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Discontinued Collectables Guide


Discontinued Tableware - Buying and selling discontinued china and pottery services

Discontinued tableware businesses (i.e. china matching services) are on the rise. After all, there was a time when one could purchase a dinner, tea or coffee service from a department store and walk away with the confidence that should a breakage occur one could return to the same store in years to come to buy a replacement.

Sadly that is no longer the case. While patterns originally made in the 1940s and 1950s were still in production and available to buy in the 1970s and 80s, these days a tableware pattern is considered to have longevity if it is still in vogue after five years.

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The reality is that we are living in a faster paced society where fashions change from day to day, and with increasing competition from overseas, in order to stay competitive the potteries must change their ranges to reflect the demands of the increasingly fashion conscious consumer. Furthermore, it might not just be the tableware pattern that is discontinued. The pottery themselves may well have disappeared. At the turn of the century the UK potteries were thriving, with new potteries springing up all the time. Unfortunately however, war was just around the corner. The war years naturally impacted the potteries with many of their workers being called up to fight overseas, some of their buildings being turned into munitions factories and stores, and the depression killing demand for fine chinas. Many survived however, by accepting the restrictions placed upon them and producing more utilitarian ware. Many of these successful pottery businesses went on to purchase some of the smaller struggling potteries, post war.

In the last half century, we have seen the china and tableware industry become increasingly competitive. Many of the smaller potteries simply did not have the production facilities to produce the variety required to compete with fashions, or the size to achieve the cost savings to compete with overseas markets. One only has to open up an Argos catalogue to find some very nice and very inexpensive tableware settings alongside the better known but more expensive brands. Many of these cheaper ranges are manufactured in the East where both labour and property costs are so much cheaper. These factors have been major contributors to the gradual but significant decline of the number of potteries in existence here in the UK. In fact, there are even less than impressions would indicate, as some of the major names still sold in the china stores such as Johnson Bros, Masons, Royal Albert, Minton etc, are actually owned by one of the two major players in the UK, Royal Doulton or Wedgwood. And sadly even more recently it looks as if these will both go to the same American owners.

Closures, amalgamations, takeovers, fashion changes, improved production processes, competition from overseas have all resulted in a massive increase in the number of discontinued patterns. So where does this leave you, the consumer? Not many people can afford to throw away a discontinued Royal Doulton dinner service after only a few years just because it is not available in the shops anymore. Most of us can't afford to throw away much cheaper ranges. So what's the answer? Well supply has a way of meeting demand. Any economist will tell you that. And a huge marketplace has developed for the buying and selling of discontinued tableware.

This means that consumers can buy replacement china, and even additional place settings for their discontinued tableware services. It also means that should they decide to change their service, they have a marketplace through which they can sell it and reclaim some of the original cost. For older and very sought after patterns this occasionally means that get back more than they originally paid!

To learn more about the best methods of buying discontinued china and tableware, click here.

To learn about the best methods of selling your replacement tableware and china, click here.


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