A number of considerations are used to ascertain the value of antique dishes, including the age, manufacturer, pattern, type of material, original owners, rarity and condition. Ultimately, any antique is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it.
Though age is not an indication of inherent value, determining the age of an antique dish is an important first step. Some dishes have symbols or other markings on the back, such as the manufacturer or studio logo, country of origin, serial numbers, or artist's initials or signatures. Unmarked dishes can sometimes be dated by their patterns. A number of excellent books and online resources are available to evaluate the symbols and patterns on antique dishes. To determine whether the dish is earthenware or porcelain, hold it up to bright light. A porcelain dish appears translucent. Regardless of age, a dish is more valuable if it was part of a limited edition or if it was hand-painted rather than mass produced. An antique dish is obviously more valuable if it has no scratches, chips or cracks.
The best way to be sure of the value of antique dishes is to consult an expert. Perusing antique websites and antique price guides gives an indication of the possible value compared with other items on the market, but a professional antique appraiser assesses each individual item according to inherent value and current market demand.