146 ironstone plates

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Antiques, Favorite Finds, Ironstone86 Comments

So, I have a question that I’m going to ask on behalf of a dear friend of mine.

She is about ready to move and…um…as I…I mean, she is packing, she realizes she has a large number of plates (and other dish ware.)  She decided to count said ironstone plates and learned she has 146.

And that’s not even including the ones hanging on the walls.

 And that’s only the dinner plates.

Soooo, is that too many plates?

Yeah, I agree.  It’s a completely reasonable amount and that’s what I told her.

Okay, okay, IT’S ME!

It didn’t seem like a lot of plates when they were just sitting in my cabinet, but when I faced packing them, it seemed a little crazy.  I mean, who needs that many plates in a normal household?  And who collects plates that don’t really serve a purpose except that the owner likes stacks of plates?

I shared that number with Jeff and he smiled like he knew this all along and I’m just realizing it.  “You do know that our dining table only sits six people at a time.”  He quickly added, “…and the solution is not to get a table that seats 146!”

 

What I love, though, is that Jeff wasn’t pressing me to get rid of any.  He knows I’ve gotten rid of a lot and our yard sale/craigslist pile is growing.

And getting between me and my ironstone is not wise.

Most of these are from the 1800’s, so they are thick and heavy and they just speak to me!

As I was packing this afternoon, though, I was wondering why I don’t collect something that is lightweight and not breakable!

This thought prompted me to thin out the herd a little bit.  Four ironstone plates made it to the yard sale pile.  Aren’t you so proud of me?  I whittled my ironstone plate collection all the way down to 142.

Hopeless.  Just hopeless.

All I can say is…

It’s a good time to invest in bubble wrap.

146 ironstone plates

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86 Comments on “146 ironstone plates”

  1. I have a dish fetish as well.

    And I recently moved, too.

    Sold a few. Gave a few away to dear family and friends.

    Kept a lot!

    Much less storage in my new home. Being creative with display and storage. And yes, like you, picking a few out here and there to sell or pass on. So very painful!! 🙂

    My dining table can seat up to ten. I have enough dinner plates to serve at least 100….

    My daughter told a good friend of mine, “My mom is a hoarder. A classy hoarder. But a hoarder nonetheless.” Ha!

    Hope your move goes smoothly.

  2. I don’t know why you can’t have a table that seats 142. It’s hard when your collection speaks to you, isn’t it? I can tell you that when you get to the unpacking stage it will be like Christmas! It could always be worse, you could have collected door stops or cast iron skillets! 😉

  3. They speak to me too! I just love different designs. And they tell me stories of fellowship and community.
    I also wish I could pass along my reams of bubble wrap I just collected after receiving two very carefully wrapped bell jars.

  4. Marian, this whole post makes me smile. You found a winner in Jeff (and he in you). I think your collection speaks to a deep seated desire to nourish and care for others. How bad could that be?

  5. I found 3 pieces of Metlox Pepper Tree on sale at the thrift store for $1.00. That began my hunt. I have hunted high and low. In many trips to the Rose Bowl Swap meet and other shows and shops I have not found any. Ebay has helped me build a usable set. I love them. I have 2 other big sets of china and love them all but the Pepper Tree own my heart. I guess what I am trying to say is you sound reasonable to me.

  6. Seems reasonable to me, and you sold so much at Lucketts. My 2 cents is you can thin the herd later when your settled in your new place, you just never know how you may want to decorate. Unless it is a long distance move and then you will have to consider driving them to their new home personally,lol.

  7. You could always consider renting them out for weddings/events if you aren’t afraid of other people using them. That way they’d get used and you’d still have a good reason to keep them!!

  8. I get it, and I have the same issue, except my chosen target is Christmas china. I console myself with the fact that most have come from thrift shops, so I don’t have a lot of money tied up in my “collection”. All kidding aside, my philosophy is, if they bring you joy, why get rid of them? And, while you may not use all 142 plates at once, you do use them. Life is short. If something as simple as vintage ironstone plates make you happy, then you should have them in your life.

  9. My husband looks at all of mine and tells everyone that we are ready to serve dinner to the entire village. I just say I am prepared <3

  10. This weekend I showed my family the 3 ironstones plates I bought from your sale at Lucketts! They all got my thrill at the MMS plates as we now call them! I say pack the ironstone and bring them with you, think of the new friends you’ll meet and have the opportunity to share your collections with them around your dinner table!

  11. I’ve only counted my bears once, never counted my books….. hmmmm… never counted my husband’s tools, gadgets or toys (fishing poles, tackle, etc.) either!

    Enjoy….

  12. I went on an ironstone buying spree…here is the trick to managing it. Keep handy 8-12 of each item you will use regularly. Put 12-16 of each in your “display” area…on hand, you will have 24 serving placements (God help you if you ever entertain more than that) Carefully pack and store the rest. If, after a year, you find you don’t miss it, get rid of it. Or, use it to swap out your display or “use” settings regularly…or pieces that get broken. Anything more is “clutter.” I have adopted a “one in, one out” rule and it really does help. I do have 4 sets of china packed and stored, but they are from greats and grands so I can not dispose of them…but I did give away (to a cousin) an entire set I bought 30 years ago at an auction that had no “sentimental” value. I do display SOME of each set but displaying all of it would just be “clutter.”

  13. I totally think it is reasonable. Think of the showers you might throw in the future…wedding shower, baby shower….(for the boys when they are grown of course!) You might need all of those plates. However, I did like the post before mine that suggested one set of dishes and one set to replace. My husband is a book hoarder of sorts. I try and comfort him by saying the books could be used to insulate the walls , if ever the heat ever fails. Reasonable right? Best of luck packing!

  14. Yep, we moved last fall, and had 300 boxes of items, MANY MANY of which were plates/platters/etc. that I collect. BOATLOADS of bubble wrap and foam peanuts. And not a thing broke! We are having a garage sale next week and a few of these items will be in it, I think maybe about 20 at this point, but I’m working on possibly more. And I should mention that these are all antique pieces, not suitable or dining, and we never ever entertain! But there is nothing like the glory of a nicely made plate wall ! I use them for décor in many ways. One of the best things about old china is that it is one antique that does not mold, rust, take on bad odors, etc., so it is an easy collectible. So many gorgeous patterns and colors to choose from! You can almost never go wrong, there is something for everyone. But yes, MOVING them is a pain.

  15. Good afternoon. I was wondering if it is possible to purchase the small crock jars. Looks like there are several sizes. If so what are the prices and how do I purchase them. Love your site. Thanks.

  16. Marian,
    I can’t blame you one bit! Its hard to thin out a collection that is near and dear to your heart no matter how large, heavy and breakable the collection might be. You currently live in a area where Ironstone is plentiful but that might not be the case in your new location so keep that in mind.

    I am sure you will be making the announcement soon where your family will be moving to and it will be fun to see your first home tour. You sold off so much furniture over the past few weeks it makes me wonder if you are going to take a new direction in your style? I guess we will have to wait and see.

  17. I am just starting to collect “ironstone”. I have a few nice old pieces.
    What is It that I look for specifically, telling me it’s Ironstone?

  18. Marian, I don’t blame you for wanting to keep the 142 plates. I myself have a bit of an addiction to it and I think it’s just an extension of my personality. I guess I’d start looking for some bubble wrap you can buy in bulk!

    Looking forward to hearing about this new journey in your life!

  19. Marian, why get rid of something you love ? Just imagine the fun you’ll have stacking,hanging and displaying them in your future ‘digs’ …they will look just as beautiful, maybe even more so …the ironstone has become part of your journey Miss Mustard Seed a.k.a. Miss Ironstone ! All the best……smiles…Anne

  20. Ahhhh Marian. . . This was/is a riot! Of course I can say that from my bubble wrap, moving box free home! I’m proud of you. . . 142 is better than 146. They will LOVE their new home, wherever that may be!

    Sending you lots of love💚💚💚

  21. I think your Ironstone plate collection is completely reasonable, you never know when you will need them :). I love my Ironstone..I have never counted the different pieces, but have some in every single room of my house including each of the bathrooms. When a new piece finds it’s way into my home, my husband says…do you really need that, or do’n’t you have enough yet (been collecting Ironstone for about 12 years now) ..I say of course I do and NO , I will never have enough..there will always be another beautiful, heavy piece calling my name ! Enjoy what you love…pack all the ones you love and take them with you as a previous fan suggested..wait till you get them to your new home and see what works there. God Bless

  22. 😂 I LOVE this! I have a dish fettish as well, probably not 146, but I wouldn’t if I did. I’m glad you didn’t whittle away too much. Some places don’t have an ample supply of gorgeous antiques (like where I live). So, if you love it, keep it. You won’t regret it. ❤️ Cheryl

  23. There’s a fine line between hoarder and collector, I always say. My and my husbands problem is books. When we got ready to move 2,000 miles across country this year, we knew we had to seriously downsize our library. Books, like ironstone, are heavy (although not as easily damaged). It was hard because many of the books were out-of-print. When I actually started sorting through our bookshelves, I realized how ridiculous my book habit was. I mean, who needs three copies of “Wind in the Willows” or four volumes of Shakespeare plays or a dozen poetry anthologies? What I also realized was that my collection was a form of selfishness and I could detach by sharing with others. Books weren’t meant to sit on shelves so I can stare at all those lovely spines and gloat over my possessing them. I contacted people who I knew would appreciate the books and gave them away. It turns out I didn’t give enough away because I have boxes of books still in the garage of our new home. Moral of the story: Be firm with yourself and don’t lug those 142 plates to your new home. Share them with others who will love them. If you gave 5 dishes each to ten friends, that would still leave you with 92 dishes. 92! And (not to be a wet blanket) if something happened to you tomorrow, what would Jeff and the boys do with 142 ironstone plates? Of course, it’s none of my business, but I thought I’d share my experience after my decluttering-moving drama.

  24. What is it about the things we “have a thing” for? Certainly, we don’t need any more…. (insert your thing here……) but I say, my things make my heart smile. So there. Reason enough, right?

  25. I am a “DISH NUT” too. I have more than any eating establishment that I know of. Keep them. You will use them one day for a large special gathering such as a wedding, rehearsal dinner, large shower, family gathering, formal church event, etc. Vicki

  26. I just moved and transported 4 sets of China with 12 place settings each from Colorado to Tennessee… come to think of it, that’s really nothing compared to 146. My husband will be happy to hear there is someone else with more China than me… you are so funny

  27. They are important to you and you never know when a large group might be dropping by….. give yourself permission to keep!

  28. Keep your ironstone! If you move to California you may never find another ironstone plate or ironstone anything as long as you live here. I know. I’ve looked. It’s sad.

  29. I just moved. Got rid of 5 sets of dishes. Still have 5 (not ironstone but some pretty patterns) & some extras. I really like my dishes. Also have 2 sets of family silver plus several sets stainless flatware. Love setting a pretty table. My son started a set of Waterford crystal for me so…more collecting to come!
    Moving is a pain but new adventures await.
    God bless & keep y’all safe.

  30. Keep it! You will be moving and I am sure hosting many church dinners if Jeff will be pastoring. As one reader pointed out, the next place you live could have a drought on ironstone and therefore it will be much more expensive!
    I have seen your selling prices, and you obviously buy it at a steal in order to charge what you do.
    Blessings

  31. DO NOT sale them! You will regret it! Of course it is reasonable to have that many and more, I’m not even counting mine!

  32. Too funny. You always make me feel good. Yup, me too. Love dishes and collect many patterns.

  33. Why do I get the feeling you already know where you’re moving, you’re just not telling…H-M-M-M-M? Anyway, You could be moving someplace where ironstone is a rarity, like the GREAT NORTHWEST. We never see those out here. Keep ’em!

  34. I may be the odd person here, but I don’t collect anything. I enjoy your website and the beauty of your home, but too many belongings weigh me down emotionally. I love to go to flea markets and cute shops and look at things and my husband (who is as sweet as your’s) always asks if there’s something I want to buy. I usually say no, I just enjoy seeing beautiful things, but I no longer need to own them. We’re all different, and if your dishes make you happy then you should keep them. If moving them, or storing them becomes a burden, then consider letting them go.

  35. Gift a few to the lady buying your house. She might like a little surprise in those lovely blue corner cabinets!

  36. You are not alone! lol! I have my grandmother’s place settings for 6 Desert Rose including serving pieces and matching glasses, an entire set for 16 of everything made of Lenox Christmas dishes (plus serving) and service for 16 plus serving pieces of Pfaltzgraff Pistoulet! Guess I learned from my mom…she accumulated over 260 old cookie jars (only 1 duplicate) and could remember each one when out shopping! That wasn’t the ONLY collection she had! She used to laugh and say “aren’t you going to have fun selling all my stuff in an estate sale someday!” She passed 12 years ago and each cookie jar that was given to friends and family brought back happy memories of her quirky ways! If you can’t part with them, just enjoy until someday you feel the need to send them away.

  37. I too loved my dish collection. My son moved closer to his job and needed things to set up his 1st apartment.
    Come to Mom’s, I can help. When we were going thru the blue and cream Engish transferware, he said” Mom , we have had alot of great meals on these,” My eyes teared up, who have thought this now grown up man would have ever noticed. I gave him everything he wanted and needed.
    I was so glad they went to him, and I was there to see it.
    Years later he got engaged and she loved them too. I gave them more for there first condo and again with their house.
    It still makes me.feel good that they have a home, where they are appreciated.

  38. Marian, I called this prepared. It’s so much easier to entertain new neighbors when you love your dishes. Really, its true. You can set a beautiful table for any and every occasion. I enjoy thinking of ways to use all of mine. My adult children actually feel really special when I use all of my special pieces. They have memories around them. My son used to take a picture and send it to his fraternity brothers when I would have his favorite foods on ironstone cakeplates with glass cloches. I think yours are particularly special. Glad you are keeping them!

  39. I also have a dish addiction and feel much better after reading this post! I collect ironstone, majolica, Haviland china, and blue and white, including the same blue and white Currier and Ives dishes you showed at the B&B you stayed at during Lucketts! I was given a service for 8 as a gift for my high school graduation many, many years ago. When I began seeing it in antique shops and thrift stores, I kept adding to it. Then my mother starting collecting it and I inherited her collection when she passed away. I think I now have about 28 place setttings–and of course ALL the serving pieces!

  40. i love Dishes as well, i have 6 sets all service for 18 or more and then there are the other sets maybe for 6-8 and bowls, sets of bowels, i have know idea how many i have, i just love them, and then all the serving platters , i don’t know, i just love them all, i have a dish rail my husband made for me so i could put all different dishes on ( all different ) but love them all, i don’t know, i just love them all, i say i won’t buy anymore but………

  41. Um . . . I just moved across the country and do not regret letting go of a lot of our collections. Finally learned that I can love things without owning them. Passing them on to friends or donating them so that someone else could have the joy of finding a ‘treasure’ was satisfying and freeing. And we reduced the estimated 13 ft in the moving truck down to 11 ft!

  42. It’s probably too late & you’ve gotten the china all packed, but I wanted to share a cheap substitute for all that bubble wrap in packing china! I go to dollar store or wherever & get the foam-type picnic plates & bowls to put between plates & bowls to be packed. It saves $ as well as not taking as much room in the box. Don’t pack into too large a box as then they will be too heavy! You can pack one layer of bubble wrap on bottom, sides & top to give more cushion against jostling in the truck. I didn’t bother with that & only used wadded up paper (see below) and NO broken dishes in many moves!

    Also, buying the paper offered at moving supply stores is spendy. Where I came from, the local newspaper puts their end rolls of blank newsprint paper in the back near the loading dock. It was FREE (in later afternoon) to get all The rolls I wanted (about 4-6″ diameter left on the roll & 48″ or so in width). This paper is EXACTLY the same as the sheets sold at moving supply stores! It’s also great for craft projects, paper to protect floors when painting & much more.
    Have fun! 😀

  43. Listen, honey….your kids will be getting married in the blink of an eye. I begged, borrowed, and bought enough white dinner plates to set 60 places for a beautiful, memorable rehearsal dinner for our son’s wedding….lined up 8′ folding tables end-to-end and covered them with white linens to the ground! Hang on to those plates! Your sons might marry into a large family!

  44. I understand completely! I have been collecting Limoges plates and platters for years. I’m afraid to count the plates, which I use everyday to eat off because I think if you find beauty in something why hide it away or never use it! I love eating off them because they just make me smile! I have 18 large Limoges platters that I use every holiday and for parties! “Use what you love” I say!

    1. Yep, I do have my “everyday ironstone” that is dishwasher safe and it’s included in the count. The pieces from the 1800’s aren’t dishwasher or microwave safe, so I use them mostly for photo shoots and sometimes for special dinners.

  45. You always need spares in case you break one…you should be covered for a while. Peace of mind.

  46. I wouldn’t be too surprised if one day in the future, you have an opportunity to use those plates for something very special!

  47. I think they’re a lovely thing to collect, they don’t really take up much room when stacked and they are so beautiful. They don’t eat anything, I say keep them. There, feel better?

  48. Ahh you make me laugh. Go the bubble wrap. All so beautiful. And I look forward to seeing your new adventures

  49. Use styrofoam plates in between the plates for packing. Cheaper than the alternatives and makes them easier to pack!!!

  50. I had a dish issue as well. The wedding china is packed in the basement. Maybe one of the grands will want it. I have 20 red transferware and about 16 mixed china plates. Then there is the blue/white pottery everyday plates, and a dozen blue/white everyday company, the old glass plates, the cheapie plastic fish plates– yep, I have a problem. Plus the cupboard full of ironstone pieces. But I don’t gamble ……..:)

  51. I think if something brings you joy and is not a burden, in other words, it’s displayed or used, I see nothing wrong with 142 plates. You have a beautiful style and an eye for beautiful things. As long as your collection is not clutter, enjoy it! Enjoy the hunt, enjoy the displaying them in your new home. Love the beauty. Good luck in your move too.

  52. I know others have mentioned about styrofoam plates between plates when u pack but once they are stacked wrap the stack with heavy duty plastic wrap( you can get large rolls at Home Depot or lowes) and it holds everything tight! No box needed! No breaking! My uncle gave me this tip when he gave me a few of his 14 sets of China. Moved from Florida to New York with no breaks! He has also mailed me boxes of China packed the same way with no breakage either!

  53. I love your sense of humor, Marian and your ability to laugh at yourself. Your story is a familiar one to me. I have many collections and several sets of dishes that I would hate to part with. But I have been thinking about the reality of moving them should I decide to at some point in the not-too-distant future. I have two daughters and I’m pretty sure the youngest will want no thing! I’m conflicted about gifting my older daughter with anything because her house is already stuffed full. I guess it will be a large garage sale! But, I’m not worrying about yet. As one reader said, you can always keep culling after you move. (IF necessary!)

  54. Marian because I’m SUCH a good friend, I’d be willing to take those plates off your hands. I’d only do this for you, so just let me know if you need my address. Lol!!!

  55. Would this lovely and sane woman like to have 149? I have 3 dinner plates to sell, if only I can find them! I too will be moving. Selling some china pieces and sets and keeping the ones I cannot part with. . .and there are so many that I love. I can totally relate to this story.

  56. Tina: that made me lol!!! 146 dressers hehehe

    I fell in love with the classic Heritage White of the Johnson Bros. I got a few plates from an op shop 15 years ago… and now that has grown to a monster size!!! Who needs 50 side plates??

    Then I thought I’d love a pretty set. after years of lusting after trios for $60 of one particular colour range and tellignmyself that $60 for a trio wasn’t justified, I found a dusty box at a garage sale for $100. Full of pristine condition ones. Despite the 80 year old age! God is good.

    If you use your collections, I don’t think it’s nuts. Is ironstone dishwasher safe?

    1. Some of it is dishwasher safe. I look for more modern ironstone from the 1970’s or so and use those pieces for my “everyday ironstone\”.

  57. Keep them. When you get to your new home, use them for events for your parish. Let the people know you are sharing your best with them just as you do here. There will be parishioners to hand wash and if one breaks now and then…well you know god is helping you ‘thin the herd’. xoxoxo

  58. All I heard was she found a new she found a new home.. I can’t wait to read all about it.
    Shirley

  59. I think they will work beautifully for a wedding reception, anniversary party or any event you will most likely host. You can also rent them for such events and use the money to buy more plates!

  60. Keep them!!! Ironstone is a treasure and you have already let go many wonderful things….the boys will get married some day….how beautiful the tables could look with ironstone settings from your own collection! My daughter was married last year and I filled the reception house with my ironstone pitchers full of flowers. It was beautiful and felt more special to me. It will be a pain to pack but since you have already gotten rid of SO MUCH what’s a few boxes of dishes?! And I must add that your husband is a gem. You two are great together! Blessings on your move. And if you really do get rid of any ironstone please put it on your site……I was in awe at what went to Lucketts but couldn’t go and would LOVE any of it!

  61. Marian, I think you(r friend) might be counting the wrong thing. Given that they primarily appear as tidy stacks dressing lovely cabinets and hutches, it seems to me that ironstone plates should be counted that way: by the stack rather than by the plate. So the size of the ironstone-dinner-plate display in the top photo would be three (stacks). The fact that the components of the stack can be disassembled for other purposes is a bonus. This can apply to other collections as well : what’s the size of my collection of French soap? One (bowlful). My friend’s vintage Mason jar stash? Two (shelves). And so on. See how easy it is to pare down a collection to a reasonable size?

  62. I have been an ironstone collector myself and every so often will whittle down my collection by selling a piece off at the shop …… only to REGRET it later. Ironstone is my “heart” collection, so I can totally relate to your angst. There is something very special about those antiquities: the patina, weight, crazing and gentle aging. I’m with you on keeping them…..AND, who knows, you may be opening your own B and B someday – so you will need those 142 plates. *wink*

    I wish I could have shopped at Lucketts. Your booth was simply beautiful. Perhaps someday I will trek from California to make the sale…but with a big truck!

  63. I don’t collect Ironstone but I do have a very large Fiestaware collection. You can never have enough! It’s alway a great surprise to box a bunch up then rediscover them a year or two later.

  64. You can never have enough in my opinion. Wrap them babies up in bubble wrap then have a bubble wrap popping party once you unpack them!

  65. One of my dearest friends always says “The heart loves what it loves.” At least iron stone plates are easier to move than hutches 😀 I myself have an old chair problem and a hutch problem… 😀

  66. Ohhhh I understand you so much!! And I wonder the same, why did I get this idea of collecting something breakable? But I love my vintage children’s teacups and plates soooo much and I enjoy so much looking at them, and looking for more of them…and reading about the stories and nursery rhymes that illustrate them…
    I know everybody is speaking now about keeping it simple and decluttering and less is more (my friends too) but I’m a rebel in this point and I will continue collecting (a hoarder? haha, don’t mind).
    I really love your blog and enjoy your posts so much!! and good luck in this new chapter in your life.
    Besos from Argentina (and sorry for my poor English).
    Silvina

  67. so, if a person wanted to start collecting Ironstone plates, where is a good place to start? Love your collection and how you display them.

  68. OMG, four gone – ok, that’s hilarious!! I love that. ;D
    And I am in the same boat – I am childless and single at age 51 and I have over 76 plates (all blue and white) and a table that seats 16. LOL!
    I didn’t even use more then one plate until 2 months ago when I moved in 3 male roommates and they were thrilled to have beautiful china to use every day. I collect Royal Copenhagen Blue flowers curved and Blue Fluted had lace. And Meissen Blue Onion and Burleigh Blue Calico.
    They even use the serving pieces and lidded tureens which I never touch because there’s never an occasion too.

  69. Ummm, yeah. That. China, polish pottery and buffalo china. And I can seat 26, all at tables. And it is the two of us and a grandchild. Are ya’ll hungry?

  70. I love dishes,linens and any thing that reminds me of my grandmother. I would love to add to my collection. Can’t wait to know when your sale will be. 🙂

  71. I too collect dishes, and bowls and cups I just think a lot of us are just addicted. My daughter doesn’t take me shopping anymore. There’s no room for them and I live in a 2,000 sf home. But we just love them so much I guess. I plan to buy more because there’s so many out there and they need all need homes. Lol. I think I need another to buy another house to store all my goodies. That doesn’t sound good.

  72. You never know. You could have 138 grandchildren someday.

    PS please hug Jeff and tell him he’s wonderful.

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