A Word On Condition
The Short Explanation:
What does "New" condition mean?
This will only ever appear on lines which are still available in the shops or very recently discontinued and it means exactly that... brand new!
What does "Excellent" condition mean?
Near perfect and as close to new as you are likely to find; very minor wear, occasional very minor seconds but mostly firsts.
What does "Very Good" condition mean?
Probably better condition than the plates on most people's table, but with some minor wear. May include some minor seconds that are in otherwise "Excellent" condition.
What does "Good" condition mean?
Some signs of wear consistent with age. Sometimes includes obvious seconds which are otherwise in Very Good or Excellent condition.
And don't forget. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So if you are not happy with the condition of the items you receive, simply return them to us for a full refund, no questions asked!
The Longer Explanation:
First of all, please note that we never sell items with damage such as nicks, chips, cracks or crazing.
Wear and Tear
It is important to understand that as these items are discontinued, and therefore no longer available new from the manufacturers, it is necessary to source our stock from the second hand market. The majority of our stock therefore has been used and may have been subject to varying degrees of wear and tear.
We endeavour to select our stock with minimal wear and tear and the majority of what we send out is in near new condition. However, there is a direct correlation between scarcity and what, in our experience, customers find acceptable. I.e. If a piece is particularly rare and hard to find then we and our customers are willing to accept a greater degree of wear.
Firsts v Seconds
Seconds are pieces which incurred manufacturing flaws at the point of manufacture and were often sold at a cheaper price at factory outlets or even given away to staff. Many potteries still sell their seconds from their factory shops and through some discount high street stores.
Not all potteries marked their seconds as such, and so if they are good quality seconds it is not always possible to tell. In the case of some hand-painted lines made over many years, a variation which one person regards as a second, another will regard as being correct, and we can't always be sure what the pottery's view was at the time!
Furthermore, with some of the more discerning potteries during times of high quality control, even pieces marked as seconds are near perfect and would therefore be far more desirable to the majority of customers than a piece with more wear and tear, for example.
With the above in mind we treat each piece on it's own merit and grade it within our own system (see below) which is based on wear and tear, obviousness of seconds and scarcity of any given piece.
Our Grading System
We assess and grade all our tableware and collectables into three tiers:
- Very Good
Excellent: Pieces listed in "Excellent" condition (the majority of our stock) are generally in "near new" condition but may have some very slight surface wear consistent with light to normal use. This may include very light cutlery scratching and very slight fading of the main pattern/colour commensurate with age. Mostly they will be firsts but very occasionally may have extremely minor manufacturing blemishes which would not normally be visible without close inspection. Some pieces may be marked as seconds (on or within the backstamp) but it would be difficult to know why.
Very Good: Pieces listed in "Very Good" condition, will generally be as good or better than the typical owner's own service, but may have some surface wear consistent with normal use. This may include light to moderate cutlery scratching, very minor wear to gilding (but without significant gapping), minor pitting/scuffing and/or slight fading of the main pattern/colour. Many pieces will still be firsts but there may also be a greater proportion of seconds (both marked and unmarked on the backstamp). Such seconds will be minor and not obvious but will have some kind of manufacturing flaw or blemish which may be identifiable on quick inspection.
Good: Pieces listed in "Good" condition due to wear and tear are rare on our website as we only tend to sell these if pieces in Excellent or Very Good condition are especially hard to come by. When we do sell them they may have some surface wear consistent with moderate use. This may include moderate cutlery scratching, minor wear to gilding (which may include gapping), pitting/scuffing and/or fading of the main pattern/colour. A significant proportion of "Good" condition items may be obvious seconds but are otherwise in "Excellent" or "Very Good" condition.
Rare and/or Popular Patterns/Pieces
For patterns, or even specific pieces, which are in high demand, particularly scarce and/or very old, we will sometimes accept a slightly lower standard as Excellent, Very Good and Good respectively. i.e. If truly 'near new' pieces are no longer available, then in the context of that item or design, something which has a little more wear, would be regarded as Excellent. However, even in these instances, we never sell items with actual damage, e.g. chips, nicks or cracks. Very occasionally, usually on vintage decorative ware, we may sell a piece with crazing, but this will be detailed in the product description.
For some patterns which were made over many years it is quite common for potteries to make changes to the design. This may be a slight change in colour, e.g. flowers appearing a deeper pink than before. Or perhaps the shape changed with plates now featuring a different rim. Sometimes it will be a variation in the glaze, with previously matt finished items having a new glossier finish.
Where a shape variation exists we will list these separately on our website enabling customers who are seeking out specific variations in shape being able to order the version which matches their set.
With regards to colour and glaze variations we identify these only, where in our experience, most customers are concerned with which variation they receive. However, often customers are simply delighted to receive a high quality replacement and so we do not list every single variation (it would be an impossible task!).
If you have a specific variation and you only want to receive such please contact us before placing your order for any items we have in stock and we will advise you accordingly. If we do not have the items in stock and you ask us to find them for you please give details of the variation along with supporting imagery.