Antique plates, especially china, can be quite valuable. You can find out the value of your antique plates by conducting research and working with a professional appraiser. In some cases, you could make hundreds or thousands of dollars selling your plates to an auction house or antiques dealer.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Digital camera
- Pricing guide
- Appraiser contact information
Examine your antique plates carefully. Note any signatures or markings (usually found on the back of the plate). These markings often indicate the manufacturer and the date and place of manufacture. Check the plates for imperfections, like cracks, stains, chips and scratches. Photograph both the front and back of each plate. Take a closeup shot of the marking.
Inventory the plates you have within a given collection. Many collectors are only looking for a complete set, though sometimes they may need a specific plate to round out their own collection.
Assess whether any of your plates are replacements or reproductions. Consult an expert or fellow collector for advice if you are unsure. Sometimes the marking on the plate will indicate whether it is a reproduction or not. Reproductions are always worth significantly less than originals.
Search online for the manufacturer of your antique plates to find an approximate value. Nearly all plates produced after the late 1800s have markings that show where and by whom the plate was made, but with older plates this may not be the case. Replacements, Ltd. (see resources) is a good place to start. They have an extensive database listing various dishware and china manufacturers with approximate values placed on individual pieces and sets. Also, if the manufacturer is still in business you can check out their official website for estimates.
Contact a reputable appraiser to value your antique plates, preferably one with lots of antique plate experience. Expect to pay between £26 and £65 for a professional appraisal. Ask other reputable appraisers for a second or third opinion until you are comfortable with the approximate appraisal of your plates.
Tips and warnings
- Keep antique plates in a safe, dry place away from direct sunlight. Keep them out of reach from small children, pets and other potential harm.
- Clean your plate regularly using mild dish detergent and a soft cloth.
- Make sure your appraiser is accredited by the National Appraisers Association.
- Don't use an appraiser to whom you plan to sell the plates, to avoid conflict of interest. For the same reason, don't agree to pay a percentage of the quoted price for the appraisal.
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