buffalo china | bargain finds

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Antiques, Favorite Finds, Ironstone | 26 comments

Several years ago, I received a tip from one of my local friends in the antiquing community.  She told me there was a huge stash of like-new vintage buffalo china at a thrift store and I might want to go check it out.  Well, as an ironstone lover and an antiques dealer, I couldn’t turn that down!  So, I made a little day trip to the thrift store and my jaw dropped when I saw this.  I had been warned, but I wasn’t expecting this much buffalo china.  I wrote about the entire experience HERE.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

I made dozens of trips up and down stairs, carrying hundreds of heavy pieces of buffalo china in small plastic shopping baskets.  I was a woman determined!  I did finally give up, though, and I really didn’t even make a dent in the stacks.

I sold most of the pieces at the Lucketts Spring Market that year and kept a bunch of pieces for our family to use as our everyday dishes.  Buffalo china was (and still used) used in restaurants, diners, and even the military, so they are very hard-wearing.  I have dropped so many of these pieces and I can only think of one that broke and I dropped it out of the trunk of my van.  Unlike antique ironstone, Buffalo china is dishwasher safe.  It’s just a fantastic everyday option for ironstone lovers like me.

There is some debate about whether it is true ironstone, but it is often referred to as ironstone or American ironstone. I put it in that camp because it is a vintage relative to antique ironstone and has the same beautiful luster and weightiness.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

So, after selling dozens and dozens of pudding cups, chunky buffalo china mugs, and round-bottomed cereal/soup bowls, I was a little bummed I didn’t keep any for myself.  They seemed so readily available that I wasn’t too concerned about finding more.  Well, then I hit a dry spell when it came to those specific pieces.  I would find them here or there, but they were expensive!  So, I kept the hunt for cereal bowls going for a few years.

I’ve bought a few on eBay or Etsy as they have surfaced, but I was still hoping to find some more.  Well, Jeff and I stopped by an antique store to kill some time last week and we picked one I hadn’t been in that was all on one floor (so I could scooter around easily.)  I wasn’t finding too many things of interest, but a box of white dishes under a table caught my eye.  A large price was written on the flap of the box – $25.00, marked down from $40.00.  I pulled it out and there they were…a beautiful stack of buffalo china cereal/soup bowls.  Not only that, but a stack of plates, berry bowls, and 19 chunky mugs.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

A young man was moving things around in the booth, so I asked him if this was his booth and if that was his box of dishes.  “Yep!  I just do this as a way to make money through college.”  Aw, I love that!  I told him I wanted the box of dishes, but I would need him to carry them to check-out and to the car for me.  He was happy to oblige.  (Jeff had tweaked his back, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the dishes if he had to carry them!)

I am so excited to add this set to the buffalo china I already have.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

I already have dinner plates, lunch/dessert plates, berry bowls, salad bowls, wide-rimmed soup bowls, and large oval bowls that we use for taco bowls or dinner-sized salads.   They aren’t flashy, but they are good, solid dishes that will go with just about anything.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

I also like the size.  The dinner plates are about the size of most salad plates today, so I don’t pile on too much food.

I need to get the set all cleaned up when we’re in a new house, but I don’t mind the staining from age and use.  To me, it just adds character and makes them more endearing.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed


buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

I don’t know if we need 19 of these mugs, but they are a nice, heavy, weight, so they would make good soup mugs or even water cups for painting.

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

buffalo china | white ironstone | favorite things | miss mustard seed

I actually bought a few more cereal/soup bowls off of eBay because I found someone selling unused vintage stock for a good price.  There are still more bowls available HERE if you’re interested!

Here are some more posts about ironstone, one of my favorite things to collect!

tips on building an ironstone collection

ironstone 101 | what is ironstone

ironstone 201 | pieces & prices

ironstone molds




  1. Mary Haddock

    I love buffalo china. We use it every day from the plates and bowls to the platters, small and large. That is one thing that I do collect because they get used all the time but I haven’t found any in a few years that is true buffalo china. By the way, I love the mugs but I don’t have any of those.

  2. Debbie w Wilson

    I love the shape of the mugs. My mugs do not have the lip at the bottom. Great purchase!

    • Cynthia Johnson

      I like the mugs too. They have such a unique look!
      Buffalo China has never been in my radar before… :)!

    • Kimberly Case

      I love Buffalo china, I have many versions with stripes, scalloped, in blue, green and red. I use the dishes in my pine hutch for all holidays. Last Christmas I found vintage style window clings and added them to red rimmed Buffalo china in the center and they turned out so cute, they made perfect Christmas dishes. I can send you a picture of the dishes! I just loved how they turned out!
      Also, I use the berry bowls for my cat’s food dishes. The cats love them, and the bowls are the perfect size.

  3. Carol

    Love this and learning about buffalo china. You mentioned getting them cleaned — what does that entail?

  4. Carswell

    I made a similar discovery of a box of Wedgwood creamware (Edme pattern) at a local antique market. I couldn’t purchase it fast enough. I got dinner plates, side plates, saucers, some miscellaneous tea/coffee cups, coffee pot, two creamers and a sugar bowl. and four exquisite footed and handled soup bowls. I couldn’t purchase it fast enough.

    Sometimes you just have a really good antiquing day.

    • Renee

      Those mugs are so perfect for anything!!
      Hope you find a home soon. My grandchildren in Warrenton started school last week and my grandchildren in NC start school next week. Although most kids never want the summer to end!! Good luck.

  5. Babs

    What treasures! The feeling of discovering a “find” at a thrift or antique store is thrilling…like winning the lottery but on a much smaller scale.

    Feathering your new nest already…

  6. Roxanne

    Yay!! I was able to get 6 bowls. I’m so excited! 🙂

    • Robin Leach

      I love Buffalo China and have several pieces. I also have some Churchill, which says made in England, that I found at a yard sale which was selling restaurant ware. I got 14 plates, and I love them. Very durable and lovely. Are you familiar with the Churchill China

      • Kimberly Westby

        I was quite excited one day thrifting in Nova Scotia, to discover a box of Churchill Blue Willow. There was a platter, sugar bowl,divided serving dish, 2 large serving bowls, 8 of dinner plates, soup bowls, bread plates, I had my hubby ‘guard’ it while I checked it really was only $25 for all of it! I am happy to report, all made it home safely to Ontario.
        Churchill fills the empty niche left by Johnson brothers.


  7. Judy Karlson

    Marion…I too collect Buffalo China! My pattern is Niagara with two dark green stripes on each white piece. The shape of the bowls, mugs, plates etc are just like yours but I don’t recognize the back stamp you showed as I don’t see the words ‘Buffalo China’ as all of mine do. They were made in Buffalo, NY. Your back stamp says PA? Curious? Perhaps Buffalo China was also made in PA?

  8. CathyR

    The mugs have a built in coaster! I’d love to snag 2 of them for my art room if you decide to sell😉
    Good find!

  9. Mary Lou Dishop

    I, too, have a collection of ironstone molds. I have most of mine on their side except for a couple that have forms that I like. I converted a closet in my entry with multiple shelves. I found lights that fit under the shelves and are recharged much like a cell phone.

  10. Kristina Sinclair

    I was wondering about the PA logo also – I thought Buffalo China was from Buffalo NY.
    I have always used Syracuse China which is from Syracuse NY and is the same – extremely sturdy and doesnt break when dropped. Many restaurants and airlines Ed )when they used real china) used Syracuse china.
    I have the same ironstone shite plates, bowls, mugs and serving platters. Now I’ll have to be on the lookout for Buffalo China too!

  11. Irene Kelly

    Not a fan of this China never knew the name. It’s way too thick and heavy for me. I prefer a more delicate everyday dinnerware. I have so many sets of China from Wedgewood to Pottety Barn and we use the Pottery Barn and a set I bought at WalMart that is breaking now along with some of my really nice water glasses which are very fine glass but no name. In fact I drink a Diet Coke everyday from those beautiful water glasses that now I only have a few left that I wash by hand and dry with the absolute best dish towels by Williams Sonoma. so not to get chipped in the dishwasher.My thought process is I want to use my dishes and glasses everyday before I die rather than leaving to people that will not get used or appreciated. So if they break it was me who broke them not others ! !

  12. Peggy W

    We are currently living in Buffalo and the local thrift stores are filled with Buffalo china, Niagara China, and Syracuse China. I pick up a piece occasionally, mostly small bowls and small trays to use as paint palettes. I absolutely LOVE it!

    • Terry

      Wow Peggy I just might plan a trip to Buffalo

    • Rita

      I’ve only been to Buffalo once. Passed through and stopped at the Martin House. Wish I had had more time for thrift stores.

  13. Betsy

    You have wonderful luck! Years ago there was a shop in New Hope,Pa called Hot Plates. They sold Buffalo China and tons of old diner, hotel and airline china plus other vintage companies. They are long gone and I haven’t found a shop like it since.

  14. Mary Anne Saunders

    I love the thick diner china with the green stripe! What lucky find!

  15. Nora

    Wow. You are so lucky!!! What a find! I’m jelly.

  16. JC

    Cutest mugs ever! Great find!

  17. Georgine Patterson

    I have a beautiful pitcher that was made at the Shenango China factory in New Castle, PA. They, too, made dishes used in restaurants. It says Shenango on the bottom. 😊

  18. Kathi Mundigler

    What a fabulous find! I too have a love of and weakness for this wonderful old diner china. The mugs are my favorite for my coffee and we use so many of the other pieces for everything from dining to display to filling with good things to create more display. Thanks for sharing

  19. Tina

    Great find! Love those mugs!


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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