An artist may decide that the decorative plate he has created will only be duplicated for a certain number of days. After that time--usually 60 to 90 days--the item is considered a retired piece. Once an item is retired the mould is destroyed and it will never be made again. Each piece created is numbered for identification. The Bradford Exchange is a major distributor of decorative plates and other collectibles.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Research the items created by a particular artist or as in this case by the distributor, which is Bradford Exchange. Do this online and at libraries. The Bradford Exchange website features links to retired plates. Most of the items offered by the Exchange are exclusive and are not available elsewhere, so they may only be found on the second hand market. Items that were fired or created for a lesser number of days will command higher prices in both markets. The Bradford Exchange also distributes free catalogues of its offerings.
Call gift shops in your local area. Before beginning the search make sure you know the name of the plate, who the artist was and what year it was produced. This will make your search much easier. Some of the more popular plates are the nostalgic ones done by Norman Rockwell.
Call or visit antique and second-hand shops. Many of these shops carry newer items that are considered collectable along with the older items. Have a good idea of what the plate might cost before deciding on a purchase and try to purchase a plate that has the original authenticity papers.
Check the local classified ads in newspapers and weekly publications that have listings for sale from the public. Retired plates are sometimes listed for sale by private owners. You can also place classified ads indicating the name of the plate you would like to purchase.
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