How to price antique pitcher & bowl sets

Written by linda stamberger
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How to price antique pitcher & bowl sets
Antique pitcher (porcelain water jug and wash bowl image by Joyce Wilkes from

Antique pitcher and bowl sets are both collectable and historical. An antique pitcher with matching bowl is worth more together, commanding higher prices than if sold individually. You can expect two to three times more when pricing a set. Among those brands that command top dollar are McCoy, Black English Ironstone, Roseville, Frankoma, and Crown Ducal.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Consult price guide books for current market values on antique pitcher and bowl sets. A reputable dealer will generally mark their pieces 10 per cent higher than an item's true worth to give them wiggle room to bargain. If you are selling, you may want to incorporate this tactic into your pricing. This way, if you do get talked down on price, you will still receive your desired amount. You can also use the price fluctuation to your advantage if a person is not overly interested. If you offer to come down on the price, an otherwise disinterested customer may change their mind.

  2. 2

    Look for a mark underneath the pitcher or bowl, sometimes called a "basin." Marked pieces typically fetch more money because it establishes a maker and helps establish the value. Pricing a marked set will be more advantageous for you as a seller.

  3. 3

    Carefully examine your antique pitcher and bowl set. Condition ultimately determines how an antique pitcher and bowl set will be priced. A set in mint condition -- with no chips, crazing, hairline cracks or repaired sections -- will command at least 50 to 75 per cent more than a damaged piece of equal or lesser value. An occasional spot of faded paint is more acceptable than a crack or chip.

  4. 4

    Determine if your set is from a historical time period. Damage is only acceptable when the set is rare, if it was once owned by royalty or a noted historical or pop icon figure, or if it dates from a notable time period, such as 18th century France.

  5. 5

    When in doubt about pricing, visit a local antique dealer who is knowledgeable about pitcher sets and inquire about getting an appraisal. If no one is available, look online at>

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