Do you have an antique ceramic pitcher on display in a cabinet or shelf in your home? Or maybe it’s just gathering dust in your attic. Either way, that little vessel — that was perhaps passed down to you or found at a flea market years ago — could be worth some serious cash. Here’s what you need to know about selling an antique ceramic pitcher.
Antique pitchers come in a variety of designs and sizes, making them highly sought after collectibles that add a touch of uniqueness to any space. Of course, it can be difficult to tell whether yours are worth anything more than sentimental value.
Antiques expert Pamela Wiggins shares some insight with The Spruce Crafts about the little details to look for, like hand-painted decorations and stenciled numbers or letters. She notes that pitchers that have a splatterware design, a technique that makes the paint look like it was sponged onto the surface, can sell for up to $120 depending on the item’s condition.
The experts at Hemswell Antique Centres have a clever acronym that’s easy to remember and outlines what buyers look for in an antique item: RADAR — rarity, aesthetics, desirability, authenticity, and really good condition. “If you find a piece that meets these criteria, you will probably have a piece that will appreciate in value over time,” they explain. Basically, you’re sitting on a goldmine if you have a rare ceramic pitcher that’s in great condition and has a distinct design.
Another tip from antiques appraiser Lori Verderame, PhD, can help you figure out the manufacturing date of your item. Remember, the older something is, the rarer and potentially more valuable it is, too. Her quick trick is to look for the pitcher’s country of origin on the bottom. If it’s written in another language, then it was probably made before 1891. The McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 required all items imported to the US to be marked in English starting in 1891, so anything older than that would likely be printed in the language it originated from.
She demonstrates this in the video below by looking at a piece stamped in Japanese writing, which she estimates was made between 1885 and 1891 and therefore worth at least $150. However, the amount of similar items may go up, especially if it meets the RADAR criteria. Take a look at more of Verderame’s tips for finding the value of antique ceramic pitchers:
You can find antique ceramic pitchers on eBay with prices ranging from $0.99 up to $999.99, so it’s definitely worth browsing your own collection and checking listings to gauge potential asking prices. If you want to know the exact value of your antique items before selling them, many appraisers like Dr. Verderame offer online and in-person services to give you a quote. You can check out her website for more info or look for local appraisers in your area.
Whichever way you go, there’s a good chance you could earn big money from your old ceramic pitchers!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.