What Sells: Dishes

Selling large sets of dinnerware and serving dishes online can be challenging; many would-be buyers are put off by high shipping costs, and often the items are deeply discounted at local department stores and Internet retailers.

Online local classifieds websites, such as craigslist, usually offer the best markets for selling everyday tableware and serving items. Online marketplaces can also be good resources for replacing broken items or completing a collection. Vintage dishes by Dansk, Fiesta, Lu-Ray, Melmac, Mikasa and Russel Wright continue to be popular with collectors.

What Sells

Top-selling brands include:
Research Resources

Replacements has photos of thousands of different china patterns on their website, and is an excellent resource for identifying your items. Visit the website at: http://www.replacements.com/.


Look for these signs of wear and tear:

  • Scratches from utensils on plates, bowls, cups and serving dishes.
  • Cracks and chips (run your finger around the rim, base and handles to detect tiny chips called “flea bites”)
  • “Crazing,” a web-like network of tiny, delicate cracks in the glaze of old dishes
  • Manufacturing defects (uneven glaze, blurry or double stampings)
Key Details

Include these details in your listing:
  • Brand
  • Model or pattern name (if known)
  • Type of item (vase, bowl, plate, etc.)
  • Color(s)
  • Age (if known)
  • Number of place settings (for sets of dishes)
  • Packaging (e.g., New in Box)

Maker’s marks change over time and are critical to assessing an item’s value so include photographs of any markings or stickers in your listing; a jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass will help you read them, as well as spot imperfections and damage.

Storage and Shipping

Store items in a safe place away from pets and children. Be careful when stacking dishes and serving pieces, items can become wedged together resulting in chips or in some cases breakage. Always carry dishes (and other fragile items) with both hands.

Even the sturdiest dishes require ample protection in shipping. Use the original packaging whenever possible; many high-end manufacturers ship their items in dense foam that offers excellent protection. If unavailable, wrap each item with bubble wrap with the bubbles facing toward the item and secure it with invisible tape. If you’re shipping multiple items, place the heavier items on the bottom of the box or consider packing them in separate boxes. Be sure to fill any extra space below and around the item with foam and/or packing peanuts.

Dishes require considerable time and effort to package properly; as few as four place settings may require several boxes to allow for sufficient cushioning. If you’re selling a large set of dishes, determine how many boxes you’ll need before listing, and put the shipping total in your listing.

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