Collecting China

1 Conversation

Yet another ongoing h2g2 hobby. Have you ever wondered about 'Royal Doulton'?

Collecting China

A good pot of tea

I used to have just one set of dishes, and I was getting tired of it. I had accumulated the pattern at a local supermarket. It was off-white earthenware with a caramel-brown rim. My dining table needed serious scrubbing, and I was casting about for ways to ensure that it would stay clean and nice-looking.

Then, in early 2000, I hit upon the idea of using tablecloths and good china. The tablecloths would hide the unsightly table surface, and if I replaced them every day, food would not build up on them. The key element seemed to be that having a different pattern every day, on a differently colored table cloth, would ensure that any crumbs or other detritus would get removed by the end of every day.

At first I experimented with some cheap patterns that I got from a railroad salvage place. These turned out to be (a.) yucky or (b.) boring or (c.) a little bit of both. The bottom line, though, was that they were no real improvement over the brown-rimmed dishes I had thrown away after decades of service.

Okay, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew how much I could afford, namely whatever amounts were left over after I had fed myself, paid all the bills, and put money aside for retirement. The only remaining decisions had to do with how to get the patterns. This part of the program divided itself along the following lines:

1. The Internet, mostly EBay and Replacements, Ltd.. I got plenty of good stuff this way. The downside was the drain from the bank account that was hooked up to PayPal.

2. Stores. There were factory outlet stores about 20 miles away. Mikasa, and Pfaltzgraff had stores there in the first half of the decade.

2.a From Mikasa, I collected pieces in the Montpellier pattern
and also Susanne.

2.b. From Pfaltzgraff I collected Amalfi Classic.

2.c. After Mikasa and Pfalzgraff closed their stores, Royal Doulton opened a store. Here I collected Centennial Rose and Royal Albert's "Rose Cameo peach" pattern.

2.d. Eventually, the Royal Doulton store closed as well. However, the Waterford/Wedgewood store, which was nearby, took on some of the Royal Doulton inventory. From Wedgewood, I picked up the India pattern. This store carried the Johnson brothers patterns such as Willow-Blue, Old Britain Castles Pink, and Friendly Village.

2.e. T J Maxx and Marshalls are chains of discount clothing and housewares stores in the US. I was able to pick up pieces of some nice patterns. One particularly nice one was Hutschenreuther's "Baroness Gold" pattern. Another was Nikko's "Precious" pattern as well as its sister pattern "Flirtatious".

2.d. Macy's is a global chain of department stores. Here I collected Lenox's "British Colonial" pattern.

I'm not really into antique china, though I have a few pieces that are 50 or 60 years old. Many of the patterns I own have ceased to be made, but they were still being made when I bought them.

The patterns mentioned above are the most important ones in my collection. You may be wondering how I kept them organized. The answer: Boxes, lots and lots of boxes. I stored extra place settings wherever I could, but one place setting in each pattern was kept in a box, with bubble wrap separating the individual pieces to prevent scratches.

I keep track of the pattern on tap for a particular day by consulting a chart that's on the side of my refrigerator. The chart tells which tablecloth colours are best for the pattern in question. I only use one pattern on any particular day. As pieces get dirty, I rinse them under the faucet, dry them, and put them back on the table for later meals.

General Features Archive


28.05.12 Front Page

Back Issue Page

Bookmark on your Personal Space



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more