I am here to tell you how to buy vintage china online. If truth be told, however, I would always want you to buy vintage china from me. Although, I completely understand that sometimes I don’t have what you are looking for or another opportunity presents itself. So, I am going to arm you with the information you need to buy vintage china online with confidence.
Beauty And Quality Never Go Out Of Style
It is surprising to see just how many sellers there are out there. Though at one time, fine china had fallen out of fashion in some circles, it has certainly made a resurgence in recent years. True collectors have never waivered, always recognizing the beauty and quality of vintage pieces.
Knowing The Essentials
When shopping for vintage china online, choose someone who specializes in what they sell. It is difficult to be an expert when you sell everything from kitchen sinks to woolen socks. Seek out someone who can guide you along the customer experience journey. Find someone who has good knowledge of china and the history behind it. How long have they been in business? Check their reviews: what are their customers saying? Is their packaging stellar? What about communication? Do they respond in a timely manner? Can you call them? Is fine china their area of focus or do they sell a bit of everything?
An Important Investment
These are all important questions to consider when investing in your collection. Yes, it is an investment. You are parting with your hard-earned money and you should get more than just the item you are paying for.
You should also get a money-back guarantee. If your items are broken in transit or aren’t as described, the seller’s mistake doesn’t become your problem. You should get the knowledge that your seller can tell you about the pattern, the condition, the manufacturer or the backstamp or any other information that you require. Above all, their policies should be clearly outlined on their website.
Horror Stories Abound
Through my own experiences, I could write a book on the instances things did not go as planned. You only have to look at last week’s blog post to read about teacups being held for ransom. But there have many other times that I received packages that smelled like a smoker’s lounge. I have seen teacups wrapped only in plastic grocery bags bouncing around a box like a BB in a boxcar with nothing else to cushion the bumps. Or a seller who guaranteed me that the items had no wear, only receive them with visible wear. I am not alone. I have seen other sellers and collectors express their disappointment on social media about their orders arriving in pieces. As a buyer, you shouldn’t have to ask your seller to package items carefully, they should know.
Information is Knowledge
Do they have a website? They should. If a business isn’t investing in their business and maintaining a certain level of professionalism, where else are they cutting corners? A website will allow the seller to share their knowledge with you and allow you to have access to information that elevates your experience.
Do their listings provide a detailed description of the item using the proper terminology? Have they mentioned anything about chips, cracks, crazing, wear, hairlines, repairs or scratches? If they haven’t covered all the elements of condition, can you be sure that these issues don’t exist? Are their photographs clear and well-lit? Do they show you every angle of the product? You are not there so you need to rely on the seller to make you feel as if you are. Their descriptions should be consistent throughout their listings. You want to deal with someone who sells fine china in excellent vintage condition and not just someone who is trying to liquidate a box of stuff they got from their Aunt Judy.
Mashed Potatoes For Days!
I have seen confusion online when sellers mistakenly call a standard size teacup a demitasse or confuse a copyright date with a production date. A recent discussion with a client had this photo as a point of discussion where the seller had described Royal Albert planters (indicated with a #1 and #2 in the photograph) as vegetable bowls! Who serves 4 liters of mashed potatoes, even at Christmas!?! That’s a heck of a spread!
Be Wary of Shipping Charges
Sellers who sell an item at $12.99 but charge you $35.00 for shipping are trying to avoid the fees charged on platforms like Ebay and Etsy. Similarly, they are hoping you won’t realize that you are being grossly overcharged for shipping and that you will focus on the bargain of the $12.99 teacup. It is all smoke and mirrors and it can sometimes leave customers feeling like they have been taken advantage of. It’s a misguided use of the psychology of pricing.
A reputable seller, when possible, will make an effort to offer you free shipping and alleviate that worry for you. If they cannot avoid charging you for shipping, they should at least have enough integrity to charge you the actual cost of shipping and not some inflated number.
The reality is that there are numerous reputable and ethical sellers online with beautiful items waiting to grace your home. Buying online offers you access to items you wouldn’t normally see. I don’t think that all sellers are intentionally being dishonest. I think in some cases, people just aren’t putting in the legwork to become a resource for their buyers and that’s where problems can creep up.
Have you had an unexpected experience when buying china online? Did you have an experience that was stellar? Let us know in the comments. Come back next week to add to your information tool kit with tips and tricks for buying fine china in person.
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