Vintage or antique English bone china teacups may be valued by appraisal, current prices paid on online auction sites, or by online or antiques resellers. A teacup is worth more when it is part of an undamaged matching cup and saucer set. Decorative features such as 24K gold rims and elaborate floral or other ornate designs also affect the resale price.
Bone china was first developed and manufactured in England by Spode pottery in 1799, and the refined porcelain has been prized by collectors and royalty ever since. Some patterns are perennial favorites and existing examples may be antique, meaning 100 years old or more, or vintage, which describes more recent origins, probably from the mid-20th century.
Manufacturer's marks on the bottom of the cup and of a matching saucer help to pin down the age of the china, as does a pattern that may have been produced for a limited time. Many marks feature a crown, signifying that the manufacturer supplies or supplied English royalty. Aynsley is one venerable English bone china maker with a well-known porcelain design called Windsor Castle. Most of their marks include the name AYNSLEY, the word ENGLAND and a crown.
A certified appraiser provides a written valuation for insurance or inheritance purposes, but a less expensive option is available from specialized dealers who offer free valuations to sellers. Those prices reflect what they pay for bone china and are below optimum market value. Auction sites show asking prices, typically more than actual selling prices. Reseller sites advertise tea cup patterns for retail prices, with photographs that make identification easy.