Ask The Attic: What’s My Teacup and Saucer Worth?

Apr 7, 2020 by

We’re starting a new feature at Orion’s Attic today so that we can provide answers to a wide array of questions that people frequently ask us. This section will often focus on the value of your antiques, collectibles and other treasures — like the teacup and saucer value we describe here. We’ll also explore other questions, from the best strategies for liquidating your estate to what you do with controversial objects. Today’s question:

Rosina Fine China Teacup and Saucer

“What’s My Teacup and Saucer Worth?”

We have to preface the answer to this question the same way we do so many others: we take pride in communicating with you honestly, even when it’s painful to hear. True story as an aside … When I introduced my fiance to my mother, my mom looked her in the eyes and said: “The thing you need to understand about my son is that he would rather hurt your feelings than tell you a lie.”

The truth is that the teacup and saucer value you inherited from your beloved grandmother isn’t worth much today. Most china isn’t worth much, actually. At the time of this writing, we have this Rosina cup and saucer in our heavily trafficked eBay store. This set is in perfect condition — but we haven’t been able to sell it even for $12.95. (We address today’s teacup and saucer value question on this Facebook Live video, too.)

When we buy china, we can only pay peanuts for most of it because we know that it’s likely to sit unsold for a long time — and much of it won’t sell at all. We got a doctorate in china many years ago when we bought the contents of a humongous antiques mall that was closing shop. We ended up with several 17-foot truckloads of china. We rented space in a half dozen other antiques malls and consignment shops. We sold the china there and some of the higher-end pieces on eBay. We lowered prices constantly, making it available for well below what other sellers were asking. Five years later, after massive amounts of work and expense, we sold the remaining 50 percent of it to one of the venues at a massive discount. It was the only way for us to finally be free of it.

teacup and saucer value is low for most setsThere are multiple reasons for the low value of most teacups and saucers, and most china in general. It starts with the fact that there is little demand and an overabundance of supply. Of course, you can look at china specialty websites that place crazy high prices on many pieces of china, and you’ll still see old-fashioned retailers with prices just as unrealistic. You’ll also often see the exact same pieces still sitting there two years later, too. Those sellers are holding out hope that they’ll find one of the rare few people who need to replace particular pieces for an existing teacup and saucer or china set — people who don’t know any better and will pay the exorbitant prices rather than looking around to find it for a fraction of those costs.

There’s so little demand for most china that it often sells for $5 to $10 a BOX at auction. This includes even nicer brands like Noritake china and others.

People often respond to this bad news by protesting, “But an appraiser said this teacup and saucer was worth $100.” We’ll do other whole posts on appraisals but the gist here is that appraisals can involve many kinds of values and do not often reflect the ease of actually finding buyers to pay stated prices.

It’s not worth the headache for you to try to suddenly learn to sell on eBay just to sell your china — and we never recommend that you invite complete strangers into your home to buy it through popular online sites. You’ll often come out the same or better financially donating it to a charitable thrift shop. Your kids and grandkids almost certainly don’t want it so don’t dump it on them, either.

At the end of the day, your teacup and saucer value is likely to be painfully low. If you’re looking to sell your teacup and saucer, or most other china, brace yourself for exceptionally lower offers — or none at all.

Do you have questions about your treasures? Contact us today. Orion’s Attic is a full-service estate liquidation company serving Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia — and sometimes beyond. We also provide appraisal services.