Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wanna Know A Secret? Here Are The Best Places To Find Vintage Plates



One of the things that people ask me all the time is where I find my vintage plates. The 
answer is simple: all over the place! They are easier to find than you may think. You just 
have to know where to look. Whether you're looking for some pretty vintage plates to hang 
on your wall, or searching for dishes to use in crafts or to transform into some beautiful 
jewelry, read on for my top picks for successful plate hunting goodness!


First: Ask Friends & Family 
To start, you can ask friends and family members for any old plates that they might have 
laying around, and ask them to save you any dishes that they might accidentally break. 
The pro to this is that they are free. The con is that they will most likely not have a great 
selection of different china patterns, and what you land up "inheriting" might be more 
modern styled dinnerware rather than vintage. The problem with this is that if you plan on 
using the plates or shards to create jewelry or mosaics, the materials of modern dinnerware 
are often very thick or hard, and therefore not suitable for crafts. Why? Simply because 
they will be hard on your tools and could actually cause your tools to wear down too quickly 
or even break. If the reverse side of the plate says ironstone (that should give it away, no?) 
or the plate is heavy (think diner-type dishes) then you don't want to use those in your 
crafts.  But asking friends and family is always a good place to start. Spread the word that 
you are on the lookout for some pretty, old plates and they will no doubt think of you when 
they come across some themselves! 


Thrift Stores
I think that the best places for beginner plate hunters to find old china pieces are at thrift 
shops and yard sales. You can add flea markets to that list too, but you will most likely pay 
more at flea markets than at thrift shops or yard sales. Antique dealers often set up shop at 
the bigger flea markets and I have found that those vendors tend to overprice their china. 
Check out all of the thrift shops and Goodwill stores in your area and note which ones have 
the best selections of plates. Some thrift shops have tons of plates. Others have hardly any. 
Make a mental note of the good ones so that you can visit them on a regular basis. Seasoned 
thrift store shoppers know that each thrift shop tends to carry certain types of wares on a 
continual basis. Some thrift shops have tons of clothes but little housewares. Others have 
tons of housewares and little clothes. Take note! Once you are a thrift shop shopping pro, 
consider mini road trips to other thrift shops that are out of your area. Keep in mind that the 
prices and quality of goods in the shop will often reflect the income of the area. Many thrift 
shops also have certain departments on sale on certain days of the week. For instance, 
Monday might be half price clothing day, Tuesday might be half price dishes day. Got it? ;)


Yard Sales & Flea Markets:
 The pros of yard sale shopping are that people are usually willing to bargain because most 
people who have yard sales are either moving or honestly want to get rid of their "stuff," so 
it puts you in a good position to barter.  The cons of yard sales & garage sales are that they 
are mostly seasonal, and you have to do a lot of schlepping around from area to area. Also, 
depending on how populated the area is, you may have to get there very early to get the 
good stuff. Go towards the end of the sale, and you are more likely to get a bargain. The 
same goes for flea markets. I like to shop weekend flea markets on a Sunday afternoon, an 
hour or two before vendors are getting ready to pack up and go home. In my experience, 
that is the time that they are most willing to barter! As far as prices go, I think that yard 
sales are a toss up - you never know how someone is going to price their items. Some people 
have emotional connections to their things and so they tend to price them higher. Still, other 
people under-price.  You never know what you are going to encounter, but that makes it fun.



Church Rummage Sales:
Many churches, charities, and other organizations hold yearly rummage sales. These have 
the potential of being a goldmine for the plate hunter! Why? For starters, these are often 
annual events that are either held on only one particular day or a few days over the length 
of a weekend, but only once a year. That means the folks who donate to these events often 
"clean house" and collect a pile of things throughout the year to donate/sell for the short 
event. Unlike thrift shops and flea markets, that are constantly "picked-through" by other 
shoppers, the rummage sale can be like Christmas morning for shoppers. My advice: get 
there early! These types of sales are most often created to benefit a specific charity, so be 
prepared to possibly pay an entry fee, and also be prepared to pay a few dollars more for 
dishes than you would at a thrift shop. Keep in mind that it's usually for a good cause.


Your Local Community Recycling Center:
Depending on where you live, some municipalities have recycling drop off centers that 
collect plates. Call your township municipality to find out if your town collects dishes, and 
find out if it would be possible for you to get some. Some centers are for drop-off only and 
will not allow you to pick through them, but all you have to do is ask to find out. 
It's that simple. 


Antique shops/antique vendors, and Ebay:
You can get just about any kind of fancy plate on Ebay or at an antique store, but you are most often going to pay top dollar, including shipping and sometimes other costs (packaging, insurance, etc.) The pro of shopping Ebay is that you can shop from the convenience of your own home and you can search for specific china sizes, shapes, or patterns. 


As you can see, there are plenty of different places to search for vintage china, and each 
place has it's own pros and cons. Some days you may not find much of anything, but don't 
 get discouraged! There are thousands upon thousands of old dinnerware pieces just 
waiting to be found. Keep looking! 



What do you think?
Where is your favorite place to find dishes?




I hope you have a great week 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




7 comments:

  1. I have found that antique/thrift shops along the Mississippi river in Iowa sell china for a very low cost. I am in Northern Illinois and I sell beautiful old plates for 2.00 each if they have a hairline crack or a chip. They usually sit on the shelf for a long time and then all sell to one person. It is always a good idea to ask antique shops if they have any chipped china. Sometimes, we hesitate to throw it away because it is so beautiful, but there is no market for it so it is in a box in the store room. Always ask if the shop will save it for you. They will!

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  2. At O'Flanary's Em[orium in Redlands, Cal. I sell lots of.one of a kind saucers some with small cracks (some prefect) for $1.00 to $1.50

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  3. Estate sales on the last day..people rarely want singles or partial sets (and also full sets seem to go unsold) so they are usually there on the last day and they are ready to deal..and if it is chipped or cracked if they didn't toss it before the sale, it is CHEAP even on day 1 ! Lots of estate sales have online photos so you can scout before you go (estatesales.net and check your classifieds under "yard sales..that is where the estate sales usually get stuck too)

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  4. I find estate sales better than yard sales, because that is where the old stuff is and I waste less gas looking!

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