Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know how old it is?
All of our items for sale are carefully researched to provide information about where and when the piece was manufactured. Makers of English China items are all recorded in Goddens’ Encyclopaedia of British Marks. Beyond that, we have reference books for all of the major firms. Details for dating items for several firms are shown in the section on Articles. British silver ware has been hallmarked since the 15th century so that any piece can be dated exactly to the year. Other items are dated to the best of our ability. If there is any disagreement as to the date then we will always be happy to discuss the item and provide the reasons for our opinion.
How can I be sure it is not a reproduction?
Sadly, some items are being manufactured new in many parts of the world to imitate genuine antique pieces. Most can be recognized by inconsistencies in the backstamps or marks or by their general appearance. We go to great lengths to ensure authenticity. However, most alleged experts have been fooled at least once in their careers. If there is a dispute then the piece will be taken back without argument.
How can I be sure the item has not been damaged and repaired?
Wear and tear is inevitable with pieces that may be over 100 years old. In particular, some English china is prone to crazing. However, we avoid selling damaged or repaired items except in exceptional circumstances. A rough section on a porcelain item or a failure to ‘ping’ when tapped is a clue to past damage and repair. We also routinely use an ultraviolet light to examine all china and glass. However, repairs can be missed and if an item slips through then it will be taken back without question.
How can I be confident that the item will not be damaged during shipping?
We pride ourselves on foolproof packing to prevent damage. All pieces are carefully wrapped in bubble with extra padding over projecting parts. Multiple items are well separated. They are then double boxed with polystyrene packing in each box. Strong outer boxes are well sealed. However, no system is entirely perfect. In the unthinkable instance where a piece arrives damaged then all we require is a digital photo of the piece and box to confirm the damage and all monies will be refunded.
How can I find out more about the pieces I am collecting?
We can recommend good reference books for just about any subject relating to Antiques and an indication of how to obtain them. The Internet is now a source of extensive information and we list links to many collectors clubs and other outlets. Finally, we are very happy to share our experience in any field, for dedicated collectors are likely to know at least as much if not more about their particular interest as any dealer could hope to learn.