Auctions are a great place to find large collections or a few pieces to start your collection.
Once you find a patter you love, do a little internet research to identify the manufacturer’s mark. These marks changes over the years and knowing each mark will help you better identify the age of each piece.
I have been collecting this flow blue china pattern for years. I own about 75 pieces all at least 110 years old. For the most part, my collection of matching plates, platters, bowls, and tureens has been collected one piece at a time.
For a more eclectic look, start with a lot of mixed patterns.
Vintage repaired wares are what serious collectors commonly refer to as “mends” and are highly sought after. The value depends on many factors, but an otherwise insignificant piece can be quite valuable due to the rarity of mends.
I found an amazing lot at auction at even more amazing price. Not one piece survived the bumpy road between Pennsylvania and California. Ugh! The silver lining is that I love the pattern, broken or in one piece, so those fragments will become lamps or a country dining room fireplace surround.
I always mix in contemporary pieces like these from Bunny Williams available at treillageny.com.