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Should You Hang On to Mom’s China Set?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

Are all collectors dead? Will there be an app for keepsakes and thingamabobs? I don't know or think so, but we have seen a trend as Baby Boomers age and the current era of innovation changes our lifestyles, particularly among younger generations. We in the auction business thought Steampunk or Shabby Chic might be the movements to save the antique store but that has not seemed to happen. However, I do think there will be a renewed interest in antiques as the world market shrinks and the long-term investor and collector realizes that we have been through this all before.

Cycles, trends, hills and valleys…we have seen this in the stock market, world market, and heck even Haley's comet comes back to visit. An example for you pessimists is fine china. Take a set of 18th century Meissen, 19th century Limoges, and 1950s Noritake. Did I just speak a foreign language to you? Well, those are makers of fine porcelain china sets from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. Each in their day commanded major bucks.

My mother once threatened to kick me out of the house after I broke a Noritake Azalea tea cup. It was the 1970s and I was jamming to Kiss's ‘Love Gun’ album and the tea cup vibrated off the table. Crazy Glue be damned, it was busted and so was I. At that time, prior to, a popular website that offers replacements for old and new china, crystal and silver, it was $300. Today, that same tea cup can be purchased as a “Buy It Now” for $4.50 on eBay.

All of the aforementioned porcelains can be purchased today for pennies on the dollar because we, as a society, are "just not doing that sort of thing" right now. Not even with 18th century treasures. We just are too busy to present a meal in the style of the ages from which I speak. Right now that is. The Victorian era saw these huge china sets and their grand formality. The 1950s saw its return, and because I am Nostradamus, until proven otherwise, I think the 2030s will be its return. I kid, of course, because I am not French; however, history and antique trends tend to repeat, over and over again. Doubt me? Look around at the spring fashions this year: Bell-bottoms are back. Enough said. The long-term investor might just be at your mom’s yard sale right now....stealing the china set for $50.

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