How to Date Your Vintage Ceramics | Finders Keepers Antique Mall
How to Date Your Vintage Ceramics If there is no crazing (tiny hairline irregular cracks in the glaze) whatsoever, that should be a red flag. While I have appraised and authenticated pieces of pottery dating as far back as The term "craze proof" which meant that the piece would resist forming that. pottery. It is wise to avoid and eliminate crazing whenever possible in order to produce a better product. .. Release Date:
Does Crazing Affect the Stability of a Piece? Technically crazing is considered a defect in the glaze and can weaken the item. It may also harbor bacteria. So if you are buying pieces to use for serving food you should look for uncrazed pieces.
Can I Remove Crazing? No, but you can try to remove the matter that has settled into these fine craze lines that makes them visible. The discoloration is caused by a combination of moisture that can penetrate these lines combined with organic matter such as coffee, tea, oil, food, dust, etc. It sits between the lines or in the clay under the glaze so cannot be removed by scrubbing the surface.
But if you are a collector for your own personal enjoyment then it just depends on how you feel about worth and crazing. Now if you are a collector and you want to insure your collection then a professional appraiser will most likely take crazing into account when giving you an insurance value.
So how do you feel about crazing? Do you like it? Personally, I think the crazing is beautiful. I am drawn to white pieces that have extensive crazing and staining as you can see from the pieces I've shown here! Among the zebra-print patterns, Zambesi, zebrette and Beswick are expensive, but pieces from Arthur Wood, Kelsboro Ware and Sadler are still quite cheap at the time of writing, despite being relatively scarce.
Plasticware never really caught on, except among caravan owners and picnic-goers, and my guess is that much of the production ended up on the junk heap when houses were cleared, because people thought it was worthless. Should I buy when prices are rising fast? Graph of imaginary ceramics prices over 20 years. The 'long' investor - including the average collector - is happy to buy anytime A, B or C because they will always make a profit in the long run at Dif the long term trend is indeed upwards, as shown here it may not be, of course.
However, a 'short' investor, including most antiques dealers, want to buy and sell quickly. Therefore they will not buy when the market is overvalued at B because they will lose money in the next few months C. Instead, the short investor, or dealer, prefers to buy at A and sell at B.
Maybe Troika, Zambesi, home maker and Whitefriars are currently overvalued at B, for example. Their prices may therefore decline in the short run. But over the long term, people who are buying Troika or Whitefriars right now may be betting that they will arrive at D over the long run.
There is no guarantee that this is true, however, and B may in fact represent a high that is never reached again. Nobody can predict the markets, unfortunately. Warren Buffet makes billions by investing in boring, unsexy companies e. One might also do this with ceramics, by identifying a line that nobody else is buying right now. Collecting for investment - my personal opinions The opinions below are only my own personal thoughts and should NOT be taken as investment advice. I am not an investment professional, and my opinions may well be wrong!
According to the Stanley Gibbons website, the collectables market is a good investment because the over 50s population is increasing, and older people tend to invest their disposable income in childhood hobbies. Investing in antiques, art and collectibles is considered by financial advisers to be high risk, potentially high return, and requiring high expertise.
One financial expert has said that post-war design is one of the last areas of art investing where value and the potential for growth can still be found. But predicting the future is a risky game. Value investment style in the stock market, these are companies that are currently cheap relative to future earnings Growth investment style in stock market terms, these are companies that are widely recognised as showing strong growth prospects Approach: Buy when prices are low, as when certain styles or factories are unloved or undiscovered; or when a particular range is extremely common e.
Hornsea heirloom ; or when prices are generally low Approach: Tangible assets Collectables can be a good hedge against inflation, and even stock market crashes: Such 'touchable' things are called tangible assets, in contrast to paper assets such as stocks and bonds. The big disadvantages of tangible assets is that they can sometimes be illiquid, meaning that it can take time and trouble to convert them into cash in an emergency.
After all, you have to organise an auction to sell your collectables, or spend time and effort listing them on eBay. It is very difficult to get rich quick, and generally realising this dream requires you to take very high levels of risk with your precious money. Collectibles do not offer risk-free return by any means. It is always possible that they will fall in value - and they often do. Collectibles, therefore, are risky.
Most people who want to take some risk, and have a long investment horizon many yearswill be better off in the stock market.
However, people were scared away from the stock market by the stock market crash that began in and wiped half or more off the value of global stocks.
So, alternative investments such as collectibles are popular now as a way of diversifying away from the risky stock market. But in my opinion, it is unwise to sink all your cash into collectibles. And if you are worried about your short term financial future, you should invest a healthy chunk of your nest egg in safer, low-yielding assets such as investment-grade bonds - or even a good old fashioned savings account.
Don't forget though that nothing is safe see below and even 'safe' savings accounts can lose you money - because they give low interest and therefore leave your savings vulnerable to being eaten away by tax and inflation. Here are some other personal opinions of mine: By contrast, timeless patterns, such as floral decoration or landscapes, can be less commercial. If one goes out of fashion, some of the others may grow - classics from famous factories, such as Poole freeforms and Carlton Ware Guinness toucans, are always likely to be sought-after but there's no guarantee - pieces that can be collected for their style, and used in the home, such as complete coffee sets, or sets of dinner plates, have a double advantage when it comes to reselling - quality: However, this is only true if the item really looks like an ashtray e.
In fact, little dishes can be very collectable because they can be cheap, decorative and don't take up much space. Plain black items tend to be less popular than coloured or patterned ones, possibly because they remind people of death although black can, of course, be very sleek and cool.
So there is little point in buying modern stuff now in the hope that it will appreciate in your lifetime. Take s Midwinter, for example. People who were collecting in the s would have regarded s Midwinter as being modern enough to lack antique value, but old enough to look dated and out of fashion.
In this respect, they scored a double-negative, and large quantities ended up being thrown out. By the 80s and 90s, however, people started to take an interest in fifties Midwinter, because they had become antiques and because fifties style was becoming appreciated again.
When this happened, prices rose sharply and there is now a danger that they are overvalued. Summary and Conclusions Ceramics and collectibles are an alternative investment that can form a part of your nest egg, but should certainly not account for all of your savings. Never start investing until you have paid your debts and saved up a cash reserve for future emergencies - if you are lucky enough to have any spare cash in the first place.
Only buy things that you really like. Be prepared for the possibility that you may lose money, especially if you buy at the peak of the market as most people do, unfortunately.
Crazing - Wikipedia
Do not rush to buy things when prices are rising unless you really like the objects, and would buy them anyway. Always go for quality pieces in good condition, and at a reasonable price. Try to diversify by buying different styles and factories. LNRC back to contents Remember the old adage: Apart from condition, the main factors in valuation are rarity, factory, style, shape, pattern, colour, and the quality of design and manufacture.
I would go further and boil these factors down to four key issues: LNRC in no particular order of importance: Looks does it look attractive and desirable, in terms of shape, colour and decoration? Name is it made by a well-known factory or is it associated with a respected designer?
Rarity is it very scarce or very common, or somewhere in between? Condition is it undamaged and free from wear or crazing? You need to score on at least 3 of these, and preferably all 4, to have a valuable piece. A rare piece from a good factory may be worthless if it is ugly and damaged.
But if it is attractive too, the damage may not hold it back too badly. Something with a good name, in mint condition and which looks superb may still be valuable even if it is not very rare. Homemaker and Troika are common, but can nonethless can fetch good prices. Rarity and Condition are pretty much enduring qualities, but ideas about what Looks good, and even what constitutes a good Name, are fickle, and can be dicated by changing fashion and personal taste.
The completeness of a group is another value factor: Do the pieces belong together, or do subtle colour differences indicate that the set has been put together by the seller from different sources? Most important of all is personal taste: Does it really sum-up the style of an era?
Does it look good on display? Is it in good state? Pieces with no backstamp may be difficult to sell.
With estate agents, it is 'location, location, location', but with ceramics collectors it is 'condition, condition, condition'. The sad truth is that ceramics are easily damaged, and even have a self-destruct mechanism called 'crazing'. Tableware is also subject to wear-and-tear through daily use.
A further valuation issue are the imperfections left in manufacture, such as firing marks although some collectors are not bothered by these if they do not spoil the appearance. Sellers have a duty to disclose all damage, manufacturing faults and crazing in their descriptions to buyers, because they affect the value.
This duty is not always met by Internet sellers. A note on price volatility. My guess is that it means the number of collectors for that item is small but passionate. If there is a large pool of collectors, then you would tend to get more stable prices, because they will be averaged out over many buyers. Another factor is the flushing of birds out from the undergrowth.
When a particular piece surprises everyone and sells for a large sum on eBay because one collector really wanted itother people see an opportunity to sell their thing at the same high price. So, one or more identical hopefuls appear on ebay. But the big spender has already spent, and the second-wave pieces don't make the same high price as the first.
Dating ceramics back to contents Midwinter, Lord Nelson and Empire Ware often carry what appears to be a date code, e.
In preparing this website, I have assumed that the last two digits indicate the year of manufacture in this example, Mould numbers may be dated by checking in a standard reference work; see reference list on the books page for examples.
The same applies to the style of the backstamp, which was changed periodically by the manufacturer. The style, colouring and pattern of the piece may date it to within a few years see Style Finder. However, as early asa Canadian rep was asking Broadhurst to add the words 'dishwasher safe' to their ranges according to Casey, 20th Century Ceramic Designers in Britain; p. They are of vital importance for identifying and dating items, because they were changed over the years. Impressed numbers indicate the body number, and can yield a date if records from the factory have survived.
A splash of coloured paint is the paintresses mark, and she rarely he may have painted their initials or code as well. Many ranges, including Holmegaard glass, Beswick Ware, Wade and Tigo Ware, would have had a small sticker now usually missing. Seconds Pieces with minor imperfection were sold by the factory sometimes in their own factory shop as discounted "seconds".
To preserve their reputation for quality, the factory would often disfigure the backstamp on seconds by gouging or drilling into the body, as with this drilled Crown Ducal example below.
This Crown Ducal backstamp left on a s piece from the Arizona range, has been drilled to create a shallow pit in the centre see detail, right. This indicates that it is a "second". This is quite normal, and can lead to misidentification when the salt and pepper are separated from their marked companions.
Occasionally, the backstamp TIGO is seen. Pieces of Tigo Ware very occasionally appear on eBay without any appropriate keywords because the seller doesn't realise what it is. So somebody gets a bargain there if their conscience permits them to bid! For marks on Dutch pottery, see http: Crazing cannot be removed, and is caused by different rates of expansion in the glaze and body, respectively, when the temperature changes. Quite literally, the glaze cracks like a sheet of thin glass which is what it is, in fact as it is stressed by the expansion or contraction of the underlying pot.
Crazing is less likely if the pottery is skilled enough to use a body and glaze with similar thermal expansion coefficients i. Thermal shocks can cause crazing, as with the inside of teapots exposed to boiling water. Crazing can develop if ceramics are stored in a cupboard near the central heating boiler, or in a shed where they are exposed to extremes of temperature in winter and summer.
Crazing can trap bacteria, and so it is a problem if you are going to eat from the piece. By no means all ceramics develop crazing, but some wares are more prone to it than others some early Hornsea slipware is particularly difficult to find in uncrazed state. Unlike cracks in the ceramic body, crazing lines do not pass through from one side of the piece to the other. Crazing may not be visible in weak light, but always shows up under strong, raking light.
Pieces should be tilted under a bright lamp or in a beam of strong sunlight entering a window into a shady room.
How to Date Your Vintage Ceramics
Crazing does reduce the value of a piece, although many collectors will tolerate crazing on rare pieces. Furthermore, crazing may not be a problem if it is fine visible only on close inspection.
Hornsea coastline were deliberately given bold crazing during manufacture to produce a strong visual effect. Manufacturing faults Kiln marks on the underside of pieces, usually in a pattern of 3 points, are where the piece rested on a tripod in the kiln normal for Geodewaagen.
I personally don't consider kiln marks to be any problem at all, but some collectors are very fussy! Underglaze chips are smooth dents in the ceramic which are covered by glaze. Some mass-produced wares, such as those from Midwinter and Alfred Meakin, may have flecks of soot or brown spots in the body, and this may be considered normal for that factory.
Rust coloured specks in the earthenware body of an Alfred Meakin plate. These are scattered all over the plate and are manufacturing features, not damage.