Friday, October 12, 2007

Japanese China

Last night we had a Ladies' Tea at our church, and each table was set with the china of one of the ladies in the church. It was fun to see everyone's fancy dishes, and they enjoyed being able to pull them all out for once. Thus inspired, A. and I pulled out my boxes of china (which are actually from Japan) from Grandma C while going through all our stuff in the back room. I've had them in storage while I waited to own my own kitchen.

Grandma C passed away when I was 4, so I remember only a very little about her. It meant so much to me to have that china, (which Grandpa and Grandma Lorene gave me many years after her death.) as a tangible memory and tie between us. I pulled it all out today and washed it, and it has left me a bit confused. Now, I know Nonnie (That's what we called her.) used her china every day, so some of the pieces are broken, however I can't figure out what size set she had, because every single piece has a different total. For instance, there is 1 medium-sized plate, and there are 3 bowls, 4 bread plates, 8 dinner plates, and 10 saucers. I have 4 tea cups, a salt and pepper shaker, a sugar lid (pictured), and four large serving dishes. So was it a set of 4 with lots of extras, a set of 6 with a few extras, a set of eight with quite a few broken and a couple extra saucers, or a set of 10 with lots broken?

I wonder if I should look on E-bay to finish out the set. If so, should I go to 6, 8, 10? How does one go about finding out what the pattern is called and where to find it? Any ideas?

Just a note to Grandma Lorene, who really has been like a grandmother to me all these years. Thanks again, and I pulled out the tea set you gave me too. I'm waiting for Mim to get a bit older before we have any tea parties with it, but I look forward to that time. Just wanted you to know.


aftergrace said...

You might try an antique store in your town, are there any markings at all on the back? You could give a try. That is how I found some replacements for some goblets we received for our wedding.


I found that eBay was by far the cheapest way to add pieces to my discontinued Noritake china set. Just make sure the seller is reputable and packs well. Most do, especially if they sell this kind of thing often. You might also consider purchasing the extra insurance.

As for identifying the pattern, try snooping around on antique dishware sites, or even ask some of the elderly ladies in your church if they recognize it at all. Some antique auction sites will do a free estimate of value if you email them a photo and a closeup of any markings on the back. Doing so might help you to identify the piece. It is certain to be vintage if not antique. Antique is 50 years old or more. Vintage is...I believe...25 years. I have found before that even if, for example, the cups don't have markings on the back, the larger serving pieces will have them.


Sara said...

If you intend to have a family of 5 or less I say 10, 8 is too few, 12 is too many. If you plan on a family bigger then 5 I say at least 12 sets.

I account for company (the addition of spouses MUCH later in life) and breakage in my numbers.

Just my opinion.

Sara said...

Oh, and I was on pricing Jon's great Aunts old china and ebay is much cheaper and has a big selection.

Darla said...

That is such a clever idea--everyone bringing out their fancy dishes. I'm going to try to remember that.

We're having the same dilemma--we have china of our own that we bought 20 years ago, then my mom has some of her own, and some from both her mother and her stepmother, and my mother-in-law has some from her mother, and all of them have been offered to me. How can I turn any of them down?

I would definitely say at least 10, though, if you're ever going to use it. We had only 8 of our own, and there's been a little breakage over the years, and it makes no sense, because the only time we use it is for special occasions, when there are definitely more than 8 people for dinner. I need to see if any of the patterns complement each other--that way I could do a mix-and-match, maybe.