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Buyer's Guide

Our china is almost always pre-loved. All of the items we sell online are in 'Very Good' or 'Good' condition: for more information you can read our grading criteria below. Rest assured - we only sell china that we would be happy to receive ourselves.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of our replacement service:

Standard Condition Definitions

The life cycle of every plate, cup and bowl varies considerably. Some will be put through their paces on a daily basis, others will only come out at Christmas. We have a set of standard condition guidelines to make buying our pre-loved china as simple as possible - but as the life of each item is unique, then so is its condition. If the condition of an item does not meet your expectations, please contact us

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Pieces in 'Very Good' condition (Green graded items, identified with a 'G' on the receipt) will have no obvious flaws and may have some light wear from occasional use:


Pieces in 'Good' condition (Yellow graded items, identified with a 'Y' on the receipt) may have a few minor flaws and moderate wear from daily use:


Red Grade. We do occasionally receive pieces that do not meet our normal grading criteria. These items are available at a reduced price. They are not listed on our website as the condition of these items vary considerably and it is advisable that you discuss the items with one of our Sales Advisers. You can contact our Sales Advisers by calling 01926 512402.

Period / Collectable Condition Definitions

Pieces in 'Very Good' condition (Green graded items, identified with a 'G' on the receipt) will have no obvious flaws and may have some light wear from occasional use:


Pieces in 'Good' condition (Yellow graded items, identified with a 'Y' on the receipt) may have a few minor flaws and moderate wear from daily use:

Item Guide

Cups

Occasionally there is confusion about cup types. Though it may seem self-explanatory, here are some item definitions. We have used capacities to illustrate size, but we typically give the height and width of items.

Coffee Cup or Can - a traditional after dinner coffee cup is very small, and is meant for espresso or filter coffee rather than large cups of milky coffee. It will typically hold 100 to 200ml, or 3.5 to 7 fl oz.

Breakfast Cup - normally a similar shape to a tea cup, breakfast cups are larger than their afternoon counterparts. They typically have a capacity ranging anywhere from 300 to 450ml, or 10.5 – 14 fl oz.

Tea Cups - this is a broad description that applies to all other cups not mentioned above. Tea cups come in all shapes and sizes - so be sure to choose the correct version.

Colour Variations

There will often be colour variations between different items within a pattern. This is usually caused by production taking place at different times, with different colours and techniques being used. Hand painted patterns like Denby are particularly noticeable, but lots of older patterns are particularly susceptible to these issues.

The images on our website are intended as guides - to let you know you've chosen the correct pattern or item. Whilst we aim to use high quality images, due to the huge variation in colour settings on computers, no image will provide a perfect representation of an item's colour. If you have a shade you are particularly interested in matching, please contact us - we will do our best to help.

Item Variations

Some manufacturers produced items in a range of different shapes. This is most commonly seen in cups and saucers, but there are occasionally variations with plates and bowls.

We will always include shape variations that we are aware of in the item description - but if you think your item doesn't quite match the one we've described, let us know. This will help us find you the closest possible match.

Size Variations

Due to the production techniques used in the earlier parts of the twentieth century, there are sometimes fluctuations in the size of items. These fluctuations are often very small, but are an unavoidable part of owning vintage china.

Dimensions and Capacities

This may seem self-explanatory, but the way we measure items is as follows:
Plates, bowls, platters and saucers are measured from rim to rim at their widest point
Cups, jars and tall items – the first dimension refers to the diameter, and the second dimension refers to the measurement from the top to the base of the item. Jars are measured without their lids
The capacity of jugs, teapots, coffee pots and hollow-ware items is measured by filling the item to the brim, then measuring the volume of water held.

Back Stamps

In some patterns, a different back stamp simply indicates the period during which it was made - the patterns, shapes and colours remain the same. On some occasions, a new back stamp indicates that the production method has changed - for example a new shape, colour or factory.

When there are significant and noticeable differences between items bearing different backstamps, we will list them separately. Therefore it is very important to double check your back stamp.

Missing Back Stamps

In certain cases back stamps are not applied to items. When we are certain that an item is a near perfect match for a particular pattern, we will list the item under that pattern but will clearly indicate that there is no back stamp.

Due to Denby's glazing process, back stamps are added post-production – which means they can rub off over time. We do sell Denby items without back stamps, but only if we are certain that they are genuine.

Seconds and Other Back Stamp Marks

There are a number of different varieties of back stamp marks – not all of which identify the item as a second. The simplest way to distinguish what a back stamp mark means is to look at whether the mark was added during production or post production.

Marks added during production. They were used to indicate that this was a special service or run. Though we have no way of knowing why a special run was marked as such, these items would have been sold as firsts at the time of production. Marks added post-production will be on top of the glaze. They usually take the form of a strike through the back stamp. This denotes that an item was judged to be a second at the time of production, though the product is most often eye perfect.

Glaze Wear

This is when the glaze of an item is rubbed away, and is distinct from scratches. It often occurs in the centre of plates and is characterised by a dull patch where the glaze has been worn down. It is often only visible on close inspection and will usually be covered when the item is in use.

Period and Collectable Item Guide

Due to the age of these items and the less advanced techniques used during their production, items that we class as Period or Collectable come with their own set of issues – hopefully this section will explain why these features occur and what they mean for using your china.

Crazing

As you can see from this image, crazing is a series of lines within the glaze. It can occur as soon as soon as an item is removed from the kiln, or it can develop over time. It is often more of a cosmetic concern – we do sell items that are very lightly crazed, as they are safe to use. We adjust the price of items that are crazed – light crazing will only usually be seen on yellow grade period items.

Size Variations

Due to the production techniques used in the earlier parts of the twentieth century, there are sometimes fluctuations in the size of items. These fluctuations are often small, but are an unavoidable part of owning vintage china.

Manufacturing Faults

These are due again to production techniques - modern ceramic production has come up with ways to eliminate problems like pitting, grit under glaze and firing marks, but they are present more often in period items.

Pattern Variations

A key feature of older items is variation to patterns. A number of items were hand painted, which will of course result in pattern variations, but sometimes there were mistakes made during the lithographic application process.

Trivet Marks

On older patterns, there are sometimes trivet marks visible on the base of the item. These marks occur during the firing of an item, will usually be glazed over and have no impact on the quality of the item.

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