Porcelain Collecting Accessories and Storage Options
An investment you will need to make when starting out collecting antique porcelain is a good magnifying glass. Get the 10X ones that have a light. Make sure it has a light! A jeweler’s loupe is fine if you have an abundance of light, but this will not often be the case. Especially when looking at pieces outside your home. They are cheap and necessary so get a good one.
Some other things that will help you along the way are the small white plain stickers for sticking to your pieces and numbering them. Then get a notebook and pen. Keep good records of you porcelain. Number and record each piece. Keep tract of where you bought it, how much you paid for it, the size and colors, any damages and pages and titles of any reference materials that you’ve found similar pieces to compare them to.
Over time this information can be valuable. It will also show you if you are paying too much for your pieces, if you’ve made a return on your investment, what your percentage of buying fakes is. Over time you will forget the details. Write them down!
The last thing you will need for your collection is a place to store it and something to store it in. The best place is somewhere where there isn’t a lot of traffic from children, pets, etc. Also, don’t use your garage or an attic that isn't heated or cooled with the house. Antique porcelain is fragile. Temperature changes can stress and crack porcelain. You want a constant temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to store your porcelain is in custom made padded boxes. These will keep your pieces very safe. They’re inexpensive considering what’s inside them. They also seem to help the resale value a bit. Custom fitted boxes show buyers that the owner of the piece is a serious collector and has made attempts in making sure his pieces have been kept safe from chipping and cracking. The last thing you want is to invest a large sum of cash into a piece only to put it in a drawer with it’s original bubble wrap from the shipping only to open it up one day and find a new hairline on it!
There are a lot of places on the net to buy these boxes from. Never send them your porcelain. Rather, take some paper and make a tracing of the top and bottom of the bowl. Then make a tracing, the best you can, of the side view of the bowl. Take a few pictures as well. Take one from the top like an aerial photograph. Then do the same for the bottom. Then get a nice side/profile shot. These pictures are only to guide the maker of the box as to the overall shape of the box.
Due to the individuality of each piece of porcelain, most of these kinds of boxes are made to order. If you can't find a place to get this done, I can have it done for you. It wouldn't be cheap due to the shipping from Taiwan to where ever you are. A typical box for, say a saucer, can be made up for about $25 to 50 USD. Then shipping is probably another $10+ I would guess. Not cheap, but then again a cheap insurance policy!
At the moment I am living in Taiwan. I do have a source that makes these boxes custom to order and by hand. If you really want one, I can get it done for you. I'd need a scanned image of the above information plus a picture or two to help the 'box maker' get the feel of the shape of the bowl. I will do this on a very limited basis.
If you have any questions, thought or observations, please leave a comment or use our forums. Thanks!