Selling Dishes: Is There Cash in Your Cupboard?

Is there cash in your cupboard? How to sell your dishes

photo credit: © TheSupe87 – Fotolia.com

After dropping a few dishes in my lifetime, I knew that there were a variety of frugal ways to find replacement china.

What I didn’t realize,  is that there is a way to get rid of your orphaned dishes for cash.

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I’ve had some old Corelle dishes sitting in my garage that I forgot to put in my most recent garage sale, so I decided to check to see what I could sell it for. I visited Replacements LTD, and discovered that some of the pieces in my set were selling for much more than I paid for my Corelle Ware originally.

Replacements LTD specializes in selling old and new china, crystal, and silver.  It’s a great resource to find missing pieces to your dinnerware collection.

I  sent a quick e-mail to them and a few days later, I received an “offer” from them for the various pieces in my pattern that was good for 30 days.  Some of my pieces would only have sold for $.20 or $.30, and since Replacements is very particular about any wear marks or scratches, that eliminated my dinner and bread plates from being possible sale items.

I decided to try to sell 16 mugs and 9 glass tumblers to Replacements LTD.  Because I had procrastinated a bit, the 30-day offer period was almost up.  So I did the unfrugal thing and took them to a shipping store to have them packed and shipped.  It cost me $45.  GULP.

Within a couple of weeks, I received an e-mail from Replacements with a formal offer to buy all 16 mugs and 6 of the glasses.  According to them, 2 of my glasses broke during shipping, and one did not meet their standards due to wear.  (They shipped that glass back to me at no charge!).   Their final offer was $62.

So, in the end, I sold some old Corelle Ware I wasn’t using and cleared $17.

Now that doesn’t sound like much, until you realize that I only paid about $20 for all of the bread plates, bowls, glasses, mugs, and dinner plates back when I bought them on clearance about 10 years ago.  And I used that set for about 6 years after that!

I would never have gotten that much money for those mugs and glasses at a garage sale or on eBay.  Nor would they have been worth that much as a tax deductible donation.

But I am kicking myself a bit for letting procrastination cut into my profits. I would have done a few things differently in order to make the most money when selling dishes.

Here’s my advice to those of you thinking about selling dishes for cash:

Research what your pieces are worth and then request an offer to sell them.  Get a sense for what they are selling for at Replacements LTD, on eBay and at thrift shops.  The more you know about your dishes, the easier it will be to determine if an offer is fair.

Condition matters.  No one wants to buy pieces with scratches or cracks.  Your items should be clean and in mint condition.  There may be a limit on how many pieces a place is willing to buy, so pay attention to that, too.  Read the fine print before you try to sell and you will save yourself trouble.

Determine how much your pieces weigh.  Remember to take into account the weight of all of the protective wrapping and packaging.

Determine how you are going to wrap them.  You want your pieces to arrive at the buyer’s door looking shiny and new – not smashed into tiny pieces.  Bubble wrap and packing peanuts are great options, but there’s a cost involved unless you are able to reuse some that you already have around the house.

Size matters.  I learned that it’s not just weight that affects the cost to ship your box:  The larger your box, the more it will cost to send.  You may want to consider sending several smaller packages rather than one oversized parcel.

Shop around for shipping.  You may find that one shipping company charges less than another.   Or  you may find it cheaper to send the items by US Priority Mail (and you get the boxes for free!).

I had absolutely no sentimental attachment to the Corelle Ware I sold and was pleased with my dish selling experience.  Selling my items to Replacements LTD was a very simple process (no photos to upload and descriptions to write on eBay) and I was very happy with their customer service and prompt payment.

I’m thrilled that I was able to unload clutter from my garage with less work and more profit than a garage sale, too.  I have a few other mismatched plates and bowls that I may try to sell later this year.

I’m also going to keep my eyes open when I’m bargain hunting.  Because dinnerware patterns get discontinued, people with a sentimental attatchment to their dinnerware will pay decent money to replace broken or missing pieces.  If you can keep your costs down, you may want to keep your eyes open for quality items on clearance, at estate sales, thrift stores, and garage sales to sell for a profit.

Share your story:  Have you ever sold your dishes for cash?

About Christina Brown

Christina loves clipping coupons, pinching pennies, and chasing her three boys (a 9-year-old and twin 7-year-olds) as a stay-at-home mom.

Comments

  1. Amy says

    Thanks for posting. At some point I would like to purchase new dinner ware and I was wondering how to sell my now discontinued set. I’m going to check this out. Appreciate you sharing your experience.

  2. says

    Great story. I never knew about that website. I definitely have some older sets that I would like to make some money on. At least more than I might make having a garage sale.

  3. says

    I have some dishes that my mom had when I was little. I am now 73 years old. They are in great condition. They consist of a clear dark blue set with chili bowls with two handles. KInd of unique. The set is not complete but there are a lot of pieces.

    The other set she passed down to me are also unique. They are clear pink with (hard to explain) points underneath the plates. I have never seen a set like this and of course they too are very old. I have no use for them but could stand to make some cash and pass them on so my kids don’t have to deal with them when I’m gone. I have a feeling they would simple give them to Good Will. That would be a tradgedy for true collectors.

    What do I do to contact these collectors?

    Carol

    • says

      Hi, Carol,

      You can certainly check with Replacements LTD by phone or by e-mail. You can find more detailed info here:

      http://replacements.com/misc/packship.htm

      or you may even want to bring them to an antiques appraiser to see what they’re worth.

      Be sure to tell your family of items you have around your house that may be of value, so that they don’t just donate them or let estate sales people take advantage of their lack of knowledge.

      Good luck! I hope they’re worth a lot!

    • says

      Carol I would suggest seeking out an antiques dealer in your area, your pieces sound wonderful and it would be a tragedy to have them sent to Goodwill. Your pink plates sound like they are probably depression glass and certain patterns and colors can sell for a lot of money to collectors. Replacements can be very particular about what they purchase and the price will depend on condition as well as current demand for the pieces and patterns. I wish I could see those blue dishes that is what I collect and they sound wonderful!

  4. says

    I am so glad you posted this. Back when we got married in 2000, my mom insisted that we register for dishes. We picked out a Mikasa dinnerware and got quite a good collection as gifts. A year later we had our first child and then a year later when our daughter started walking, we stopped using the dishes. Now 11 years later we have 4 kids and the dishes are boxed up in the garage. I would much rather sell them and make some much needed money than to have them sit in the garage. THANK YOU!!!

  5. Becky says

    Are there any places like Replacements in California we can sell to? I have some dishes and an offer from Replacements, but the shipping is so much, I would not get too much for them. I think the Tax Deduction would be higher.

    • says

      I’m not aware of a place like that in California, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist! There are a few alternatives you could consider… If you were willing to take the risk, you could send it in one of the USPS “if it fits, it ships” priority mail boxes… shipping would be a flat $8.95, then… Or you could try selling locally on Craigslist.

      Hope you are able to find a home for your dishes and make a little cash, too!

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