Today, collectible plates do not hold as much importance and value as they were in the 1970s and 1980s.
During that period, they used to be expensive and hold more value, but today, you can find them for only a few dollars apiece.
However, there are still some of the plates that are for thousands of dollars either because of their antique value, with some dating back to the 1930s and 1920s.
The key point to determining the value of the collectors’ plates is to know about the era in which they were made and the notable manufacturers of those plates.
What Are Collector Plates?
Like any other vintage item, collector plates are the collectible articles that were in the limelight during the decade of 1970s and 80s. Collectors preferred to buy collector plates made up of porcelain to decorate their homes and or as an investment option.
However, with time these plates started to lose their worth, and as mentioned earlier, they sell now for $10 or even less. Some good-conditioned plates may be worth more than this.
The collector plates having some artists’ work on them or any other specialty may be worth thousands of dollars as well.
Some people may have some associated emotions and other sentimental value with these plates. Because of a cultural event, the era they belong to, or they may belong to their previous generation.
A Brief History Of The Collector Plates
Behind the Frozen Window was the first collector plate which was also the first Christmas plate produced by the company Bing and Grondahl in 1895. Today this plate is worth DKK 28, 995 or $3967.
These plates were meant to be collectible in the later years; therefore, they were manufactured in batches and in limited editions.
When it comes to the production of the plates, China surpasses the production of porcelain plates before Europe and the US. The US was far behind Europe and China in the production of collector plates.
The European royals would buy or take these decorative plates from China with them to back Europe. After the popularity gained by these plates among the masses, Europe started the production of these plates, and later, the trend emerged in the US as well.
With the foundation of J. Roderick McArthur’s Bradford Exchange in 1973, an era of great advancement started in the world of collector plates.
How To Identify The Collector Plates?
Like any other vintage item, these collector plates are also recognized based on some of the characteristics which also determine their price.
Thankfully, when it comes to collector plates, identifying them is not as trickier compared to other vintage stuff, which can be easily replicated.
The most important thing you need to consider when you think of buying collector plates is to collect as much information as you can about the different styles and designs of antique collector plates.
Knowing the famous styles, patterns, as well as the material used to make collector plates during vintage times will significantly help you in identifying the authenticity of the plates.
In addition, having background knowledge of the famous collector plate manufacturers of the time is also important.
Having such information will make it easier for you to see whether the plate is real or fake. Moreover, these plates have different editions and names from which you will be able to identify them.
How To Determine The Value Of Collector Plates?
Determining the collector plates values is worth learning about. If you want to buy collector plates, all you need to know is to have background information about the company that manufactured them and the other characteristics that may affect the value of the collector’s plate.
Factors Affecting The Value Of The Collector Plate
As stated above, not all the collector plates value much today. Therefore, you need to look for several factors that are responsible for deciding the value of these plates.
1. Manufacturing Date
Plates from the 1920s are most valuable today, but of course, they also need to be in good condition to be worth more. Plates manufactured after the 1980s are not of much value. So, if you are looking for some valuable plates, you should search for the plates before 1930.
Collector plates have very detailed back stamps on them, flip the plate and know the date of the piece. As some of these plates were made solely to be collectives after some time, such plates are very easy to identify.
These plates were stamped with the number of the plate, series, the name of the manufacturer, and the date as well. It will make it easy to determine when the collector plate was manufactured to determine its worth.
2. Condition Of The Plate
Like any other vintage item, the condition of the collector plates is also worth a lot in deciding their monetary value. The plates’ condition can be determined by the following factors
● Mint Condition
The Mint condition of the plate means that the plate comes with the original box. It indicated that the owner had taken well care of the plate and box as well. The presence of the original adds much value to the selling plate.
The plate is in this condition and is without any chips, damage, or scratches as it has never been used before.
Mint condition plates are rare, but such plates are more expensive than any other collector plates.
● Excellent Condition
In this condition, the plates also come with a box, but the box is not in good condition. It may be worn out that lowered the price as compared to the mint-conditioned plates.
The plates in excellent condition are with any discoloration, damage, staining, or cracking. So there is no harm to the plate, and it is completely intact, but the condition of the box lowered its price a bit.
● Good Condition
The plates are in good condition means that the plate is intact and without any damage, but the box is not. The plate does not have the original box. The collector only has the plate but not the box.
In some cases, there can be some discoloration or minor signs of use of the plate. This is why the value of a well-conditioned plate is less.
● Fair Condition
The plate in a fair condition means that it has been in use and has obvious signs of usage. It may have chips, cracks, discoloration, or some other damages as well.
This ultimately negatively affects the worth of the collector plates.
However, it depends from dealer to the dealer how they define the value of the collector plates, but in general, these four points are considered by the dealer when they are either buying or selling the plates.
3. Who Is The Manufacturer?
The major manufacturers of the collective plates are the key point to determining the value of the plates as well as identifying them. Over the years, there have been many companies that manufactured collector plates, but few of them hold quite a prestigious place.
The most notable feature of the Bing & Grondahl is that they produced the first-ever collector plate with the theme of Christmas in 1895. It was named “behind the frozen window,” which today possesses a monetary value of $2500.
Other well-maintained and old plates from this company are worth around $100. You may find some of these for even less than 10 dollars.
Wedgewood is famous for giving its plates a striking blue color which became a manner for their recognition. This iconic blue color made the plates look more decorative and lovely.
But these plates today do not hold much value. If you buy an individual plate, then the value will be much less; however, a set of 13 Wedgewood plates will cost you around $150.
Royal Doulton plates today do not value much. A Royal Doulton collector plate from the 1930s would be around $200 depending on the condition, whereas its plates from the 1970s sell for less than $10.
Royal Copenhagen collector plates show a great variation in price depending on the time when they were manufactured. Its plates from the early 1900s sell for more than $3000, whereas those from the 1970s show dramatic variation and sell for around $80 or $50.
Bradford Exchange is an iconic name and was a major manufacturer in the collector plates world. They started manufacturing their series of plates.
Their set of mint collection plates costs $200 only in the auction market. At the same time, individual plates sell for less than $1.
Franklin mint was one of the most famous manufacturers of collector plates. He specifically hired artists to produce a series of plates.
A well-maintained plate set produced by Franklin Mint is for 90 dollars, whereas its single plate sells for $6 today.
While looking for the factors that may affect the value of the collector plates, you need to consider the limited edition of the plates produced by the manufacturers. It means that the manufacturers deliberately made a limited set of plates to keep them rare for a lifetime.
Their value can be affected by the number of such rare plates available in the market. If there are hardly 10-20 plates on the market, then for sure such collector plates have high prices.
The first is always rare. For example, the first collector plate by Bing & Grondahl, “Behind the Frozen Window,” costs thousands due to its rarity. The manufacturer, for the first time, introduced not only the collector plates but also the Christmas theme on these plates.
5. Artists’ Work
The work of an artist on the collector plates is always worth more than any other ordinary plate. Many artists have produced their work represented on a single plate of the series of plates.
Some plates having work of the artists have more value, whereas some have little or no value today. It depends on the worth of the artist as well.
The work of the artist Ted DeGrazia on the collector plates can fetch around $1000 on each plate. Even the plate signed by Picasso was worth thousands of dollars.
The Theme Of The Collector Plates
Collector plates follow a certain theme which makes them even more valuable. Some of them have common themes which are more appealing and attractive and make them even to worth more than the other
Here are some of the common themes these old plates possess
This is one of the most important themes of the collector plates. These were made by the Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl, due to which they fetch more money than the other.
The very first Christmas theme plate named “Behind the Frozen Window” was made by Bing & Grondahl. It was also the first manufactured collector plate.
You can find the plates from both these manufacturers at replacements.com from the early 1940s.
2. Birds and Nature
This is another very common theme among the collector plates. Plates highlighting the images of nature and birds are attractive universally, and they can be valuable a lot in the auction market.
For instance, plates by Lena Liu are sold for over $100 in the Hummingbird Treasury Collection at The Glass Menagerie.
Although plates featuring a NASCAR theme have less value, they are fun to collect. They are either $20 or less in price but are very popular among racing enthusiasts.
Easter-themed plates are not as valuable as Christmas-themed plates, but still, they have retained their worth. For example, easter plates by Bing & Grondahl are worth $80 at Antique Cupboard.
5. Fairy Tale Theme
Plates featuring fairy tale themes contain images from different fairy tales that look attractive on the plates. Many classical plates of this theme can be very valuable.
You can find Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales from Royal Copenhagen at replacements.com
15 Most Valuable Collector Plates
Although the collector plates lost their worth after the second half of the 20th century, there are still some of the plates of famous manufacturers that hold great value.
Here is the list of the most valuable plates
1. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
The Picasso ceramic plate signed with Pablo Picasso’s signature has an exceptional value. A set of nineteen silver plates was sold for $1,265,000 in 2017, stamped with Pablo Picasso’s signature.
A single plate of Picasso ceramics was sold for $8125 in May 2020.
2. Behind The Frozen Window
Plates from the very famous Bing and Grondahl cost much of your worth from their Christmas series. The legendary “Behind the Frozen Window” is worth $4000 today.
3. A Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Nizami Plate
This plate was sold for GBP 1560
4. A Wedgwood Creamware Plate From The Prince Of Wales Service
The royal collection has thirty pieces from the prince of wales service plates, including an oval serving dish. This plate was sold for GPB 2000 in 2017.
5. A Wedgwood and Bentley plate from ‘The Frog Service’ made for Catherine The Great
This plate from Wedgewood costs more than you can think of. The reason for such a huge amount is that it was made for Catherine the Great, who was the empress of Russia. It was sold for GBP 16 450 in 2001.
6. Four Sterling Silver Bird Plates
A series of Audubon bird plates with a unique pattern of various birds engraved on them was released by the Franklin mint. This series is among the most valuable plate sets manufactured by Franklin Mint. These plates were sold for $555 on eBay.
7. Set Of Four Bicentennial Plates
Franklin Mint released this set of engraved and gold-plated sterling silver to honor the United States Bicentennial in 1976. This set was sold for $700
8. Single Star Trek Plate Featuring The USS Enterprise
This official star trek plate by Franklin Mint was released in 1999 and is among the hot collector plates. This plate was sold for $375
9. Richard Nixon Plate
Honoring Richard Nixon, this plate was released in 1973 by Franklin Mint. This plate is priced at $185 on eBay.
10. Royal Doulton Early Motoring 13.5″ Charger – Impressed date of 12-08 (Dec. 1908)
Although the plate is used, it is in perfect condition, just as the mint condition, which makes it priced high at $950.
11. Royal Doulton Cobalt dinner plates gilded
The condition is used, but the plates are in excellent condition. This article is priced at $2150 on eBay.
12. Bradford Exchange-REPUBLIC Of CHINA 12 Plate SET COMPLETE/PRISTINE
This set of plates is priced at $576, and the condition of the plates is new.
13. Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Plate Design. Imps on Bridge by Daisy Makeig-Jones
Although the plate is used due to its antiquity, it is priced at AU $11 600 on eBay.
14. Antique Coalport Plate, Jeweled & Hand Painted, Exhibition Quality
This antique collector plate by Coalport is priced at US $1650 due to its excellent quality.
15. Antique Coalport Cobalt Blue Figural Plate, 19th Century
This cobalt blue Coalport plate is auctioned at the US $599.
Where Can You Buy Collector Plates?
Here is the list of some of the places where you can buy collector plates
1. Physical Store
Collector plates can be found easily in physical stores near you. If you are well aware of the stores that have antique and vintage stuff, then you should visit them. They will also have some of the old plates.
You can ask your friends if they know any of the stores that sell collector plates. Then make a thorough visit to the store and get the one you like the most.
2. Thrift Stores
Thrift stores are always a priority for those who buy various collectives because thrift stores have a lot of used items from the past.
Visit any thrift stores that deal with buying and selling old items. Even if you do not succeed in finding collector plates in any store, you might get to know another store that has such plates.
Your visit to the thrift store will never disappoint you.
Considering buying and selling old and antique stuff, eBay must come to your mind. This online website has various collector plates with the price mentioned with each plate or set of plates.
Go to the eBay website and grab your favorite collector plate to décor your home. You can even find the plates with the theme on them.
Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce markets that offer a wide range of buying and selling different products. This also includes the old and antique items.
Check their website and find what kind of collector plate you need. The price and the details of the plates are tagged along. It makes it easier for you to select the plates of your range and decide what you want.
Etsy is another online market for buying vintage stuff. Search for collector plates, and they will give you a list of the available items.
Go through them well and then buy what you need the most.
Christie’s will help you a lot regarding the auction of various vintage items. They also have the items that were sold in an auction. So, you can check the worth of the items that were sold earlier.
If you want to buy a collector plate, then check their website to see if they have any current auctions going on. You can enter your search for the plates by using the name of the manufacturing company, and then you will get the required result.
All you need to do is search thoroughly and get an idea of the auction and the value of the plates. Then you are all set to buy collector plates.
Find Your Vintage Collector Plate
We have provided you with a detailed guide as to how you can identify antique collector places, determine their value, and places where you can buy them for cheap.
By now, you must have had sufficient information to find a vintage collector plate to add to your antique collections.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Your recommendation and suggestion matter a lot to us. We are looking forward to hearing back from you in the comments section.