Hemswell Antique Centres

How can we help?

Making money from antique dinner service wares

There is so much to talk about - and many an investment to be made in - the antique dinner service realm. Introduced in the 18th century, antique dinner service sets were manufactured for both practical and decorative purposes.

Before then, ceramic tableware solely consisted of individual dishes, or a few dishes together - but never a full service. As culinary fads changed over time, so did antique dinner service sets. Some were designed for specialist purposes, from sardines to supper.

From Derby to Wedgwood, antique dinner service enthusiasts can collect fascinating sets on a modest budget today - you just have to hunt down all the individual pieces. But as a full antique dinner service - sauce boats, soup bowls, side plates, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, dinner plates and tureens - the heftier value means a bigger investment.

Chinese antique dinner service wares

Chinese porcelain led the way for antique dinner service wares three centuries ago. Cheap but stylish, it filled the homes of British aristocrats. Designs range from delicately painted flowers to family mottos, often in underglaze blue. Unusual translation mistakes (one amusing example is a full set with ‘Untie’ instead of ‘Unite’ on hundreds of pieces) will command much higher prices at auction.

German antique dinner service sets

One of the leading manufacturers of antique dinner service wares was Meissen in Germany. You’ll spot a Meissen from the crossed swords mark, nearly always on the base of the antique. But beware, this can and has been copied. Colours used tended to be bold reds, blues and yellows. It’s not easy to find a full Meissen antique dinner service, but you might come across single plates. If they’re in good condition, snap them up.

French antique dinner service sets

Sevres in France is another antique dinner service manufacturer worth collecting. Unlike Meissen’s hard-paste porcelain, Sevres plumped for a creamy, soft-paste look - light, delicate pieces painted gloriously. Lots of pinks, greens, blues and turquoise with luxe gilded rims. Sevres pieces from well-known antique dinner service sets sell from £300 to thousands - look for the painter’s mark and letters signifying dates (beginning with A for 1753). Again, copies exist, so buy from a reputable dealer or do your research.

English & Welsh antique dinner service wares

When Blighty discovered how to make hard-paste porcelain in 1768, you can bet your bottom dollar its factories began producing antique dinner service sets. Chelsea’s plates were decorated with botanical flowers and are now known as ‘Hans Sloane plates’ - these value for up to £3,000 today.

Due to the high cost of manufacturing, large-scale antique dinner service wares from England are hard to come across before the end of the 18th century. Porcelain factories such as Worcester and Derby started making large services close to the early 19th century, before the Industrial Revolution sped everything up and made production cheaper.

Collectors may want to consider hunting down Spode’s ‘Caramanian’ and ‘Italian’ creamware and pearlware. Decorated with romantic landscape scenes in underglaze blue, quality tureens and meat dishes from this British potter can value at £300-£2,000.

Where do I find a genuine antique dinner service for sale?

Whether you’re slowly building up your collection with single pieces or looking for a full antique dinner service for sale, buying from a reputable dealer will ensure you’re investing in quality pieces.

Always make sure you inspect pieces in person - our collection of antique ceramics is widely varied and stunning, at reasonable prices. You’ll remember your day of antique hunting at Hemswell Antique Centres fondly. It’s the ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle and wander our maze of rooms, filled to the brim with timewarp treasures. Just outside of historic cathedral city of Lincoln, this wonderful ex-RAF base will genuinely keep you intrigued for hours. See what makes us magical here.

Back to articles