A recent email by a visitor to my web site asked a question that I get a lot – what’s my china worth? There are many variables when it comes to determining the value of china – just as there are with all antiques and collectibles. So what are these components of value? Here they are (not in any particular order): Age, Rarity, Condition, Marketability and the latest trends or styles, Provenance (who owned it before you), and finally, the Economy. Our current lifestyles also have a detrimental effect on the value of fine china. Few people have fancy dinners in a separate dining room. We all say we have no time to polish silver, iron tablecloths or wash china by hand instead of putting it into the dishwasher. This means that fewer people want these items and that affects their price.
So what about this china? This set of dishes was made of “semi – porcelain”. It was made by the Cronin China Company. The company was first started in Minerva, Ohio and was in business from 1934 until 1956 when it was taken over by the United States Ceramic Tile Company. The plant still operated under the name Cronin however the mark at left is from the second period, presumably in the 1960’s. According to an online source, the National Brotherhood of Operative Potters was founded in 1890 when skilled pottery workers and unionists in the vicinity of East Liverpool, Ohio, broke away from the then faltering Knights of Labor. Obviously they were still in existence more than 60 years later! So how valuable is this type of dishes? Although there are many patterns that are very attractive ( I have a similar set that belonged to my grandmother and mother) the fact is that the dishes were not considered expensive. As a matter of a fact some dishes of this style were given away as tokens in boxes of laundry detergent or with tea coupons. But what about the 22 Karat Gold?? The reality is that if you could afford Wedgwood, Crown Derby, or even Royal Albert dishes you did not need to be told that the gold was real – you just knew it was. The company did not have to advertise it. Only in this kind of inexpensive dishes was it promoted in this manner in order to impress the buyer. Having said that many people took good care of their china and many sets are still available today. This means you can probably find pieces to complete your set should you want to. Complete place settings routinely sell for $20 – 25 per setting and sets with serving pieces increase the overall value.