Do you want to be able to get an idea of the value of antiques & vintage china - for both buying and selling purposes. This is a self-help page (how to avoid paying experts if possible). To find out for yourself, without referring to an expert, what your item or items are worth, you first need to know what you have, when it was made and who made it. Knowing these key bits of information will allow you to research the value of your item using various resources both online and offline.
This page deals with both how to find out what you have and also how to research it's value for free (without having to pay an expert).
Purchase your own set of pottery and porcelain reference books ( for the UK manufacturers, or for Europe and USA).
Use the free expert advice helplines available at Pottery & Porcelain museums. For example, the Stoke-on-Trent City Museum has an open call line every Tuesday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm (UK time about 6 - 8 hours ahead of North America) where their experts are available to answer questions by phone.
UK. Telephone +44 01782 234567
Dig Out the Best of the Online Research Websites
Researching pottery marks and the value of antiques and vintage china online is a time consuming and often thankless task. The best sites aren't necessarily the ones featured on the first page of results in Google.
You have to dig around much more than that. I wrote an article which explains the finer points of how to search online for fine china identification & value and published it under the heading "China Replacements". Below, on this page, is a list of sites which I found while writing that article - often 'under the radar' of the search engines, but very useful resources indeed.
Apart from on this site, free pottery mark online information is often limited to the websites of antique dealers who tend to have only selective information. The prices shown on the retailer sites are retail prices and give a false impression of what an individual might make if they sold their items at auction. Otherwise, pottery mark identification is only available on fee-based membership sites (and they are too steep for the average person, unless you are a dealer).
As I mentioned above, I have developed a public forum where we all help each other to investigate mysteries.
Below are the websites I highly recommend if you opt for doing your own online research (they are old favourites of mine - all of them have their faults, but their heart is in the right place).....
Continue to the list of the best of the web below ↓
Live Auctioneers - If you know what you've got and know how to describe it in a search - this is the place to get a ball-park value of antiques. It is a network of worldwide Auctioneers who band together to list all past & present auctions. It is free, but you have to sign up and join. An amazing yet little known resource. Use it in conjunction with my 'ready-reckoner price guide'. Get to know how liveauctioneers.com works. I use this facility everyday. Most resources like this have a monthly membership fee. If this website did have a monthly membership fee, I would pay it. The point is, you first have to know what you have - which is where the following websites come into their own.....
Porcelainmarksandmore.com - German and East European porcelain marks - excellent site but uses navigation based on geographical location not maker’s name, so lacks simple alphabetical navigation (can be frustrating for this reason). Some of the main makers marks are only available to those who make a donation to the site - which is well worth it.
efineantiques.com is a complete hotchpotch of a site and very old and frankly weird looking, however, it has one very long page of marks photos and background on manufacturers which is the Niagra Falls of all online information, and quite magnificent to an anorak like me looking to identify stuff so I can know the value of antiques.