Word of the Week: Backstamp

This is in relation to ceramics – it’s the maker’s mark that you often find on the bottom of a piece of pottery or a piece of dinnerware.

Backstamps are useful to pay attention to because they often tell you the name of the maker, where the piece was made, and maybe even the date or pattern name. Oftentimes you can tell the date of a piece just by what kind of backstamp it has – if you’re familiar enough with the history of the company, of course.

If you’re a seller, these are vital to document in your listings. Also make sure you take a picture of it, so people can see it for themselves!

Advertisements

My Weekly Score: Noritake ‘Tree in the Meadow’ Waffle Set

Here’s a beautiful find for this week. It’s a berry creamer (which I assume is just a small pitcher to hold your fruit sauce) and a sugar shaker set, used for waffles or pancakes. This was made by Noritake and is in the pattern called “Tree in the Meadow.”

These are absolutely gorgeous. It comes in a beautiful array or oranges and yellows, and depicts a house near a tree that sits alongside a pond.

You can see the stamp below, which indicated that it was made in Japan and is also hand painted. The symbol in the center (the ‘M’ inside the wreath) stands for “Morimura” and is Noritake’s most common stamp.

We bought this set for $17.50 and were able to sell it for $55.00!

Have you ever come across a waffle set before? What about any more pieces in this pattern? I looked it up on Replacements and the set is just stunning. I hope we come across some more of it soon!

Word of the Week: Footed

This is sort of an arbitrary term to define, but basically this describes something that has a stem and base or legs attached to a bowl, cup, etc.

As always, it’s best to show it in pictures. First we have a typical “footed bowl,” with three or more legs. Sometimes these can look like actual feet (usually of animals, like a lion), other times they’re just plain legs found at the bottom of the bowl.

The feet on this one are actually in the shape of shells, to match the design of the rest of the bowl.

The second type is also often referred to as footed, or even “stemmed.” This is typically seen with glasses that have a long stem, then a round base at the bottom.

It’s as easy as that!

Resource Guide: Replacements

Replacements.com is an extremely helpful website. We mostly use it to find the pattern names of items or to figure out what a specific piece is called if it’s specialized and not in your typical lineup. This site has a lot of information stored within its pages, so just like with the last resource guide I did on Ddoty’s Carnival Glass website, I’ll show you the most helpful sections.

When you first go to Replacements, this is the screen that you’ll see:

These screenshots didn’t come out very well this time around for some reason. You can click on the picture for a BIG (and clear) version.

The home page has some history of the site and some links that you might want to check out. The site is mainly used by people who have a dinnerware set that they need replacement pieces for. Replacements is actually a warehouse that stores (or has contacts who have) all sorts of different sets. Although it can be a bit pricey, sometimes this is the best way to find that long-forgotten piece of Aunt Betty’s Christmas dinner plates that you broke when you were 12.

Now, look up at the top left-hand corner of the site:

Here you’ll see the different categories that the website provides. You can click through these to get a feel for what the site holds, but the easiest way to find what you’re looking for is to use the search box in the upper right-hand corner.

We got a set of dishes in the other day. They’re by Dansk and are in the “Nordic Garden” pattern. (You might have seen a picture of them when I posted about them on our Facebook page.) For the purposes of this search, however, I’m just going to pretend that I don’t know the pattern name. Now, it takes a little bit of practice to know what the typical terms used to describe some of the patterns are, but if you keep trying different synonyms, you’ll find what you’re looking for eventually.

For this search, I knew what the terms were, so I just plugged in “Dansk Lattice Flowers” and it brought up the correct pattern. (I’ll get to how I knew what to put in the search in a minute.) Here’s what the page looks like:

The first box you see, at the top, shows you what your search terms were. You can adjust your search right here if it doesn’t bring up what you’re looking for the first time around.

The box all the way to the left gives you a list of items to better narrow down your search. I especially like using this for flatware. If I put in the term “Oneida,” I get almost 46,000 results. If I narrow that down to “Oneida Sterling Floral,” it cuts the result to 45. However, that’s still five pages to scroll through – not a lot, but we can do much better. Lastly, say it’s the demitasse spoon that I have in my hands. I’ll click on that and it’ll give me a single result – “Afterglow” by Oneida. You won’t always come up with a single result, but it’ll be much easier going through ten pictures instead of ten thousand!

The box directly to the right of this one is probably the most important section on this page. The link at the top of it tells you who the maker is (Dansk China) and what the pattern name is (Nordic Garden). If you click on it, it takes you to the pattern’s page (we’ll get there in a second). Below that is the description of the piece. This is how I knew which search terms to choose. Note here that they used the word “flowers” to describe this pattern. However, some other patterns with flowers on them will be described as “floral,” which is why you have to sort of guess a few times until you end up finding the right listing. The description is also nice if you can’t see the details of the picture and, for example, want to know at a quick glance if the color is blue or green. It won’t always be listed, but it does help.

Below that is the name of the piece – this one being the 13” chop plate and the one below that being the 56oz pitcher. This is helpful when you’re looking for one specific piece. Ignore the next two lines – they’re specifically geared for Replacements’ purposes (although you might need these if you plan on ordering from them). The last line shows the price. In my opinion, this is not useful to buyers or sellers. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll always find it cheaper somewhere else on the web. I find that Replacements is generally about twice as expensive as a typical eBay listing.

The last box in this section is around the picture. Pictures are helpful for the obvious reasons, and it’s nice to be able to scroll down the page and quickly find what you’re looking for.

Two very important notes:

1. Replacements does not have every single pattern or piece listed. It’s an excellent catalog, but it is in no way complete.

2. Not all listings will have a picture, which is another reason why the description is helpful.

If you click into the first listing there (the one for the chop plate), you’ll come to this page:

This page lists all of the pieces that they know of that are in this specific pattern. Here’s a close up:

Look at the first box. The top line tells you the item number (again this is Replacements’ item number and is pretty useless unless you want to order from them) and the years that the pattern was produced. The dates won’t always be there, but it’s really helpful when they are. I’ve caught myself a few times calling a piece “vintage” when in reality it’s a lot newer than that – this part of the website it really useful.

The next two lines are a repeat of what was on the previous page – the manufacturer/pattern name and the description.

The next box says, “Click Here for Gallery of Available Images on this Page.” If you click on this link, it’ll open up a box with pictures of each item in this pattern that has an image uploaded to the page. This is super helpful if you don’t know the name of what you have and would rather search by image than try to figure it out by reading through the titles of each piece. Here’s what the pop up window looks like:

There are often several pages, so make sure you look through them all. Also be aware that some images are simply illustrations, not actually photographs, which aren’t really helpful. Most of the time, though, it should have what you’re looking for!

The last red box on this page is around the words “Rim Soup Bowl.” This is the piece that I was initially looking for, and this is the spot that will give me some information about it. You can ignore the first two columns in this line because they’re strictly for Replacements buyers. The next column tells us the name of the piece. You can also click on this to bring up a picture of what you’re looking for, just to make sure it’s the same thing.

Perfect match!

The last column you see here shows the size of the piece (in inches). This is especially helpful when you have two pieces that are similar (say, a bread and butter dish and a salad plate), that have the same exact pattern. You won’t be able to tell from the picture which is which, so it’s nice to have these measurements for backup. To the right of this you’ll be able to read some short notes, the price Replacements has this set at, and a way to order the pieces.

There you have it! Replacements is an extremely in-depth site. They have a lot of information on it that we don’t even touch, so make sure you spend some time exploring it and making it work for you. We find this site especially helpful when we know the manufacturer of the piece, but not the pattern. Sometimes the search can become lengthy and tedious, but it’s always worth it when you finally discover the name of what you’re looking for!

Have you ever used Replacements before? Ordered from them? Have you ever experienced that euphoria that comes with finally discovering the name of an unknown pattern? If you have any questions, or need additional help/tips, just ask in the comments below!

How to Sell: Anchor Hocking

(This post is going to be short and sweet today. We’re about to change up Mondays around here, and things are about to get a lot more interesting!)

In 1905, a man named Isaac J. Collins and six of his friends pooled $8,000 and bought the Lancaster Carbon Company in Lancaster, Ohio. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to start operations in the Black Cat facility (so named because of all the carbon dust). With the help of E.B. Good (and an extra $17,000), however, Collins was able to start off with one building, 2 day-tanks, and 50 employees.

It was renamed the Hocking Glass Company, after the Hocking River that was located nearby.

We have this labeled as a relish dish, but it’s possible that it could be a divided bowl for vegetables. This is an example of pressed glass that could’ve come from one of the molds the company developed (below).

In 1924, the Black Cat facility burned to the ground. Without missing (much of) a beat, they built another plant and took over a second one. When the Depression hit in 1929, this company was one of the ones that actually wasn’t severely crippled. This was because they had developed a machine that raised their production from one item per minute to 30 items per minute. When things got really bad, they developed a 15-mold machine that could actually produce 90 pieces per minute. They could sell tumblers for “two for a nickel” and still make money to survive the terrible economic times.

It was in 1937 that the Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation and the Hocking Glass Company merged and formed the Anchor Hocking Glass Company. By 1969 they were a worldwide company and started producing more than just glass. This is when the company finally became what we know it as: Anchor Hocking.

(All information came from this fabulous website: The Anchor Hocking Glass Museum.)

This is a gorgeous set of tumblers with a white swirl/gold heart pattern.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, it’s important to include some (but probably not all) of this information in your listings. Not only might your buyers be interested in learning this, but it will increase your own knowledge base and it makes you appear more credible. Buyers will know that you’re not just a random person selling what you found in your basement, but someone who has researched the products that you sell.

You might want to fall back on our Pyrex post because a lot of the same general rules will still apply – pattern names, shapes, condition, dates, etc.

The casserole is by Anchor Hocking, through the trivet/basket might have come separately and from somewhere else.

When using Terapeak.com, I found that there are two incredibly popular (and valuable) Anchor Hocking pieces:

1. Jadeite (also seen as Jadite) – Sets, mugs, plates, vases, etc. This is beautiful and highly collectible. If you see the name Anchor Hocking on the bottom of anything that looks like Jadeite, buy it!

2. Milk Glass Mugs – Some of them have patterns, some of them don’t. If you see a cool retro mug, it’ll probably be worth your time and investment. This is especially true if it has a well-known character on it like Mickey Mouse or Snoopy.

Keep your eye open for Fire King – that’s made by Anchor Hocking too. This is their Meadow Green pattern and is a covered casserole dish.

Anchor Hocking has almost 8,000 pieces on Replacements alone, so there are tons of patterns and styles to look for. Do some research and see what you’re attracted to and what’s selling well. Remember to fall back on our How to Sell: Dinnerware post for information about the best way to sell things like these!

My Weekly Score: Moderntone Soup Bowls

We had a little surprise waiting for us this week: one of our older listings sold for a nice amount of money. It was a great lesson in patience and how having a little bit of it can really make all the difference in the world.

What you see below is a set of four cream soup bowls from the Hazel Atlas Glass Company. They are made of a gorgeous cobalt blue colored glass and have a handle on each side, plus a ribbed pattern across the outside of the bowl. The pattern name is “Moderntone.”

This pattern was produced in West Virginia and Ohio between 1934 and 1942. It was also produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

We got a whole set of these dishes for around $75. We haven’t sold them all yet, but we’ve more than doubled our money already. These four bowls alone brought in $60. Yay!

I love anything in this beautiful cobalt color. What about you? Do you have a favorite color of glassware?

My Weekly Score: Adams Dinnerware

This edition of My Weekly Score is going to discuss Adams dinnerware in general, but also two specific patterns: Lowestoft and Singapore Bird. We’ve had enormous success with both of these types of patterns, and now Adams dinnerware will forever be on our “to buy” list.

Replacements tells us that in the late 1600’s, John Adams built a factory in Staffordshire, England to house his Adams China company. They mainly reproduced patterns from the Orient, as the English had a fascination with the floral and geometric designs.  In 1779, his son William created another factory, this time in Tunstall, England. William had previously worked for Josiah Wedgwood (yes, that Wedgwood), and had seen how Josiah experimented with clays in order to form the jasperware that would soon become quite collectible. William made his own experiments, and developed what we now know as ironstone. Throughout the next century, the Adams ironstone gained in popularity.

Adams dinnerware is still popular today, which you’ll see from our two success stories below.

First we had the Lowestoft pattern. We bought this as a lot, which is always the best way to go about buying dinnerware. We finally settled on $120 before we came out victorious. When we got home we looked them up. They were selling pretty well, so we decided to list them in groups of four when possible. We also sold the specialty pieces (ie. gravy boat, platter, vegetable bowl, etc.) individually. We just sold the last piece the other week, and we were finally able to see how we made out. In the end, we more than doubled our money and ended up with $329.99 in our pockets. Whoo hoo!

The second pattern, Singapore Bird, sold even better than the first one. We nabbed this lot for $170 and we were already certain we had some good stuff on our hands because of how the last Adams set went. We looked these up, too, and did the same thing we did with the other ones. When the listings went live, the numbers kept rising and we got some really great bids. We’ve still got a few sets left, but most of this is gone. So far, we’ve racked up $972.18.

So, if you’re out dinnerware shopping, make sure you keep an eye out for Adams dinnerware. Not every pattern is going to get you a home run, but it might be a safe bet to try anyway. Always do your research, though, and don’t take risks unless you’re ready to fall flat on your face (that’s happened to us, too). Pay particular attention to the two patterns above, because you should be able to make a nice profit from them if you can get a set cheap enough.

Good luck!

P.S. We wrote up a “How to Sell” guide earlier in the week, and it’s all about dinnerware. Check it out here!