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Three Utterly Collectible Dinnerware Sets

Three Utterly Collectible Dinnerware Sets
Reading time: 6 min

Somewhere between art and ornament, dinnerware makes an excellent choice for those looking to start a collection. Pieces kept in mint quality easily retain their value, and thanks to its functionality, dinnerware will always be in demand. But with so many iconic names out there, from Wedgwood to Lenox, it can be difficult to know where to begin.


There are certain rules to collecting that apply regardless of your category of choice: make sure that individual pieces work together as a collection; be informed about your subject; and, of course, the rarer the piece the higher the value. But with collectible dinnerware, it’s also important to remember that these are pieces you’ll likely be using or at least showing off to your guests, so you should strive to find designs that you love and that will stand the test of time.

Tupini, Herend Porcelain

collectable dinnerware - Herend


Herend Porcelain is a company with a long and fascinating history. Its factory first opened in 1826 and has been making history (and fine porcelain) ever since. The likes of Queen Victoria of England, the Windsor royal family, the Rothschild noble family and the Apponyi noble family are all such dedicated fans that they’ve not only collected their own Herend sets, but also had collections named after them. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were presented with a collectible dinnerware set as a wedding gift by Hungary’s president, because of the china’s status as a true icon of Hungarian culture. This reputation makes it the ideal choice for collectors who like their pieces to come with rich history as well as stunning design and value.


While Herend Porcelain has many beautiful pieces to choose from, few are quite so intricate and unique as the Tupini collection. Also known as Cornucopia, the collection first came to life in 1870 at the behest of the Shah of Persia. Even today, it’s still known as one of the most elaborate designs to be hand-painted on porcelain. The Arabic influences are evident in the pomegranate tones, layered with luxe gold and turquoise, as well as the enchanting imagery inspired by old tales from the orient. There are eleven different designs in the set, each one patterned by the in-house master painter, and this elegant dinner plate is a great place to start.


For those looking for something extra special, Herend have also created the Beautiful Ladies collectible dinnerware. Beautifully painted portraits are the center of opulent burgundy, white and gold designs. Just 15 pieces are in existence, and acquisition is by inquiry only, which makes this incredibly rare collection one for serious investors.

Lotus, Cathrineholm

collectable dinnerware - Cathrineholm


Over recent years, Scandinavian houseware has become a rising trend in America - but anyone familiar with Cathrineholm will know that this is by no means a new phenomenon. This Norwegian brand was present in kitchens across the country between the 1950s and 1970s. The most famous designer associated with the brand was Grete Prytz Kittelsen - known to many as “the Queen of Scandinavian Design”. Kittelsen was renowned for her use of plain, block colors and simple shapes as well as her work with enamel and her inspiration drawn from the American landscape.


The Lotus dinnerware set is the design house’s most famous collection, and was found in Norwegian and American kitchens in abundance following its initial creation in 1962. Over time, however, these collectible dinnerware sets have become increasingly rare and so increasingly valuable. Today, it can be tough to find mint-quality pieces, particularly in the collection’s most popular color: red.


The design was initially dreamed up by both Kittelsen - who provided the forms and colors - and Cathrineholm employee Arne Clausen - who imagined the lotus pattern. What makes this set’s success particularly surprising is the fact that Kittelsen herself hated the lotus design, declaring that it “ruins the plates” and it would have been better to use a single color.


It seems that the general public disagrees, and the set found huge success both when it first came out and in the present day, where its nostalgia-inducing look and high-quality construction have made it into coveted collectible dinnerware. For anyone looking to find retro dinnerware sets in keeping with the mid-century modern trend, the Lotus collection is a perfect choice.

Ringware, Bauer Pottery

collectable dinnerware - Bauer pottery


Bauer Pottery is an all-American brand that evolved from Paducah Pottery in 1910. The company’s design style was influenced by founder J. A. Bauer’s move to Los Angeles, as evidenced by the introduction of the rustic Indian Bowl line that exemplified the Californian aesthetic of the time. Even once the company changed hands, the golden state vibes kept shining through, with the introduction of colorful pottery to the range. At the time, the trend was for all-white earthenware, and Bauer made waves for their design deviation. And Bauer’s penchant for colorful pottery is intertwined with history in more ways than one; the colors of the collections represent the atmosphere in America at the time in which they were made. For example, during the period following World War II, Bauer favored richer tones such as burgundy and gray.


The company’s first dinnerware line was the Plain Ware range, created by potters Louis Ipsen and Matt Carlton. Its unprecedented popularity led to the hiring of ceramic engineer Victor Houser, who spearheaded the now-famous Ringware range. This line of glazed, tinted earthenware has become the look synonymous with the Bauer name even today, and has become a covetable collectible dinnerware range for collectors of real antiques. The original palette comprised five colors: yellow, jade, cobalt, orange and black.


Since Bauer’s relaunch in 2001, the company has created modern-day tributes to the iconic first designs, but the original pieces remain firm favorites among avid collectors. Many of the original pieces have the Bauer stamp of quality on the bottom to verify its authenticity, although some will need a discerning eye to be identified. While this can prove a challenge to newer collectors, it also means that there’s a possibility for hidden gems to be uncovered at garage or estate sales.


Whether you’re looking for American retro, fine-quality porcelain or genuine antiques, there’s a beautiful dinnerware collection just waiting to be started.Somewhere between art and ornament, dinnerware makes an excellent choice for those looking to start a collection. Pieces kept in mint quality easily retain their value, and thanks to its functionality, dinnerware will always be in demand. But with so many iconic names out there, from Wedgwood to Lenox, it can be difficult to know where to begin.


There are certain rules to collecting that apply regardless of your category of choice: make sure that individual pieces work together as a collection; be informed about your subject; and, of course, the rarer the piece the higher the value. But with collectible dinnerware, it’s also important to remember that these are pieces you’ll likely be using or at least showing off to your guests, so you should strive to find designs that you love and that will stand the test of time.