How cute is this little graphic? I've linked an article published in Country Living, highlighting some of the most popular types of floral china in US history. Chances are you've seen at least a few of these at grandma's house or during a holiday dinner gathering.
So, how "valuable" is the china you have? When pricing china, the first thing you need to remember is that there is a difference between value and worth...and sometimes it's a big difference.
Value: "What it's worth to me." Value is not a real number, but more of an individual or societal preference. If you are emotionally attached to an item, chances are you feel it's quite valuable For me, my college sweatshirt is pretty darn valuable, but most people would find it virtually worthless. Along those same lines, many people assume that as a buyer of antique china and glassware, I am very interested in Waterford pieces. This isn't the case. I don't really care for crystal personally and have no interest in renting it through PLP, so it doesn't hold a lot of value for me. However, I know that as a society people feel Waterford is valuable, so if I found myself with a set I would know better than to just give it away for next to nothing.
Worth: Worth comes from the viewpoint of the owner or buyer of the china and what they expect to sell or buy it for, or pay to replace it if damaged.
In an ideal scenario, you find a buyer that values the china as much as you do, and feels that the price you have set is worth paying. I can tell you from experience that the stars rarely align in this fashion. More often than not, people are selling china because a relative has given it to them and they don't have room for it or won't use it, or they truly need the money. In these cases, they tend to over-value the item beyond what others feel it's worth. The most dreaded phrase I hear when china hunting is "Replacements.com says it's worth...." Well no, not really. Replacements.com is selling just that.. replacements. If you have a full service for 12 and break a dinner plate, it] may be worth it to you to pay $50 to replace that one plate. You value your complete set, so the higher cost of the individual plate worth it. It does not mean that you should take your 12 dinner plates, times it by $50 and try to sell them for $600. China is always worth more individually to separate buyers than it is as a set to one person because the value lies in the completed set.
In my opinion, the best way to price china is to comparison shop. Look on Ebay, Craigslist, talk to local experts and see what others are selling at. Ebay actually has some very helpful buying guides. It may take a few pricing adjustments but eventually you'll find the sweet spot- that magic price where you feel you've made some good money and the buyer feels they've gotten a great deal. At the end of the day, your china is only worth what someone will pay for it.