Collecting ceramics
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10 Tips to Care for Your Antique Ceramics
by Martin Swinton

To care for your antique ceramics you need a gentle touch and they’ll last you a long time. This month we’ll give you some useful tips to help you care for them.

1. When you are cleaning delicate ceramics, remember to use a soft-bristled brush to wash antique ceramics in warm soapy water.

2. Rinse with warm, clear water.

3. Don’t rub ceramics dry; let them dry naturally.

4. Avoid abrasive products and bleach.

5. Avoid soaking antique ceramics. If there are any repairs, extended soaking could loosen them.

6. Avoid plate hangers. They do great damage to antique ceramics because over time the pressure from the hanger will cause cracks.

7. Display ceramics on sturdy plate stands or plate rails.

8. Avoid hanging antique ceramics such as cups, pots or vases by their handles or other weak areas.

9. Don’t attempt repairs. It is tricky work and you’ll never be able to match the paint colours exactly on your own. Bring a damaged ceramic to a qualified ceramics restorer. Repairing a bad restoration disaster will cost you more than fixing it right the first time.

10. Avoid serving food on restored ceramics; the chemicals used in the restoration could be hazardous.

Martin Swinton owns Take-A-Boo Emporium, an antique shop located in Toronto, Canada. He does furniture restoration, caning and rushing repairs, custom reproductions, upholstery, teaches courses on antiques and does appraisals for estates and community events. He can be reached at 416-785-4555 or by visiting

pottery books

Find books about ceramics

Miller's Collector's Guide: Ceramics of the '50s & '60s Steven Jenkins
"For Car Boot Sale Addicts Everywhere.."

Collecting Moorcroft Pottery by Robert Walker-Prescott
A Colour Guide with Valuations

Royal Doulton Figurines (7th Edition) - The Charlton Standard Catalogue
"Any collector or dealer in Doulton figures should not be without this book .."

Miller's Ceramics Buyers Guide by Chris Spencer
"This book is very well set out into types of ceramics, such as plates, commemorative ware and animal ornaments.."

Lilliput Lane Cottages (3rd Edition) - The Charlton Standard Catalogue
by Annette Power, Tom Power
"I use my book all the time when buying Lilliputs online, but is also really nice just to browse through.."

Miller's Ceramics Buyer’s Guide by Chris Spencer
"more than 4,000 examples of pottery and porcelain from the mid-18th to the mid-20th century.."

Collectible Cups and Saucers by Jim Harran
"This handy new reference makes it easy for the beginning cup and saucer collector, as well as the advanced collector, dealer, or appraiser to identify and price their pieces.."

Handbook of Pottery and Porcelain Marks by J.P. Cushion
"The book has 20 sections covering all marks known in Britain and in the major ceramic-producing countries.."

Sotheby’s Concise Encyclopedia of Porcelain Edited by David Battie
"This encyclopedia surveys many centuries of porcelain production.."

Beswick Pottery (2nd Edition) The Charlton Standard Catalogue by Diana Callow
"Over 1,000 photographs or studio reference illustrations accompany the listings of Beswick decorative ware produced from 1894 up to 1973.."

Royal Doulton Animals (3rd Edition) by Jean Dale
A Charlton Standards Catalogue

Collecting Poole Pottery by Robert Walker-Prescott
"The author has done a great job detailing the various periods of Poole Pottery from its inception to present day.."

The Complete Wade Price Guide by Francis Joseph
"The book is full of clear colour pictures with descriptions, not the easiest book to follow, but still a useful reference book.."

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