Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Playing dish detective
Months ago, I was browsing items on eBay and came across a cup and saucer design I would occasionally see in the antique malls. It was called "The Old Curiosity Shop" by Royal China, and I decided I would like to have a cup and saucer in the pattern. The prices on eBay were plenty cheap, but shipping has gone up so much you have to add another $7-$10 to whatever price you find. So, I waited. And the wait was worth it, because over the weekend I found this set for $2.10 at a going-out-of-business antique mall.
The saucer features a design of a teapot, and that's why I wanted this set. I need more cups and saucers like I need a hole in the head, but I have a special affection for items with teawares in the design, so this is one of those "double duty" pieces: it both serves and celebrates tea! Besides, I like the idea of a dinnerware pattern featuring images from an old "Curiosity Shop."
Interestingly, I got home and realized my pieces were unmarked, and I could no longer remember the name of the pattern. I got on eBay and typed in "Old Antique Shop" but that wasn't it. I typed in "green cup and saucer" and came up with some pretty pieces but not my cup and saucer. I think it was when I hit on "green saucer teapot" that I came upon "The Old Curiosity Shop." I just love trying to play Nancy Drew with old pieces. I bought an unmarked oval platter at an estate sale for $1 last week and googled and eBayed until I discovered it was the Marcrest "Swiss Alpine" pattern. One day I suppose I'll actually buy a book about makers' marks and hallmarks, but until then, do you have any tips on how you investigate vintage finds?