Telling the story of mom’s cherished china
  • On the lookout for small dinner plates
  • On the hunt for the right garden chairs
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    Auction Finds

    On the hunt for fine china

    My friend Fatimah is starting a catering business, so I’m helping her to find exquisite dinnerware at auction prices. That won’t be hard because lovely dinnerware come up for auction pretty often.


    Most of the time, the auctioneers can barely give it away. I’ve seen 80- to 100-piece dinnerware sets go for $50 or less. Apparently, there aren’t too many people around anymore who give lavish dinner parties. Or even have the room at home to store so much of their parents’ china.

    At one of my auction houses recently, about a dozen beautiful sets in stunning patterns by some of the finest makers were laid out on tables. Anyone who appreciates fine china knows these names: Villeroy & Boch. Lenox. Wedgwood (The Wedgwood Pimpernel Pink is in the photo above). Davenport. Aynsley.



    This was one of the house’s high-end sales, so I knew these would not go cheaply. I went to the preview, shot photos of some of the patterns I especially liked, and later showed them to Fatimah, who writes the Healthy Southern Comforts blog. I reminded her that this dinnerware may be out of our price range, but just maybe we’d get lucky.

    Right! It didn’t take long on auction day for me to realize how wrong I was. Most of the patterns were snapped up by phone bidders at prices above $300. So, I just sat back and enjoyed the show, not worried, because I knew that at upcoming auctions, the prices would return to normal.

    Here’s what the patterns sold for:

    dinnerware4aDavenport Imari Floral. 125 pieces. The auction description said this was 19th century, ironstone, circa 1810-1830. Davenport china was made in England. $2,300.

    Villeroy & Boch Botanica. 190 pieces. $1,400.

    Aynsley #7949. 54 pieces. $490

    Syracuse Old Ivory Bracelet. 113 pieces. $400.

    Wedgwood Pimpernel Pink. 89 pieces. $375.

    Villeroy & Boch Naif. 40 pieces. $375.

    Abbeydale Imperial. 45 pieces. $325.

    Copeland Spode’s Italian. 62 pieces. $325.

    Minton Vineyard Blue. 85 pieces. $280.

    Wedgwood Ashford Gray. 82 pieces. $230.

    Lenox Special Ducks. 66 pieces. $150.

    Lenox Summer Harvest. 45 pieces. There were only four dinner plates, and other missing pieces. This pattern was one of my favorites. $80.


    After the auction, I checked the prices of these patterns at, and found that for some, dinner plates alone cost up to $90 each. So, these may have been more of a bargain that I thought (unless you break one and have to replace it).

    A week after this auction, I picked up a set, about 70 pieces, gold band around the edges, for $17.50. Unfortunately, I didn’t examine it beforehand and found that the band had worn off in places. Off to the Salvation Army it goes to decorate someone’s Christmas table.

    Do you still use fancy china on special occasions? Do you actually have fancy china? If so, send me your photos. I’d love to see what you have.


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    1. Hello,
      I’m trying to find to replacement coffee/tea cups for my Lenox Summer Harvest dinerware set. NOT the temperware version. I see pictures on your site. Do you have them? Are they for sale?

      • Hi Joan. Unfortunately, I do not have them. They were purchased by someone else at the auction. I took photos of them before they were sold.

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