mark is commonly situated on the base and can help you to identify who manufactured the piece, the period and even the location of the factory. Sadly, with all the replicas about, your maker’s mark may read “made in China” and not some famous factory.

Marks have at times includes stamps with words or names such as CJ Mason & Co., M Mason, Fenton Stone Works, or Lane Delph. Other manufacturers used markings with crowns or a coat of arms.

A common pitfall made by many collectors when antique dish shopping is the misguided connection between ‘age’ and ‘value’. Because a dish has age and may be fifty or more years old, doesn’t necessarily increase its value. Collectible plates are usually china dinnerware that is over twenty years old but other things like the year, manufacturer and even designer all contribute to the piece’s resale value.

Strangely, imperfections on antique bone china should not trouble you. In some cases it might even add to the value as an even more rare and collectible piece.

What is important is the state of your piece; is it seriously discolored, cracked or stained? Do not buy a piece in this condition no matter what price or manufacturer are attached to the piece.

Check the designs. Are they stamped, hand-painted or a combination of both? Stamped designs became popular after the 1900s. In the end you are looking for a pattern that is striking from a distance and one that compliments your decor and the elegance of your room.

If you’re interested in the pieces aesthetics and not necessarily interested in the resale value, then you should collect what ever strikes your sense of decor and your pocket. But if you are a serial collector then researching various markets, stores, and online will become your main play areas.

Fine China usually increases in value over time, as do dishes and other pieces that were manufactured in smaller volumes. Never presume an aged bowl is priceless, continually research the internet or through an appraiser.

Bone China while in the same family as porcelain, is more translucent. It may appear fragile but is in fact very strong.

During the Victorian era, the famous blue willow china became one of the most popular patterns to collect. It was so popular, that even fifty years later, stories about willow china still exist in children’s literature.

Another popular Staffordshire pottery was Spode founded by Joshua Spode and credited withe perfecting the formula of fine bone china.

There are many more antique plate names worth collecting; some names you will know like Wedgewood and Minton others like Moorcroft or tetsubin you will learn about as you go along.

Don’t expect to find the dishes you’re looking for all in the one place or at the same time. You must research, scour and investigate every avenue until you find the right dish style you’re looking for – and at the right price – to add to your antique dishes collection.