Top Tips & Considerations for Where to Donate or Sell your Fine China

Posted by Ariel Davis on

Are you looking to get rid of your vintage family china? You're far from alone. Our small business receives daily requests to sell or donate their old dinnerware and heirlooms to us. As experts in buying and selling vintage china online, we're happy to share our knowledge.

Before making any sudden moves, consider upcycling your dinnerware with us.  
Our small business's mission is to give new life to old china and transform dusty vintage treasures into practical modern heirlooms that will actually be used and enjoyed.

By opting to upcycle your china, you get to hand on to the memories...and then can 100 % upcycle some of your collection and then sell or donate the rest.

If you've been looking for an alternative to simply selling or donate your family's sentimental dinnerware, our custom upcycling service might be just the thing.

Learn more about upcycling. Here are just a few examples of what we can create using your pieces, lovely, practical, meaningful serving pieces, gifts and home decor for any occasion.

 

Moving right along...
I'm just going to cut to the chase.

I hate to be the bearer of unpleasant news, but the honest truth from someone who has purchased and sold a lot of vintage dinnerware is this: more often than not, it's going to be more trouble than it's worth. Yes, even though your beautiful, brand-name pieces may be in pristine condition, and whoever purchased them originally paid a fortune, there's more that goes into selling china online than you might expect.

How much time and energy are you willing to invest?

I'm not saying to throw in the towel, I would just strongly advise you to consider the following questions before deciding how to proceed. Also, manage your expectations and keep any sentimental attachment you might have out of the process (or consider upcycling!).

What & amount would make selling your china "worth it?"

Once you have that number in mind, do a few google searches to estimate the value of your collection using the brand information stamped on the back of some, if not all, of the pieces in your collection (a.k.a. the backstamp). You may want to start your assessment journey at Replacements.com if only to gather additional information on how to describe the pieces you have in your searches or future product listings. Note: The prices on replacements.com often vary dramatically from the prices that the pieces sell for on the various platforms I mention below. Replacements.com is an excellent point of reference, but you should not assume you'll be able to command a similar price selling on your own.

What is the condition of your vintage set, overall and individually?

We've seen expensive, luxury brand name china sets sell for very little because of a few minor flaws. Tea stains, scratch marks, barely noticeable "flea bites" and crazing are issues that many buyers care a lot about. There isn't much tolerance for imperfections in the vintage china resale market.

 

Are you prepared to pack and ship your china?

Large boxes of vintage china packed up in two boxes covered in fragile shipping tape

Packing china for safe transit isn't rocket science, but if you don't have experience sending delicate objects in the mail, you could wind up having to pick up the (broken) pieces, including refunding your customer and getting stuck covering the shipping fees. 

Think you'd just want to have the pieces wrapped by UPS/Fedex/USPS?
If turning a profit on your tucked-away treasures is a priority, you may want to reconsider. The price of packing and shipping can be quite high.

 

Are you prepared to handle the logistics involved in selling your set?

Especially if you are planning to break the set apart into place settings or by piece, know that you will be responsible for coordinating the listing and delivery/pick up scheduling.

Bottom Line

If you're persistent, willing to negotiate and aren't in a hurry, then you might be able to offload the family china and turn a profit too. We just want you to manage your expectations and consider your ultimate end goal before investing your time and energy.

Up for the challenge?

These are the sites we recommend for selling your fine china online:

logos of place to sell fine china online including ebay, replacements.com, mercari, facebook marketplace, etsy, offerup & Poshmark

Etsy
The marketplace to buy and sell vintage, handcrafted, and one-of-a-kind items. Stiff competition for well known vintage china brands. Be prepared to ship your china and separate larger sets into place settings so it's more manageable. When you make a sale, you will be charged a nominal listing fee + a transaction fee of 6.5% of the price you display for each listing (plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping).
An online shopping site for everything under the sun. Best known for its auctions and consumer-to-consumer sales. When sellers allow potential customers to make an offer & also offer a Buy Now price (versus just having it up for auction), sellers can entertain offers for their china and sell their pieces more quickly. When you make a sale, you will be charged a nominal insertion fee + a transaction fee of 6.5% of the price you display for each listing (plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping).

Poshmark
Poshmark is a user-friendly social marketplace for new and secondhand style for women, men, kids, pets, home, and more. It's focus is primarily fashion and shopping other peoples' "closets," but has become increasingly popular for home decor, like vintage china. For all sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95. For sales of $15 or more, they take 20%.

Mercari
An intuitive platform that lets you buy and sell a wide variety of items. You set a price and customers make an offer. Everything is bought and sold online so you must be comfortable with shipping your delicate dishes! It's free to list items on Mercari but it costs 12.9+.30 cents for each transaction.

Facebook Marketplace
An online marketplace linked to your Facebook account that allows you to buy and sell basically anything. Most sellers offer local pick up and nationwide shipping options. If the item involves local pick up, people message you directly through Facebook chat to discuss logistics. If you choose to make your listing available for local pick up, Facebook doesn't charge a fee. If you sell the item through Marketplace and buy postage through the platform, which you should do to protect your purchase and allow the customer to easily track their order, Facebook takes 5% of the total sale (last we checked).

OfferUp
A person-to-person marketplace that encourages in-person transactions. Posting a listing is free but when items you intend to ship are sold, you pay a service fee, a minimum of $1.99, or 12.9% of the sale price.

Craigslist
The old school go-to platform for buying and selling online. It’s easy to list your item on CL but it isn’t exactly user-friendly. The biggest downside is that there is a lot of junk and unrelated spam that clogs up search results when customers go to shop. Also, Craigslist is also pretty infamous for attracting bots and spammers.

Replacements.com
As a buyer, Replacements.com is great. They have an enormous inventory and really incredible warehouse/retail facility in McLeansville, North Carolina that houses many football fields worth of discontinued and vintage china, crystal, and silver products—We’ve been, it’s incredible! They can also help you identify china patterns and provide an estimate of what your china might be worth.
We've never sold china to Replacements.com, however, their reputation with sellers is quite mixed. While they don’t charge a commission to resell your china, they also don’t make any guarantees about how much they’ll pay before they receive and inspect your pieces and do not cover shipping. We recommend reading reviews from other sellers before attempting to sell to replacements.com.

A question we get asked a LOT: Can I sell my fine china to The Brooklyn Teacup? 

Tips for listing your fine china online

Maximize the value of your vintage china set by following these online listing tips.

  1. Research the value of your items: Before listing your items, research the current market value to ensure you are pricing them competitively. If you are willing to sell items piecemeal (e.g., just the teapot) or a few at a time (a set of 2 cups and saucers), you will likely command a higher price overall. 

  2. Take high-quality photographs: Use natural light and a neutral background to take clear, detailed photos of your vintage items. Show any unique features or imperfections. Before uploading pictures, try adjusting the shadows and brightness levels on the individual images. It can really go a long way in making your images stand out.

  3. Use descriptive and accurate item titles and descriptions: Include the brand, age, condition, and any other relevant information about the pieces in the title and description.

  4. Use multiple platforms to list your vintage items on multiple online marketplaces to reach a larger audience.

  5. Be responsive to potential buyers: Respond promptly to any questions or requests for additional information about your vintage items.

  6. Be honest about the condition of your vintage dinnerware: Be transparent about any damage or wear and tear to avoid any disappointment or negative feedback.

  7. Be prepared to negotiate: Be open to negotiating the price with potential buyers to increase the chances of a sale.

  8. However, you will also be responsible for handling shipping and customer service for each transaction (i.e., messaging, negotiating $, coordinating logistics, packing shipping, etc.). Note that with the exception of Replacements.com, each of these platforms requires you to create a listing for your china, which includes uploading pictures and information about the brand, pattern, condition, etc.

 
Logos of organizations to donate your vintage fine china - in NYC and nationally

Where to Donate/Give Away your China

If you’re downsizing or decluttering, and just want to part ways with your china, there are several worthy organizations and online platforms worth checking out. Most offer local pickups and others only allow items to be dropped off or shipped.

 

National organizations

Nextdoor.com: A local neighborhood networking app that allows you to buy and sell items from others in your area.

Freecycle: A nonprofit-run site that allows you to post basically anything you want to give away (for free) to someone in your local community.

Facebook "Buy Nothing" Group: Does your neighborhood have a "Buy Nothing" Facebook group? If so, that's definitely a good resource for getting local visitors to pick up the china you want to get rid of (or anything for that matter)! Also, if it feel important that your family heirlooms live on with a family who would be likely to appreciate the pieces ( versus "sold for parts," this can be a nice way to make a local connection).

Habitat for Humanity: A nonprofit with home improvement “Restore” locations around the U.S. The ReStore accepts and resells donated items such as usable building materials, gently used furniture, working appliances, tools, lighting and other household goods, with proceeds used to fund Habitat for Humanity building projects.

Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, Vietnam Veterans of America: Nonprofit organizations that operate thrift store locations around the U.S.

Local organizations in Brooklyn/NYC

There are many local reputable spots for donating your gently used home goods around Brooklyn and the five boroughs. I personally donate to (and buy from, on occasion too!) Big Reuse, Housing Works & Out of the Closet. Depending on the size of your donation, they may be able to pick up from you.

Big Reuse: An environmental nonprofit operating several green initiatives in the city, from salvaging usable construction materials from demolition and remodel projects to food scrap composting on behalf of the City. Operates a large second hand Reuse warehouse/store based in Gowanus, Brooklyn where they will gladly accept your vintage china, and turn it into job training opportunities and fuel for their green initiatives.

Housing Works: A New York City based non-profit fighting AIDS and homelessness that funds a large portion of its work through a chain of well-curated thrift shops. Housing works regularly accepts donations of gently used second-hand clothing, furnishings and home decor.

Out of the Closet: Helps fund HIV care and services in the community and around the world. They have several locations across the US.


Takeaway: It is certainly possible to sell your fine china

We hope you found this information helpful. It is certainly possible to sell your vintage fine china, it just takes time and perhaps more effort than you might have expected.

Have you had luck selling your china? Drop a comment below with other ideas or suggestions!

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