Are Grandma’s Antique Dishes Worth Something? 10 Ways to Know

Antiques dishes sit on a counter top.
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With the holidays upon us, it’s a good time to clean out those cabinets and cupboards full of china and crystal that you never use and turn it into cash for shopping and entertaining. If you or your mom or dear Aunt Hazel haven’t placed that Spode Christmas platter or those Waterford wine glasses on the table in three years, now is the time to sell.

Vintage china, glassware and flatware can bring several hundred to thousands of dollars. But demand for most formal dinnerware continues to decrease, so make a plan now to sell it before the end of the year.

Depending on the pattern, condition and current supply and demand, you can make a few hundred dollars when you sell Nana’s china plates or perhaps more than $1,000. In most cases, however, what was sentimentally valuable china to your family is worth $5 to $20 a plate.

But whether you net $50 or $500, if stuff is just collecting dust and taking up space — be like Elsa in “Frozen” and “let it go.” You can sell old china, crystal and flatware without too much trouble on several online marketplaces.

You Might Get Lucky and Hit Big

Someone with a Wedgwood five-piece place setting (dinner, salad and bread plates with cup and saucer) may get around $40 per setting while Lennox brings around $25 and Mikasa around $20. Resellers and dealers, however, may pay up to $1,000 for a Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica dinner plate, the golden ticket of pre-owned china.

To gauge what your stash may bring see what the patterns and pieces are selling for on Replacements Ltd. The country’s largest buyer and seller of previously owned china, crystal and flatware sells online and at its store in McLeansville, North Carolina, minutes outside Greensboro. It boasts 450,000 different patterns listed in its database and stocks new and preowned products in its 500,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Here’s a look at what items are selling for at Replacements. These are list prices the public pays to purchase items. Replacements’ payment to sellers will be less depending on supply and demand at the time of the transaction.

Pattern Prices at a Glance from Replacements

Maker Pattern Item Sale Price*


Desert Rose

Dinner plate



Evergreen 2007

Dinner plate



Poppies on Blue

Dinner plate


Royal Copenhagen

Blue Fluted Plain

9-inch serving bowl



Botanic Garden

Crescent salad plate



Runnymede Blue

Rim soup bowl



Chinese Bouquet (rust)

Crescent salad plate



Christianshavn Blue

Dinner plate (Portugal)



Nantucket Basketweave

Accent luncheon plate



Rothschild, Ivory

Cup and saucer


*These are list prices the public pays to purchase items. Replacements’ payment to sellers depends on supply and demand at the time of transaction and is less than list price.

How to Sell to Replacements Ltd.

Replacements’ website offers very clear directions on how to find out what the company will pay for your china, glasswear, silver or other collectibles. If you know your pattern, submit the pattern name and your personal contact information via an electronic form. Replacements will reply with what it’s paying for each piece of a pattern. It can also research a pattern by the photo if you don’t know the formal name.

Sellers can also call 800-REPLACE or (800) 737-5223 and the company will let you know if it is currently buying what you want to sell.

Depending on the supply Replacements has in its massive warehouse, the company may be buying dinner plates, salt and pepper shakers, butter dishes and bowls in a specific pattern, for example, but no salad plates, cups and saucers or serving platters.

Once a seller determines what Replacements will purchase, sellers ship your pieces based on specific packing instructions from the company. Replacements tries to pay sellers via check within less than a month of receiving their items, according to Winkler. Within a few weeks, a check arrives in your mailbox.

If you live near the area or want to stop by on a drive along the East Coast, sellers with silver sterling or pieces with a total estimated value of more than $1,500 can set up an appointment to take their items in person.

Not every dish is going to be worth a fortune. Looking for other ways to make easy money? Check out these ways to make money — without a real job.

How to Sell to Consumers and Designers on 

The more unusual the china, barware, serving pieces or flatware, the more desirable it is to interior designers looking for distinctive pieces for clients or other dealers. Many buy from individual sellers who post their furniture, decor and barware and dinnerware on

“I think over the years it’s become a bit of a trend to create different spaces and clever spaces,” said Richard Hughes, Chief Creative Officer with Clear ph Design in St. Petersburg, Fla. “I think the more we’ve seen social media come into play the more outlandish people get with their ideas.”

His company creates digital marketing, develops brands and consults on interior design for commercial spaces.

“We utilize common online sources. … There are great sites like Chairish,” said Hughes.

Here’s how to sell on It’s similar to eBay, in that you upload photos of your items and the company handles the payment process.  It charges an average of 30 percent of the sale price. Potential buyers can also offer less than the asking price so there is room for negotiating if your items don’t sell in the timeframe you’d like.

Should You Sell Your China on eBay? 

If you sell on eBay you are going directly to the buyer, who may pay more than a reseller who needs to build in a profit. Obviously, you are then also the one who has to pack it (or pay someone else to pack it) and ship it so it arrives to the buyer in tip-top shape.

But be warned, customers buying on eBay have the right to refuse the product and ship it back at the seller’s expense if they say it arrived in worse condition than expected.

Buyers have been known to say it arrived broken or chipped and ship back their own china in poor condition and keep the china they bought, according to Larry Weitkemper, who owned China Finders, a reseller in St. Petersburg, Fla. He recently closed the business after 40 years. He estimated they had a negative experience with an eBay buyer once a month or so. It was a cost of doing business.

But if you are selling a whole set of china or box of crystal goblets only once and a customer claims it arrived in poor condition then returns other items, your one shot at profiting off of Nana’s collection is shot.

(Clockwise from top left) Franciscan Desert Rose, Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica, Noritake Royal Orchard and Spode Christmas Tree vintage china plates are photographed.
Clockwise from top left: Franciscan Desert Rose, Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica, Spode Christmas Tree and Noritake Royal Orchard are china patterns that could fetch you some good money. Photos courtesy of Replacements, Ltd.

10 Things to Know If You’re Selling Old Dishes

  • Patterns don’t gain value with age
  • Know the patterns that are most valuable
  • Know other popular patterns
  • Demand varies for extra pieces
  • Wine glasses are out, goblets are in
  • Gold trim can kill the sale
  • Shipping is costly
  • Country of origin counts
  • Limitations of Christmas china patterns
  • To eBay or not to eBay those porcelain dishes

First you need to know if it’s antique and just because it’s old to you, doesn’t mean it’s a legit antique or has a lot of value. Antiques are generally at least 100 years old; newer older items are considered vintage. Look to a professional for help. The market determines the prices so your dream of getting rich off a single item for thousands of dollars is likely just that. Still, there’s money to be had.

Our vintage china and glassware experts have done their research and here is their best advice for those of us surveying Nana’s china cabinet and trying to get past the floral bouquet in the middle of the plates. These 10 tips can help you find the best value hiding on the shelves.

1. Patterns Don’t Gain Value With Age

Now, that doesn’t mean old patterns are necessarily not worth good money as long as they are still popular with current consumers. But they are just not like other collectibles such as coins that gain value as they age.

2. Know the Patterns That Are Most Valuable


“Most patterns from Herend sell well,” Winkler said.  A platter recently sold for $200 on eBay while a salad plate went for $100. Herend originated in Hungary in 1839 and its pieces are typified by fine floral patterns. The history of the manufacturer and the fine craftsmanship overrules the fact that many younger people don’t want fussy porcelain pieces.

Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted

A cup and saucer recently sold on eBay for $100 and  a salad plate fetched the same price.

“It’s a very high quality brand and it’s in high demand. It’s made really well,” according to Larry Weitkemper.

Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica

This is about the most expensive player in the fine china reselling market. Two salad plates sold on eBay recently for $375 while a pickle dish sold for $500.

3. Discontinued Patterns Are Usually Worth More

Like most businesses, selling china, flatware and crystal is all about supply and demand. Patterns that are discontinued or no longer made are thus in more demand. Take for example, the popular off white Wedgewood patterns Nantucket Basket and Countryware. Nantucket Basket is still made, but Countryware, which features a border of cabbage leaves, was discontinued in 2006.

Check out eBay and you’ll see Countryware dinner plates range from $80 to $140, while Nantucket Basket dinner plates are $23 to $51.

4. Know Other Popular Patterns

Replacements lists its top selling patterns, which is a good indicator the valuable china is selling well on other sites, with dealers and individually. But that doesn’t mean they will always command top dollar.

“We may have a piece retailing for $50 but have a 10-year supply on hand  and therefore we may not be purchasing it at all or would offer a nominal amount for the piece,” said Winkler.

Here are the links for:

An antique teapot sits on a table with antique tea cups.
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5. Extra Pieces Vary in Demand

Butter dishes and salt and pepper sets are more sought after than spoon rests and coffee pots. The current values reflect modern cooking habits, and the selling price and pattern don’t much matter. Many companies have produced these pieces and they can be found online and in antiques shops in abundance.

6. Wine Glasses Are Out, Water Goblets Are In

Even baby boomers are likely to want glasses that can hold a larger pour. These days, a new standard wine glass sold at retailers from Target to Crate & Barrel holds about 12 ounces but older crystal  wine glasses might hold half of that. Thus, there’s more demand for your vintage crystal water goblets, which will be used for savoring wine.

7. Gold Trim Can Kill the Sale

The 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds — heck almost everyone — buying china today want to put all their dishes in the microwave or dishwasher. Washing individual pieces by hand isn’t going to fly no matter if the current value is affordable and even if they like the pattern. And reheating ramen in the microwave is standard these days. The dishes have to fit the job, and just being valuable doesn’t cut it.

Most dishes with gold trim can’t go in the dishwasher and can’t go in the microwave.

8. Shipping Is Costly

If selling to Replacements, you will pay for packing and shipping your china. That can cancel out or at least heavily cut into whatever profit you expect to make. Consider this if you purchased good-condition china to resell. Always do your research first.

“A person really needs to consider all of that when they are wanting to sell. it’s going to be so expensive to ship,” Winkler said. “It might be better to donate it.” Do some internet research or head to your local library to look for organizations that take donations of dishes, glassware and other pieces.

9. Country of Origin Counts

China and glassware made in America or England is more desirable. China produced after the Civil War often has identifying marks on the back of each piece indicating its country of origin. Bone china made in England usually has a crown stamp on the back. If the pieces are bright in color — lime green or purple even — they are likely not vintage.

In the table above, you can see how Dansk’s Christianshavn Blue is more valuable if it is manufactured in Portugal than when they are made in Thailand.

10. Limitations of Christmas China Patterns

Many manufacturers have lines of Christmas china. It tends to sell well throughout the year, but especially in September and October. Some of the most popular Christmas china patterns are Spode’s Christmas Tree, which was first made in 1928; Lenox’s Holiday holly pattern (beware the gold leaf), and Johnson Brothers’ Merry Christmas, made from 1958 to 1995.

The Johnson pattern has a cozy Christmas scene on the middle of the plate, complete with a roaring fireplace.

If you find a set for 12 of any of these patterns, it’s still not likely you’ll bring in thousands of dollars, though a Johnson Merry Christmas dinner plate is fetching about $70 on Replacements. The current value of a dinner plate of Spode’s Christmas Tree with gold trim is about $40. And Lenox’s Holiday holly plate could get nearly $70 through an antique dealer but Replacements had the dinner plate on sale in January 2022 for $40.

11. To eBay or Not to eBay Those Porcelain Dishes

If you sell on eBay you may get more money for your china or crystal than selling to an antique dealer who is going to resell your King Louis XV antique furniture or valuable china. Obviously, you are then also the one who has to pack it (or pay someone else to pack it) and ship it so it arrives to the buyer in tip-top shape.

Customers buying on eBay have the right to refuse the product and ship it back at the seller’s expense if they say it arrived in worse condition than expected.

China Finders has been burned several times with eBay buyers who say the items they bought arrived chipped.

“We check it completely for chips when we buy it, when we sell it and when we ship it,” Larry Weitkemper said. But they still have to pay the cost to ship it back and refund the buyer’s money. Several times customers have shipped back different china, and once even a box of rocks instead of what they bought.

For China Finders, which sells hundreds of items on eBay each month, if a customer falsely claims the products weren’t in good condition once a month, it’s a cost of doing business.

But if you are selling a whole set of china or box of crystal goblets only once and a customer claims it arrived in poor condition then returns other items, your one shot at profiting off of Nana’s collection is shot.

Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance editor and reporter living in St. Petersburg, Florida. She’s the author of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps & Lessons Learned.