No Market for China Anymore? Advice Needed

leafy02June 13, 2012

My friend's mother is downsizing and ready to part with her mother's formal dinnerware. Unfortunately, it isn't a highly sought-after pattern because it was purchased in Italy during the early 1940s. Richard Ginori is the brand, not sure of the pattern name so I am including a photo.

Anyway, she lives in a rural area where there is no demand and antique/resale shops don't want it. She is hoping for any advice or ideas about where she might be able to sell it. She's not trying to get rich, but I think she'd like it to go to someone who really will treasure it and does not want to just leave it at Goodwill. It is a full service for 8 with platters, gravy boat, etc.

Any ideas for her?

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Perhaps donate it to an upscale thrift shop were something like this is treasured. Our community hospice runs such a store. They only take nice things. It's much nicer than a Goodwill. She could take the tax write off.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:37PM
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There's still a market however much depends on the pattern and what they are hawking as being in, in the decorator magazines.

I think her best chance of selling it is to take it to a consignment shop near a larger city.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:43PM
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She can see what might offer her....although I know they never pay very much. (I've been told they offer 1/3 of what they hope to sell it for).

or she can try selling it on ebay.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:46PM
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If you can find the pattern name, you can look to see if any has sold on eBay lately by looking at the advanced search completed listings. Also, you can see what Replacements is selling the pattern for which is usually about three times what someone will pay on eBay unless it is some highly sought after and scarce pattern.

Just looking at the picture, I would say that the pattern won't have wide appeal right now, but would be very sweet in a cottage style home.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 3:47PM
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"I think she'd like it to go to someone who really will treasure it and does not want to just leave it at Goodwill."

I know many who treasure what they buy at Goodwill.
If they didn't, they wouldn't buy it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 5:13PM
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The china market is very depressed right now. Lots of people are selling china sets because they need the money, and it is something most people never use and certainly don't need.

There is still a market. I have bought 3 sets of china this year. Some people just never can have enough.

Craigslist or ebay are good places to sell.

Here are some plates that are similar to your friends. Although, I believe these to be overpriced.

Here is a link that might be useful: ebay china

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:22PM
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If your friend doesn't want her mother's china, perhaps another relative will. If no takers in the family, then she might be able to get a hundred dollars or so for the whole set from an antique dealer, and that's about it. Fine china, china cabinets, and dining rooms, are going the way of the dodo. Casual living (and dining) has overtaken the American way of life.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Hmm. The antiques shows I visited this summer seemed to be doing a decent business in patterns that were a lot less charming than that one.

A consignment shop is probably your best bet. Find one in your nearest decent-sized urban areas and ask if you can email a picture.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:27PM
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There was a consignment shop near me that used to charge 30-40% of the sale price. I've seen china on these days. I know someone who sold her old china to Replacements, Ltd. I think she had to pay to pack and ship it to them. If you sold the china on ebay or etsy, at least the buyer would pay those costs.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:03AM
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I agree with LuAnn_in_PA re: Goodwill. Someone who can't afford to spend a lot of money (or any $) on "good china" might be very excited to find a set at Goodwill and might treasure them as a very special "find."

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:14AM
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That's very pretty. Italian, you say? Hmmmm....what does she want for it? I've got a serious weakness for Italian pottery...china just might slide into that heading. lol

Have no idea where to put it, but when has that ever stopped me from shopping....?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:48PM
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I think it is beautiful. Here in the south we still use fine china, not everyday but several times a month. My children always love when we eat in the formal dining room and use real crystal and china. Nothing better than juice in a waterford crystal wine glass when you are little!! I don't know where she lives and that may affect her price. I would certainly be interested in a complete set. My girls already discuss what set they will be getting upon my demise, hopefully not for many more years.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Thank you all for the advice and feedback! I will pass it on. I think maybe she should try antique shops in the city.

Oh, and note, I don't mean to imply that people don't treasure what they buy at Goodwill -- I shop there and will fight to the death over a few of my finds -- just that when you donate, you have no idea where it goes or whether it makes it back out of the shop intact, etc.

I think she feels protective of it b/c she brought it over from Italy and kept it together/intact all these years. Also, she now finds herself on a limited and fixed income so she no doubts has hopes of selling it if possible.

Happyintexas or Lebwhite, if you are interested in her china, let me know and I'll put you in touch with her. If that's not a violation of GW rules?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:11PM
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"She's not trying to get rich, but I think she'd like it to go to someone who really will treasure it and does not want to just leave it at Goodwill. It is a full service for 8 with platters, gravy boat, etc."

Leafy, I'm feeling crabby today-fair warning!

I always get a bit impatient at this kind of attitude because the bottom line is SHE DOESN'T WANT IT EITHER. Having read some pop psychology :), I'm familiar with the mindset that any possession is intrinsically viewed as having value simply due to one's ownership. It does seem to apply here. I mean, if this was such a wonderful treasure wouldn't she just keep the china herself? And if she is downsizing and deciding she doesn't treasure it enough to keep, then who cares what happens to it?

I find this such a frustrating attitude, and I am guilty of it myself. The whole 'it's too good to throw out' or 'someone should value it since it's so special--just not me' or 'there's plenty of use left' or 'it cost X, I can't just give it away'. Arrghhhhh...source of way, way too much clutter and useless stuff piled up in our homes.

Ok, taking my crabby bad self offline now. Hope I didn't offend everyone too badly.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:35PM
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No problem with me, Runninginplace! I often feel the same way when friends explain to me why they live with clutter "because it will be worth money some day". Or even worse, the folks on my local Craigslist who seem to think that sofas appreciate in value like fine wines, and because they paid $$ for it three years ago, I should pay the same $$ now that they are done with it! Ha.

At the same time, if something does have a resale value, I don't blame people for trying to get it. I have sold literally tons of stuff on CL. If I wanted to get rid of my perfectly functional car, I would sell it, not donate it.

I think (as other posters have mentioned) that china like hers DOES have a resale value, though not as large a one as may have existed in the past, and perhaps not in her rural area. If she can sell it, I don't see why she should not. And I've been to her home--nothing could be less cluttered. She's downsizing from "hardly anything" to "Spartan" and as for many folks, the sentimental stuff is the last to go.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Replacements Ltd would be a good place to start. They aren't being cheap...they have to cover their overhead. Or she could sell it on Ebay--but Etsy might be a better idea. Lots of folks looking for vintage stuff on Etsy and it only costs .20/item to list. She might want to break up the set and sell it piecemeal. Once an item is sold one pays Etsy a fee...I think it's 3.25% of the sale. One can set it up so that the seller pays shipping...and that doesn't get included in the 3.25%.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 4:06PM
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What is the marking on the back of the plate? If it is Prod. Ginori 1824, the pattern is Fleurs Par Donnibarozopi. It may very well be highly sought after. I suggest that you photograph the back side as well as the front and email the photos to Replacements, Ltd. They are very good at identifying patterns.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 5:22PM
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I absolutely understand wanting someone to love an item that was once loved. Sorry to be a sap but in our family aunt so and so's china is special because it was hers and we live on property that has been in our family for over 150 years and intend to keep forever. I have my great aunts china, one of my daughters will get it one day, though they never met her, they have been taught that history and special items should be preserved. I also have the space to store, display items that others in smaller, newer homes may not have. Holidays at our house are still done in the formal dining room and we have a more formal although still comfortable living room. If she wants to sell to a person here is my contact info lebwhite at aol dot com. Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 6:09PM
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I really appreciate your having asked this question, leafy. Sometime soon I will have to decide what to do with my mom's several china sets. One of them is a Limoge porcelain that belonged to Mom's great aunt. Mom was 93 when she passed away a few months ago, so I'm prepared to be impressed by exactly how old that set is. Another is a Spode earthenware pattern that once belonged to my dad's mother. Always so hard to decide what to do with things that had sentimental value to parents' now gone, so I'm glad to see these suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 12:35PM
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I also think it is lovely and I completely understand her feelings. I hope she can find a place to sell it. I have my own good 'wedding' china, plus sets from my grandmother and mother. My son and his sweetie don't have room to store much at this point, so I am holding on to it all. Are there any young granddaughters or nieces who might be getting married soon to whom she could give it? If she needs to sell it, then a consignment, thrift, or antique store might be the way to go. Someone will surely be thrilled to discover such a complete and beautiful set.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 6:10PM
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I have my own wedding settings for 12...or I'd be interested. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 6:18PM
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