About Kimbesa

I love dishes, and I continue to haunt thrift stores, estate sales, and other places where vintage china, dinnerware and glassware are to be found.

I Talk About Dishes

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For our UK customers

Easter Eggs – Vintage China

Well, mostly vintage. The Fiesta mug in the upper left is about 10 years old. The beauty of this dinnerware is its vintage look, but you can buy them in quantity.

Easter eggs in vintage china

This peacock blue would be great on your Easter dinner table. And there are lots of other colors in Fiesta that work for a beautiful and colorful table setting for Easter, spring and summer holidays and other kinds of parties.

The cup and saucer is true vintage: the Vision pattern by Iroquois, designed by Ben Seibel. What a cute place setting for a Mid-Century Modern fan. Wrap up in cellophane and it’s a birthday gift for the vintage fan who has everything.

The funky chicken mug in the upper right is by Current/GHC. I’ll say late 1980s or early 1990s. Colors and hen motifs. Lots of fun, this mug.

If you want a whole table full of these, make your permanent shopping list and plan for the future. Or go with the Fiesta, which mixes and matches to many casual table setting ideas.

Vision cup saucer Ben Seibel Iroquois

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How Much is Vintage Dinnerware Worth?

I get this question a lot: What is the value of a certain pattern of vintage china.

The short answer is the same as for other antiques and collectibles: whatever someone will pay you for it.

Vintage dinnerware Franciscan Maytime

There are places to research the prices others have used when listing these dishes for sale. Sites like Replacements, eBay, Etsy, TIAS and others are all available to get an idea.

Whether the dinnerware will sell for those prices, however, is an open question.

That depends on demand for those particular patterns and styles, a subjective element.

  • Was the pattern or shape created by a well-known designer, or fit into a popular style niche, such as Mid-Century Modern?
  • Do people want to use this dinnerware for sentimental reasons, because it was mom’s or grandma’s pattern, and they’re collecting or adding to a set for similar motives?
  • Or do they consider it made to a different, better standard than currently-available dinnerware, as they may attach to pre-1990 Pfaltzgraff or older Pyrex pieces?

I’m sure there are other factors that buyers have in mind when they’re seeking vintage dinnerware.

What To Do

If you have some vintage china that you’re interested in selling, those same websites are possibilities, as well as avenues you probably have available in the location where you live. Some private thrift stores sell on consignment, for example.

In my world, I like to use my vintage dinnerware. There’s a story that goes with almost every piece, to savor along with the food that I’m serving when I use it.

Whatever you decide, I hope you will enjoy your vintage dinnerware. Thanks for asking!


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All About the Green – Vintage Tableware

When it comes to St. Patrick Day’s, if your dinner table is wearing green today, you have a lot of choices in vintage dinnerware and glassware. These are just a few examples.

vintage Corelle and glass

Just choose your favorites. Greens are easy to mix and match.

Green also works for Easter, and for the spring season in general. If it’s your favorite color, so much the better!

(I just couldn’t resist the green Peep!)

In the photo, I have a Corelle salad plate in the Spring Blossom pattern, with a border of green flowers along the edge. This is one of the original 1970s patterns, when Corning first launched the Corelle line, and it remains popular among those who remember it from childhood, or young married days when it was their first dinnerware in a new home.

(Okay, maybe in your case, it was grandma’s dinnerware.)

This is the retro green that many of us remember from those years.

The three-part relish is in the Georgian pattern by Anchor Hocking, also from the 1970s. I have a weakness for this kind of glassware. These pieces are pretty common in the secondary marketplaces because they were less-often used, and therefore survived.

These dishes work great for modern table settings, to serve pickles, nuts, mints, or other small items that you might be including in your menu, whether for a sit-down dinner or a buffet.

Search under avocado or olive green if you’re seeking them online, to describe this color green. It’s not quite the same as Forest Green, which is near the center of the green spectrum, as it varies between the yellow and blue ends. Avocado green will look more yellow than Forest Green, when comparing the two.

The glass leaf dish in the Pebble Leaf pattern by Indiana Glass is another favorite pattern of mine. This is the “true” Depression glass green shade. Very springy and sweet. (The green doesn’t make it old, but if it’s not this color, then it can be vintage, but not likely to be from the Depression era.)

This pattern was also made in the 1970s, and you will find pieces in the avocado green as well as other colors.

The only new piece in this photo is the creamer. It’s in the Cherry Thumbprint pattern by Mosser of Ohio. I’m a fan of this glassware, too, because it can bring vintage style to lots of table settings, it’s well-made and charming.

And because they’re new pieces, they can be used without fear of breaking grandma’s real antiques.

retro glassware and Corelle

Any of these patterns will help your table setting wear green, today or every day, and a good corned beef dinner.

This kind of vintage glassware and dinnerware has a standing invitation on my permanent shopping list!


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Happy 7th Birthday – Diary of a Dishie

Time to wish my vintage china blog another happy birthday!

Diary of a Dishie birthday glassware

For year No. 7, I decided to go with some vintage clear glass, a theme that’s a little more Big Girl than some of the prior, younger years. Just like you might have something new when your daughter reaches the seventh birthday milestone.

I’ve got a soft spot for glassware, especially the beautiful vintage pieces you can find in any thrift store or estate sale.

Glass is tough, because so much of it is not marked. I cannot tell you (yet) the names of the patterns for the pieces shown here. I just pick up what I like, and go from there.

vintage glassware

Here are a few things I’ve found:

  • Glass has color, even if it’s clear. Some is bluer, some warmer. I generally favor the cooler clear glass, as that’s my preference, but it is a personal choice.
  • The motifs and shapes are all over the style map as well. Sometimes I go for the simple shapes or geometric motifs, other times the floral. In a table setting, I find that settling on one style makes it easier to coordinate different patterns.
  • I approach glassware in the secondary marketplace with a watchful eye, and fingers. I assume any piece I’m considering has a chip or a crack, and I look and feel carefully for those. I may buy a piece with a flea bite, but I want to know about it before I make my final decision.
  • None of my vintage glassware ever goes in the dishwasher. (Nor my vintage china.) I’ve written about this before: dishwasher haze. It is disappointing to see wonderful pieces when I’m shopping that have been sandblasted in the dishwasher, and will never be clear again, unless they are wet.

Special Birthday Glassware

The glass cake plate and other pieces shown in this post are all recent purchases.

vintage glass cake plate

  • I liked the cake plate because it’s flat, easy enough to slide a cake on, out of the bakery packaging. And it has a variety of motifs in the glass, so it can go several directions to complement other glassware pieces. The center is a sunburst or sunflower, the next band has dots, and the outer rim has geometric lines - all finished off with a gently scalloped edge.
  • The small plate charmed me by its clarity, and the shimmer that it has in the light. (It gets to show off the piece of cake.)
  • The swirl glass piece also intrigued me. It caught my eye from the first, with its a fine clarity, which it something I look for, as it says to me that the glass is high quality. This piece is also footed. It’s small for a cake plate, but a giant cupcake would go quite well on this. And a small cake and this little stand would make a wonderful gift for the vintage lover who has everything. (In this case, that would be me.)

Vintage glassware is just another way to have your cake and eat it, too, in a manner of speaking. Use it for any occasion, or every day, and enjoy it before, during and after.

And so, Happy Birthday, Diary of a Dishie! Here’s to many more years of collecting and enjoying the use of vintage dinnerware and glass!

vintage glassware Adams cake


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Vintage Dinnerware Look Alikes

A question from a reader, Beck, prompts this post. Do you ever see dishes in the marketplace that look a lot like your favorite pattern?

vintage Noritake china Inverness pattern

And, when you flip, you see a frilly scroll mark with “made in China” under it.

Probably not the match to grandma’s china.

I’ve seen this kind of mark on dishes a number of times in my travels. I’ve never bought them, though they look perfectly fine.

When I want my favorite patterns and brands, I know the marks to look for.

Beck’s grandma’s china reminded me of a Noritake pattern that I’ve seen, called Inverness. This is a vintage dinnerware design from the 1960s era, made for about 15 years. It has a lot of charm and classy style. It was made in Japan, like the Noritake china of that time.

Noritake has also made dinnerware in Ireland and other places over the years, depending on when.

If you’re looking to match a favorite vintage dinnerware set, check the marks, and that will tell you a lot, before you head out to shop for those special pieces.

Depending on your purpose, you may be okay with dinnerware that approximates those special patterns. Or "faux" may not do, and you want only the real deal.

Thanks, Beck, for asking!

Noritake china mark

(PS...both photos in this post show genuine Noritake's Inverness pattern china, not an approximation pattern.)



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Vintage China in Pastels – Bring Spring

I just cannot resist those trays of Danish sweet rolls at Costco. And what better way to serve them in sweet, small bites than some vintage dessert plates?

vintage Franciscan china Maytime

In this case, the plates are in the Maytime pattern by Franciscan.

This is an uncommon pattern, from the 1960s, during the period when Gladding McBean produced Franciscan in the USA. Retro style and pretty colors. What’s not to like?

Why Pastels?

  • Just some of the reasons I can think of, why pastels remain popular:
  • Light color palette has an open, springy feel
  • Sweet colors complement and soften details of other color schemes, such as a red and white Valentine’s Day table setting theme (watch those pinks though)
  • Charming for a tea table or dessert and coffee party, based on almost any theme

Small plates like these (6 1/8” in diameter) are great for serving all kinds of small desserts and tidbits.

That’s one reason when I like to collect this kind of vintage china. Many of these older yet charming patterns work just fine to create an eclectic tea party table, and if you’re into dinnerware like I am, they are great as a conversation-starter, too!

vintage china Franciscan 1960s

Small pastel plates are great for Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, or anytime that charming floral and light-colored dinnerware will add to your table setting.

When you want to chase away the winter blues, just bring out the pastel dinnerware!


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Vintage Pfaltzgraff Dinnerware New Old Friends

Old friends come in the form of vintage dinnerware, as well as people. They are the china and dishes that you remember from childhood, from grandma’s house, or those pieces and patterns that connect to happy memories from days gone by.

Pfaltzgraff Village vintage dinnerware

Pfaltzgraff makes a number of patterns that have been made for more than 40 years, including the Village pattern platter in the photo.

This warm custard yellow china platter, with a brown verge and folk art-inspired motif, is just one of my “finds” from recent thrift store shopping.

I like the inviting colors, which work well with a table setting based on bold earth colors.

The platter has high sides that are practical when serving food, especially those favorite foods that are juicy, like savory meats or a pile of vegetables.

These older pieces are often in good condition, without utensil marks, because they were made to withstand use over time.

A vintage platter like this has seen many family dinners and parties in its time.

I’ve spoken with many other dish fans who look for the older Pfaltzgraff pieces. Perhaps it’s not got quite the fan base as the old Fiesta pieces, but its followers are loyal. How cool to find that piece of vintage Pfaltzgraff that you’ve been seeking!

vintage Pfaltzgraff dinnerware mark

I call this mark the “tall castle” because it’s elongated. This is one of the older marks to look for if you want to collect some vintage Pfaltzgraff, made in the USA.

I enjoy using my dishes, and this “new to me” Pfaltzgraff platter has joined my collection of wonderful vintage dinnerware!


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