Ever since The Washington Post article Five Fresh Ideas for the Family China Nobody Wants came out in October, I've received numerous emails requesting recommendations for selling one's family china and vintage heirlooms.
Turn grandma's teacups and saucers into cash?
For those of you looking to turn grandma's dainty floral teacups and saucers into cash, you have a few options...just be prepared to find out that it may be more trouble than it's worth.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news BUT...I have to be honest. Even though your beautiful pieces may be in mint condition, and whoever purchased them originally paid a fortune for them, given the amount of time it will take you to assess their condition, post the items and coordinate the sale, the effort of packaging the pieces to be shipped and cost of shipping, etc., you just may find that you're better off donating or upcycling the china (or some combination of the two). See FAQ for where to donate your vintage china.
Selling your china online
Now that you've been warned, these are the sites I recommend for selling your vintage china online:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Replacements, Ltd.
- The International Association of Dinnerware Matchers
For Replacements and Dinner Matchers, you'll provide a bit of information about your collection(s) to get an estimate. Once you get the estimate and agree to their assessment, you'll pack and ship your pieces. Once the pieces have been examined by their staff, you'll be paid commensurately.
If selling on any of the other sites listed, you'll be the one responsible for creating a listing for your china, complete with pictures and information about the brand, pattern, condition, etc. You can opt to sell your entire collection at once or individually. You'll likely get a better price for your pieces if you are willing to sell piecemeal or a few at a time, like one place setting or a teacup and saucer.
Of course, you will also be responsible for handling shipping to customers so will have to decide what kind of time and energy you're willing to invest in this effort.
Selling your fine china locally
You may also be able to find buyers locally through one of these sites and avoid shipping altogether. I've purchased off of these platforms many times myself so I know it does happen. It just may take you a while to find someone who is willing to pay what you think your china is worth. Also, you should plan to be comfortable with negotiating prices on these platforms as a good amount of "haggling" typically takes place before a sale is made.
Be Smart & Safe
I hope it goes without saying that you should "keep your wits about you" when meeting up with anyone you meet on the internet. I have luckily never had any bad experiences but I take precautions. For example, I always try to bring someone along with me when meeting up with complete strangers, especially if I know that I'll be going into someone's home.
I hope this information is helpful and hasn't discouraged you too much. It's definitely possible to sell your vintage china, it just takes time and effort. Let me know if you've had luck selling your china on any platforms not mentioned here...Or drop a comment below with any other ideas or suggestions. Good luck!
*Just to get this out of the way before we go further: while I wish I could buy and store tons of lovely vintage china for The Brooklyn Teacup, I am usually not in the position to do so due to space constraints. If you're local, feel free to shoot me an email with pictures and brand details and I'll get back to you with an offer or trade options, if it's a good fit.