Staffordshire Pottery – What Makes it Valuable?
Staffordshire pieces, like any collectibles, are only as valuable as the price a purchaser is willing to pay for them. So, the first thing to remember when selecting your pieces is that YOU set your personal threshold of value. Depending on how much you like – or do NOT like – a piece, you determine if you are willing to pay retail value…. or less. I don’t know about you, but there are some “collectibles” that I would not take if someone GAVE them to me. So, my point is this…. Never purchase something just because it is a “great deal”. We all hope that the things that we spend our money on will increase in value, and if they do, it’s a FABULOUS bonus! However, that does not always happen. Therefore, when you purchase a Staffordshire piece (or ANY collectible!), you should go into it knowing that there is a chance that the popularity of these antiques may change over time. Never buy one as an “investment”, unless you are into high risk returns! The ONLY reason you should purchase a piece is because you LOVE it, and regardless of what current market value may be, you know you will appreciate its worth in the beauty it adds to your home.
So, that is the first consideration when thinking about what to pay for a piece. However, there are a few more concrete factors that you will want to keep in the forefront of your mind when establishing initial value.
1. AGE. Generally speaking, the older the figurine, the more valuable it will be. Therefore, dating a piece is obviously an important factor to establish.
2. CONDITION. Although inconspicuous damage on an antique piece will not greatly detract from its value, it is wise to closely inspect for previous repairs. A figurine with damage that is visually obvious, especially on the face, will not be worth as much as one with a chip in a less distracting area, like the base or back.
3. RARITY. As a general rule, if there is a piece that was manufactured in smaller quantities – making it more difficult to find – it will bring a greater price, simply because of its rarity. On the flip side, the subject matter of some pieces were very popular, such as Queen Victoria, and therefore, more of these figurines were manufactured. As such, these pieces will be less valuable than those that are harder to find. Because of their abundant supply, Staffordshire dogs are actually less valuable than some rarer pieces, although still extremely popular.
4. VISUAL APPEAL. There are some Staffordshire pieces that are more sought after because of specific attributes. Brighter colors are usually more desirable, as are figurines representing certain animals and famous people.
Please feel free to send me pictures of your favorite Staffordshire pieces! I would love to hear your thoughts!