New Series: A Few of My Favorite Things -Collecting China

IMG_0839 Growing up with parents who were collectors of books and fine china, I come by it rightly…collecting things. In the 1940’s & 50’s my folks haunted antique shops in the Chicago area. In those days, Marshal Fields had a knowledgeable man in the antiques department that helped my father acquire a great deal of Meissen China. In those days the prices for china and furniture were doable. One of the things that I collect are these red transfer ware plates and platters. Like everything else, collecting today has become expensive. I am fortunate to have bought the pieces I have when they were still reasonable. A tip for those of you who collect your favorite things. Grouping pieces together gives you more bang for your buck. I hope you have things around you that bring you pleasure and that help you tell your stories.

IMG_0843IMG_0842IMG_0841Check out my Pinterest Board ‘Collecting China’

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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7 Responses to New Series: A Few of My Favorite Things -Collecting China

  1. John Holton says:

    Back then, Marshall Field’s had a knowledgable man (or woman) in EVERY department. I worked at Water Tower Place in the mid-1970’s, and there was a guy in the Antiquarian Book department who really knew what he was talking about. I met Mary (my wife of 36+ years) at Field’s: we were in the same training class, and it turned out we both went to Loyola. And it just sort of ballooned from there.

  2. Well, they’re mostly not from China, but my mother used to collect wares. I do think that mostly, it was out of trying to be practical in case the current wares got broken or something. They’re still at home, displayed, even now that she’s gone.

    • Perhaps you will ask for an odd number of small pieces to display with your things. Think of how they might be reused. Perhaps the creamer and sugar on a small tray on your dresser with q-tips or cotton balls or buttons, or a small artificial arrangement. You can update a few pieces to suit your lifestyle now. A plate on a plate stand on your kitchen counter. Wish we could do it together, it would be great fun.

      • She had them displayed so I haven’t really changed how she did it. They look nice that way, and I honestly don’t have the heart to change the arrangement for now. While it was for the family, I still consider them hers, her own expression of her own art. She likes to arrange things a certain way and I think I got that from her, only sometimes, I think I am more OC about it. Also, honestly, I’d like to keep them away from other people’s hands (wish I could explain why I said that, but it’s something I can only explain in private)…For some reason, the people from her generation have/had this thing about displaying wares. Sometimes, I even told her in exasperation, “What do we need them for then if we’re not going to use them???” That’s because she’d rather buy new ones than use them, LOL!!!!

        Looking at them makes the memories of her alive. And I do like the idea of preserving them for my future family, for practicality’s sake. I’ll really keep the old ones, though, till they’re antiques. I’m very sentimental myself and it’s been a sort of dream for me to someday build a museum filled with stuff from long-ago….Well, from my own generation, at least, because someday, kids are not going to see or even know about them.

        Your ideas are great, though, and I actually try to make use of stuff like that. For instance, I have a collection of mugs. It wasn’t my idea to collect, but somehow, people kept giving me mugs before so the collection grew a bit. I mostly don’t really use them for drinking because that would mean washing them over and over that may cause the designs to wear off. So I either just display the nicer ones and use the other ones for other purposes 🙂

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