From the occasional Star Trek collector plate purchased by a loyal TV fan to Grandma’s extensive collection of scenic and Christmas china, there’s big money in the collectible plate market and a lot of serious buyers regardless of the economy. Franklin Mint, Danbury Mint, Bradford Exchange, and other producers of collectible plates constantly offer new designs for loyal devotees. Many collectible enthusiasts scour the Internet and antique stores to add to their plate collection. With a little research, you can sell your own collectible plates or buy and resell collector plates for a profit.
Check the plate’s condition. If there are any chips, smudges, or stains on the plate, its value drops substantially. Clean the plate if necessary, but always make sure the original design remains intact. Contact an experienced china or porcelain repairman if a piece of the plate needs to be glued into place.
Determine the market value of the collectible plate. Look at online collectors' forums or collectible magazine websites. Many collectors' bulletin boards contain up-to-date information from collector plate enthusiasts, but always check it against official price guides and current bids on eBay for similar plates. Obtain an appraisal from a reputable collectible expert for unusual or rare plates. Many antique and collectible stores offer online appraisals.
Place ads on eBay, Craigslist, and other websites. Online collectible sites often have classified sections as well, and will attract your target buyer more quickly than general websites. Some of the larger collectible sites have a separate section featuring collectible plates for sale and updated listings of local dealers and collectible fairs. You can join some of the sites for free, but some require payment to place sales or dealer ads.
Attend local collectible fairs and flea markets. Collectible magazines and organizations sponsor collectible fairs in many towns across the U.S. Look in the weekend section of your local newspaper for listings. Many cities have weekly or monthly flea markets targeted specifically at antique and collectibles buyers.
Consult a local antique store. If you have one-of-a-kind collectible plates, especially ones from the first half of the 20th century or earlier, this approach may work better than an Internet auction. Negotiate with the store owner until you arrive at a satisfactory price. If you aren't pleased with the final offer, then explore auction sites.
Marianne Moro is a copywriter and journalist based in Hollywood. She has been writing professionally since 1999, specializing in home remodeling, interior decorating, pets, travel and holistic health. Moro was a part-time editor and contributing writer for Remodeleze.com, a home remodeling and decorating website, and has also contributed to the Cutting Chair and Entertainment Today.