Buyers Guide to Ceramics and Porcelain

Ceramics and porcelain are arguably some of the oldest mediums that have lent themselves to the creation of artwork throughout history. From provincial 25,000 BCE, we have refined the impulse to sculpt and mold stone and clay. Today the collecting and purchasing of ceramics and porcelain is an ever growing field within the art world that regularly commands elevated prices at auction.

Does age or natural flaws affect the value of ceramics and porcelain?Due to the very delicate nature of ceramics and porcelain, rare items of perfect condition are hard to find, therefore rare and flawless items always command a high price at auction. However, in light of this, unless your item is very unique, any sort of flaw on the ceramic, (whether incurred by the creator or through general ware), will drastically reduce the value of an item. It is important to try and familiarize ones self with ceramics as much as possible, so that spotting irregularities or chips in the works becomes more natural. Furthermore, it is important to understand that the age of an item does not always mean a higher value. However, this said an item created by a respected maker from 1850 will most likely command a higher price then an item from the same company that has been created in the last ten years. The rarity of an item and condition is most importance, if you wish to buy in this field.Are there particular companies one should look out for?Like any sector of the art world there are specific companies or artists in ceramics and porcelain that command higher prices then others. Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, and Minton are some to name a few. The intense care with which these materials must be handled only adds to the prowess of such companies that have managed to retain a certain level of expertise over many generations. Check for markingsAny ceramic or porcelain item of worth or note will have a makers mark, or back stamp as it is commonly known. Such markings can often tell a lot about the worth of the piece and occasionally mean it is also possible to tell the age of the object, and created it. The makers mark is applied in three different ways: Under glaze marks, over glaze marks, and incised marks. The value of the piece is not affected by the type of mark presented on the surface, it is simply a matter of the makers personal preference.How do I value my itemThe easiest way to find out if you are getting a bargain is to go to an impartial appraiser for a valuation. At Value My Stuff we offer a convenient online service and have professionals (who have all worked for the worlds leading auction houses) that will give you an accurate and impartial market value of your piece as well as accompanying historical information that may add to its worth. A painting valuation can be conducted for you within 48 hours (or 24 if you chose our express service.)

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