Bradford Exchange Plate Value Guide

Are you curious about the value of collector plates and whether or not they are worth the money you invest in them? Plate production went through a number of transitions after porcelain was introduced.

The holy trinity of pottery identification: shape, ornamentation, and glaze. You’ll need to know what materials were utilized and what techniques were employed to make ancient pottery before you can do that.

This is a list of questions you should ask yourself while determining the authenticity of ancient pottery.

What material is the body composed of?

Gritty earthenware and stoneware are the hardest forms of ceramic; delicate porcelain is the softest and most finely grained.

When trying to figure out how to identify ancient pottery, the weight, translucency, and resonance are all things to keep an eye on.

If the piece is chipped, it’s easy to discern the grain by running your finger over the crack.

How did the artwork come to be?

Pinched and rolled wet lumps of clay into little items or heavy terracotta pots were the first forms of pottery.

Antique pottery made using the wheel may be distinguished from those made by throwing clay. This includes everything from how the item was cut off the wheel to finishing and cleaning (various potters have varied methods for cleaning ancient pottery).

It’s important to ask about the piece’s glaze and ornamentation.

Do you have a smooth or bubbling or fractured pottery surface? What is the actual color tone? Is it glistening or dull? Do you like it when it’s hard or soft? Learning to recognize ancient pottery requires paying attention to these aspects.

If you look closely at delftware (a specific style of European pottery), you’ll see the thick glaze that creates a stunning white backdrop perfect for decoration.

Exchange Plate Value Guide Brief History

The first plate to be considered a collector’s item was “Behind the Frozen Window,” which was produced by the business Bing and Grondahl in 1895. This plate was the first Christmas plate ever made. If it were in pristine condition, the value of this plate may reach as high as $2500 right now.

Behind the Frozen Window
Behind the Frozen Window

These plates were produced in batches, but each batch was one of a limited number of editions so that they may become a collectible item in the years to come.

The United States of America did not begin mass manufacture of these plates until a great deal later than China and Europe. Since China was the country that discovered porcelain, Chinese producers were the first to produce ornate porcelain plates. These plates would be sent back to Europe by royal families.

After some time, Europe, in response to the popularity of these porcelain plates among the public, modified the manufacture of these plates, and ultimately, the trend made its way to the United States.

Bradford Exchange

When J. Roderick McArthur established the Bradford Exchange in 1973, the world of collector plates saw one of the most significant leaps forward in terms of innovation.

The values of the collector plates were standardized by the exchange after they put all of the collector plates from that period in an index.

Collector plates were at the height of their popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, but now they do not command the premium price they once did. Plates like this often sell for less than ten dollars each on online auction sites.

Nonetheless, there are a few prominent examples from desired periods or artists that may sell for thousands of dollars each.

Knowing how to recognize rare and expensive plates on the market is essential to making sound financial decisions on investments.

The Fall in Value of the Collector Plate Market

Several decades ago, collector plates were a popular commodity, and many customers bought them for both financial purposes and to use as ornamental accents in their homes. However, rather than gaining in value, the majority of the plates turned out to be worth far less than what they were sold for initially.

The majority of collector plates are only worth approximately 15 percent to 25 percent of what they were originally purchased for, as stated by an expert on antiques named Harry Rinker, who was interviewed by the Allentown Morning Call.

In the 1990s, the market saw a sharp decline for no apparent reason.

The plates were named by Terry Kovel of Kovels.com as one of the top 10 collectibles that are no longer worthwhile to acquire in the year 2012.

Having said that, there are a few plates on the market that have shown to be well worth the money spent on them.

Factors that Affect the Value of the Plates

According to Antique Trader, the value of some collector plates is increasing, in part because baby boomers are collecting these plates for emotional reasons. This is one of the factors contributing to the increase in value. If you have a collection and you think you could be sitting on a treasure, there are specific qualities to look for in the items in your collection.

Production Date of the Item

The year in which your plate was manufactured might have a significant bearing on its value. Collector plates from the 1920s may command a high price if they are in pristine condition. However, this is only the case if the plates have never been used.

Plates manufactured after 1980, as per the assertions of Terry Kovel, often do not have any monetary worth at all.

The majority of collector plates produced by big manufacturers include back stamps that are quite detailed. In most cases, this will contain the year in which the plate was manufactured.

Condition

When determining the worth of a plate, another significant consideration is the plate’s state of preservation. Examining vintage and antique exchange plates in order to assign a value to it is recommended.

Mint Condition

A plate that is in mint condition will still have its original packaging. It will not have any chips or scratches. Both the plate and the box will be flawless, exhibiting no evidence of usage or wear whatsoever. This is quite uncommon, but plates that are in pristine condition get the highest prices.

Excellent Condition

This plate is in excellent shape and may come with its box. However, the box may show signs of wear. There shall be no yellowing, cracking, staining, or any other kind of damage visible on the plate itself.

Good Condition

A plate that is in good condition may not have the box in which it was originally packaged. It could be somewhat discolored, show some light indications of wear, and have lost part of its gold sponging.

Fair Condition

A plate is considered to be in fair condition if it has surface flaws such as cracks, chips, or crazing and has been used. In most cases, the value will decrease according to the sort of damage that has been done.

Take into account that there is room for some wiggle room in how different dealers interpret certain terms, but those presented below are likely to be pretty similar no matter where you go.

Manufacturer

Over the years, a great number of firms have created collector plates, but only a few of those companies are known specifically for their plates. Some of the more notable producers of exchange plates include the following:

Bing & Grondahl

In 1895, Bing & Grondahl created the first collector plate. It was called “Behind the Frozen Window,” and the first edition of that plate can be purchased on eBay for more than $2,500.

2 B&G Bing & Grondahl Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Christmas Plates 1968 1969
2 B&G Bing & Grondahl Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Christmas Plates 1968 1969 (Image Source: $15.00)

However, many fine specimens from the 1970s may be purchased for as low as $2 a piece, despite the fact that other older plates from the same company that has been carefully kept often bring over $100 at auction.

Wedgewood Plates

Wedgewood plates are known for their stunning, signature blue hue, which gives them a gorgeous and ornamental appearance. However, the plates do not necessarily have value as collections due to their color.

ANTIQUE WEDGWOOD BLUE TURKEY DINNER PLATE
ANTIQUE WEDGWOOD BLUE TURKEY DINNER PLATE (Sold $58.99)

On eBay, a collection of 13 Wedgewood collector plates depicting flowers can be purchased for $150, while a single plate may sell for as little as $2.00 depending on its condition.

Royal Doulton

A Royal Doulton collector plate from 1927 with a lovely scene of two fish had an auction estimate of between 150 and 200 British pounds in 2009, which is equivalent to around $220 and $300.

Royal Doulton plate, circa 1928-1929 - MINT CONDITION
Royal Doulton plate, circa 1928-1929 – MINT CONDITION (Sold $235.00)

On the other hand, copies from the 1970s may be purchased on eBay for around two bucks.

Royal Copenhagen

Royal Copenhagen is another significant company that offers a wide range of prices for their products, and they are particularly well-known for their yearly Christmas plates.

Royal Copenhagen Denmark plate Blue Flower
Royal Copenhagen Denmark plate Blue Flower (Sold $10.00)

While many current equivalents can be purchased for between $50 and $80, Antique Cupboard is selling a 1908 Christmas dish titled “Madonna & Child” for more than $3,700.

Bradford Exchange

The Bradford Exchange is a household brand in the world of collector plates, and throughout the years they have produced many different series.

Bradford Exchange Chinese Porcelain Pao-Chai First Issue 1985 Collector Plate
Bradford Exchange Chinese Porcelain Pao-Chai First Issue 1985 Collector Plate (Sold $27.95)

On eBay, whole sets of 12 plates still in their original packaging may fetch up to around $200, while individual plates can be purchased for as low as one dollar each.

Franklin Mint

The Franklin Mint is perhaps one of the most well-known producers, and it is responsible for the production of several collector plates featuring the work of a variety of artists. The fact that some of these plates were fashioned of sterling silver gives the metal they were made of some residual worth.

FRANKLIN MINT COLLECTOR PLATE Santa Paws BY BILL BELL LIMITED EDITION
FRANKLIN MINT COLLECTOR PLATE Santa Paws BY BILL BELL LIMITED EDITION (Sold $10.00)

On eBay, the price of an entire set of china plates may reach as high as ninety dollars, while the going rate for an individual dish is often between five and six dollars.

Artist

Work by several artists has been displayed on the individual plates that make up a set of plates. Plates created by well-known artists may vary greatly in value. In some instances, they are quite precious, while in other instances, they are worth very little or nothing at all.

Additionally, artists have the opportunity to provide licenses for their work to numerous plate producers, which might influence the value of those photographs.

Some painters, like Ted DeGrazia, are able to command very high prices for their work. Because of the spectacular photographs, they feature of the American Southwest and the restricted number of times they were produced, some of the collector plates made by DeGrazia fetch prices of up to $1,000 apiece.

Plates that include the work of the well-known American artist Norman Rockwell, on the other hand, are usually available on eBay for a price that is less than $2.

Rarity

Many collector plates were issued as part of limited edition runs, which indicates that the manufacturer only created a certain quantity in order to ensure that the plates would remain collectible.

On the other hand, it is essential to keep in mind that the phrase “limited” may be used in a somewhat ambiguous manner and that it may refer to runs of thousands of identical plates.

The quantity of plates currently available on the market is one factor that might influence the price of a plate.

According to Collectors Weekly, many instances had production runs of just 14 plates, making it very difficult to locate them. This also has the potential to make them more valuable to the proper buyer.

Theme

The designs that are shown on collector plates have some characteristics. Nevertheless, some of these characteristics are more desirable and expensive than others.

Christmas

One of the most well-liked holidays among collectors is Christmas, making Christmas one of the most popular themes. These holiday plates, particularly those manufactured by Bing & Grondahl and Royal Copenhagen, have the potential to sell at auction for very high amounts.

Christmas
“The Magic of Christmas” Thomas Kinkade Limited Edition Plate 

For example, Royal Copenhagen Christmas dishes from the early 1940s may be purchased for anywhere from $350 and $720.

NASCAR

Plates with a NASCAR theme are nevertheless enjoyable collectibles for those who are passionate about racing, despite the fact that the subject matter has little monetary worth. On eBay, they seldom go for more than twenty dollars each.

NASCAR

Birds and Nature

Plates with photos of birds and nature have widespread appeal. Yet, their prices may vary widely, ranging from only a few dollars to a significant amount more than that for a single plate.

Birds and Nature

One may purchase a dish from Lena Liu’s Hummingbird Treasury Collection for more than $100 dollars each.

Easter Themed

Easter Despite the fact that Easter-themed collection plates are not nearly as popular or expensive as Christmas-themed plates, Easter collector plates continue to maintain their worth.

Easter Themed

For instance, Bing & Grondahl Easter plates produced between the years 1910 and 1930 may be purchased at Antique Cupboard for around $80 a piece.

Fairy Tales

Images from well-known fairy tales make stunning additions to collection plates; as many of these stories are considered to be timeless classics, their value tends to be fairly high.

Fairy Tales

Plates from the 1980s produced by Royal Copenhagen and bearing Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales may be purchased for as much as $84.

Where to Shop Bradford Exchange Plate?

Cherished Christmas Memories Personalized Collector Plate

Cherished Christmas Memories Personalized Collector Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

Rockwell Heritage Collector Plate Collection

Rockwell Heritage Collector Plate Collection
Source:bradfordexchange

Meadow’s Edge Collector Plate Collection

Meadow's Edge Collector Plate Collection
Source:bradfordexchange

Thomas Kinkade Art Romantic Collector Plate

Thomas Kinkade Art Romantic Collector Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

Cherished Christmas Memories Personalized Collector Plate

Christmas Memories Personalized Collector Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

Jack And Sally Personalized Glow-In-The-Dark Plate

Jack And Sally Personalized Glow-In-The-Dark Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

Marilyn Monroe Framed Oval Collector Plate

Marilyn Monroe Framed Oval Collector Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

James Hautman “Love Birds” Framed Plate

James Hautman Love Birds Framed Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

Thomas Kinkade Winter Wonderland Personalized Holiday Plate

Thomas Kinkade Winter Wonderland Personalized Holiday Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

The Light Of Peace Personalized Collector Plate

The Light Of Peace Personalized Collector Plate
Source:bradfordexchange

A Guide to Estimating the Cost of Your Plate

You can determine the value of a collector plate on your own with a little bit of study whether you’re interested in buying or selling one, or if you’re just wondering about how much it’s worth in general. The following is a guide to getting started:

Shape of plate

Check to see what kind of shape your plate is in. Be truthful about any problems the item may have, but also make note of other details, such as whether or not the original packaging is included.

Identify your plate

Examine the reverse stamp first, since this will provide information on the maker and the series.

The Bradex number is another tool that may be used to determine the location of a number of plates within a series.

This number begins with a country code, which is 84 for plates made in the United States. This is followed by a dash, a Bradford Exchange indicator of a letter and number combination, and then another dash, which is followed by the plate’s number within a series.

This format is applicable to plates made by a wide variety of manufacturers, not just those produced by the Bradford Exchange.

Find out how much other plates like yours go for by looking up the price of comparable places on the following websites:

  • Etsy
  • Bradford exchange
  • eBay

Because of the overhead costs associated with running a business, Entrepreneur Magazine reports that you may anticipate receiving a price for your plate that is lower than the sales price at shops.

It is always a good idea to get your plate professionally assessed if you have any reason to believe that it could be particularly valuable.

Don’t Forget Sentimental Value

Even while the monetary worth of many collector plates is relatively low in comparison to the price at which they were first purchased, the emotional value of these collectibles should not be ignored.

Be sure not to minimize the significance of the dishes as heirlooms in the family.

There is a chance that their worth will go up in the years to come if you keep them for the foreseeable future, admire them for their aesthetic appeal, and use them as inspiration for your own creative endeavors.

Now is the time to educate yourself on the values of antique dishes in order to determine whether or not you are sitting on a hidden gem.

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