The Vintage Hostess – Collecting China

The Vintage Hostess
I first started collecting china when I was a little girl, spending my pocket money in ‘Old man Hopkin’s’ shop on the way to school, needless to say I was always late for assembly. I once bought a cup and saucer to give to my mum and fell over grazing my knee and breaking the china!
My mother loved nice china so I guess her love rubbed off on me. I took it more seriously when my husband and I moved to the Lake District and we found a big old house that needed filling and decorating. There were local auction rooms and ideas from friends and so the collecting mania started.
We moved eventually to South Africa and I never thought I would find nice things ever again! How ignorant I was, there are so many antique/junk shops and fairs out there and so many collectors it was just ‘vintage heaven’, my home was filled with beautiful pieces and old furniture that we would restore ourselves.

I would not say I am an expert but I have learnt a lot, my tips would be:-
  • Buy what attracts you.
  • Think about how you might use a piece, is it for purely for display or are you going to use? I had lots of display pieces on a dresser, shelves and hanging on walls, but I also used for friends and family. We would choose our favourite cup and saucer to drink from.
  • There is a huge temptation to buy and get overwhelmed by the gorgeous pieces that are available, my suggestion is to have a theme, maybe a particular pattern or colour or even a make. There is such a thrill in finding something that fits in with your home and lifestyle.
  • Buy what you can afford.
  • Always try and haggle for a price that suits you. Of course that is difficult in a charity shop but worth a try.
  • Ideally try not to purchase a broken item, but if you love it and it is cheap then a hairline crack is not a problem or perhaps a slight crack can be mended.
    I did buy a trio once and the tea plate was riveted, no one could see it and it was perfect with other blues on display.
  • There is lots of expert help on the internet plus you can check out books to read in your local library.
  • Whilst I used to have quite a mixture of patterns, I have one particular favourite and that is Susie Cooper of the 1920’s to 1960’s. I just love her simple lines and patterns. My daughter Louise Ambrosi and fellow crafty bum also likes her style. At the moment I have a corner cabinet full of her china and pottery, coffee sets, cups and saucers, plates and a pretty teapot. My husband John has his favourites and that is Shelley ware. We tend to stick with those favourites if they are at the right price.
    I am learning all the time and there are plenty of wonderful websites to help with identifying pieces. Since leaving work and feeling rather lost without the daily routine, I decided I would start this long held dream of selling and online seems to be the sensible way to start with. Hopefully I will try a market stand in the near future. So here I am thanks to the encouragement of Louise and my sister in law to just go for it .
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