Collector Plates and How to Display Them
Whether it’s on eBay, at a tony porcelain shop or a flea market, you will probably find a gorgeous decorative plate that you can add to your collection. Mind you, it can turn into a passion. From the time porcelain was first created at around 600 A.D., plates have been made not just for practical uses but for decorative purposes.
The concept was even popularized by Patrick Palmer-Thomas who, during the 19th century, who started his own extensive collection of plates. More noblemen loved the idea and followed suit. Porcelain plate producers started coming out with their annual collector plates going around certain themes such as a historical event or a holiday (Christmas would be a favorite). The more popular producers of collector plates include Bing and Grondahl , Franklin Porcelain, Royal Copenhagen, Konigliche, Alumunia, Rosenthal and London Crown Pottery.
These decorative and collector plates vary in size, style or theme. This can range from the commemorative plates for William and Kate’s wedding of the century as well as classic collector plates from much-loved artists such as Thomas Kincaid or Norman Rockwell.
The plates can also feature subjects such as scenes from flowers, animals, cartoon characters or characters from television shows or movies. There are also holiday-themed collector plates. Companies that make collector plates usually come out with a Christmas collection every year. Producers of the plates may also provide authenticity certificates for their collections.
Aside from porcelain, collector plates can also be made from crystal, pewter and silver. Collector plates usually are produced in limited numbers, making the collector plates more valuable by virtue of the rarity of the design. Aside from rarity, the value of collector plates depend on the reputation and popularity of the artist, interest in the theme being covered, the reputation of the manufacturer as well as a recent significant event in the life of the artist or the subject of the plates (i.e. wedding, anniversary or death).
Collectors have several options in displaying their collector plates:
- A vitrine. This is a cabinet serves as a custom display case for collector plates. These feature a glass panel in the front or glass panels for three or all sides. This is equipped with special lighting to provide a better exhibit. A vitrine also serves as a display case for other objects d’ art.
- Plates on easels. The easels allow plates to be displayed upright so that people can more easily see the designs. The easels can then be placed inside a vitrine or on shelves, the mantelpiece or tables.
- Hanging on the wall. The plates can be installed onto the wall by use of plate hangers. These hangers are made of metal and wire and are equipped with springs and adhesive plastic discs. The springs allow some level of bumping and jostling while still protecting the plates from cracks. Meanwhile, the adhesive discs keep the plate securely in place.
- Collector plate frames. You can use a frame that hangs the plate securely into the frame and is equipped with a glass cover that wards off dust and grime, as well as the curious hands (and paws) of children and pets. These frames come in one-plate and two-plate versions. These come in different colors for the frame and velvet backing covers so as to highlight the plates.
The Victorian Frame Company offers collector plate frames that can hold one or two plates, where plate sizes can range from 4” to 12”. The frame also features convex glass and pre-cut velvet for a more interesting and visually appealing display. Aside from collector plate frames, the Victorian Frame Company also sells antique picture frames, inline oval frames and a wide variety of frames and display cases.
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