If you're like most of us, you have a china cabinet (or at least a box) full of old china and glassware. Knowing which antique dishes are worth money can help you choose what to show off and keep and what might be a good choice for selling or giving away.
The worth of your antique dishes, whether they are glassware or china, is important information for insurance and resale purposes too. Plus, it's handy to know a baseline price when you look for additions for your collection.
Five Rare Antique Dishes Worth Money
While most antique and vintage dishes are worth under $100, there are a few that can be incredibly valuable. These are some of the superstar dishes you might want to watch for as you're browsing (and what makes them worth so much).
|Wucai fish jar and cover||$27 million|
|Qing Dynasty Falangcai bowl||$25 million|
|Blue and white dragon jar||$20 million|
|Ruby red Falangcai double lotus bowl||$11 million|
|Falangcai prunus and bamboo bowl||$11 million|
Rare Wucai Fish Jar and Cover - About $27 Million
One of the most expensive dishes ever sold was a rare Wucai (a type of porcelain with a blue underglaze) jar and matching cover. It dates from the mid-1500s and has an incredibly detailed fish painted on it. It was in beautiful condition and sold at Christie's for about $27 million in 2017.
Qing Dynasty Falangcai Bowl - About $25 Million
An 18th century Chinese bowl set auction records in 2023 when it sold for $25 million at a Sotheby's auction. The bowl, measuring less than five inches in diameter, actually only sold for about 150 British pounds back in 1929 because the buyer and seller may not have realized its value. It's crafted from a super rare porcelain called Falangcai, which means "foreign colors." It has a delicate design of trees and is inscribed with a poem.
Large Blue and White Dragon Jar - About $20 Million
Dating from the early 1400s, this dragon vase is over 19 inches tall (kind of amazing it has survived intact for six centuries, right?). It has a delicate decoration in blue of a dragon with five claws and intricate scales. The period of this vase is famous for its blue and white porcelain. This piece sold in 2016 for about $20 million.
Imperial Ruby Red Falangcai Double Lotus Bowl - About $11 Million
Another gorgeous example of Falangcai porcelain, this lovely red bowl dates to about 1722. It's incredibly delicate and only a little over four inches in diameter. The design includes beautiful lotus flowers on fragile stalks. This charming bowl sold for about $11 million in 2019.
Falangcai Sepia Enamel Prunus and Bamboo Bowl - About $11 Million
Also measuring about four inches in diameter, this Falangcai bowl has a pure white background with intricate sepia enamel decorations. The design is of a prunus tree and bamboo plants, as well as some verses of a poem on one side. It's in lovely condition, despite dating from the 1700s. It sold for about $11 million in 2015.
You might notice what these rare dishes worth money all have in common: they are antique Chinese porcelain. Keep an eye out for valuable pieces like these.
Worth of Antique Dishes
Even if your vintage dishes aren't worth millions, they could still be valuable. Antique dishes and glassware are common collectibles. However, pricing can vary from piece to piece and brand to brand.
China Dinnerware Values
A few things come into play when determining the value of china plates, bowls, and platters, and they all work together to determine the actual worth of the pieces.
- Brand - When it comes to the brand, value plays a big role. Hard-to-find antique pieces from well-known companies like Lenox or Welmar may be more valuable than other brands that mass produced their items.
- Pattern or design - A pattern can make a big difference when it comes to figuring out the worth of china. For example, antique Blue Willow china and Brambly Hedge china may not be worth the same amount of money. You may find a strawberry china pattern potentially valuable, depending on the combination of other factors in individual pieces.
- Location - Collectors actively seek pieces, like Limoges china, from a particular region or area. Even pieces made in a particular country, like china from Germany, may hold value differently. These pieces may be valued higher than others due to their popularity and rarity.
- Age - Age plays a big part in how valuable china is to collectors. For example, an antique piece of Rose Medallion china may be worth thousands if it is several hundred years old, while newer pieces of Noritake china are not worth as much.
Other Dishes and Their Values
China isn't the only type of vintage dishware worth money. Blue and white transferware dishes, especially older ones, can be worth a few extra dollars to collectors. Flow blue pieces can be priced depending on their style - Oriental, romantic, or floral - and their age and condition. Keep in mind vintage and modern reproductions do exist.
Specialty dishes like square cake plates may be valued higher or lower, depending on factors similar to those listed above and the materials used in their creation. Pyrex bowls with vintage patterns and vintage Corningware are also collectible.
Sensing a trend in what dishes are worth money? Anything that's rare and handmade, old, and in perfect condition has the potential to be valuable. If you have a piece like that, it's worth checking into the pattern and country of origin to see if you have a treasure on your hands.
Depression-era glassware is super easy to find on the antiques collection circuit or in your favorite thrift store, but figuring out what pieces are worth the most can be difficult. Glassware can include not only drinking glasses but also plates, platters, trays, dishes, and more.
- Pink glass - The pattern, shape, rarity, and condition all make a difference when it comes to determining the value of pink glass.
- Green glass - Green glass is valued similarly to pink, although it's important to note that "green" can range from a lighter, nearly yellow color to a dark, gem-like shade.
- Purple glass - Purple depression era glassware pieces can be worth a bit more because they are rarer and come in more unusual patterns.
Antique depression stemware is also collectible; complete sets in good condition are rare and will be worth more than individual pieces with flaws.
Teapots, Teacups, and Coffee Pots
Teapots and teacups, usually made from porcelain and china, can be valued at fairly high prices if they are aged, authentic, and in good condition. It's easy to find detailed price information about some antique dishes likes these but a lot harder for others. For example, a Meissen teapot is often valued in the thousands of dollars, while you may have to do a little more investigating to determine whether that Japanese teacup is worth as much as you hope.
Entire tea sets are typically worth more than individual pieces, especially for English Bone China tea sets. Look for rare patterns by collectible manufacturers in good condition for the best value for your money.
Ironstone tea and coffee pots are collectible as well as the china pieces. Intricate designs and famous makers like Mason can boost the worth of these items.
While glassware and tea sets are often on lists of antique dishes worth money, there are other drinkware pieces that can be worth a lot too. Crystal stemware that has been around for over a century, especially pieces from famous manufacturers like Waterford, can end up being very valuable to the right collector. Similarly, German beer steins can also fetch a high price if they are older or made by a well-known company.
Learn What Your Antiques Are Worth
Even if you never plan to sell or add to your collection, it's still helpful to know what your antique dishes are worth. Research or get your pieces appraised, so you know a little more about the value of your collection. Now that you have an idea of what your antique dishes are worth, you can decide what you want to show off and what might be worth selling.