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3 Best Places to Find Blue and White Chinoiserie


Y'all know that I love blue and white porcelain, but I have to tell you that my best pieces did not come from a retail store. Shocked?

I'm not saying that you can't find good pieces at retail stores. I'm saying that you can find REALLY NICE pieces at other places. Let me tell you about three places where you can find the best blue and white porcelain.

#1 The Thrift Store

If you know anything about me, you should have known that I was going to say that the thrift store was one of the best places to find blue and white porcelain. I've found so many great pieces at Goodwill and other out of the way thrift stores. When I see a blue and white ginger jar at a thrift store, I'm in disbelief at how it ended up there. Who would give that away? What's going on in their life that they no longer have love for this ginger jar? Earth to Caron! Come in, Caron!

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Ginger jar at thrift store. Yes. I spy with my little eye something blue and white on a shelf. I slide over to the ginger jar or lamp or whatever blue and white piece it is, and snatch it off the shelf!  

A few weeks ago, this very same scenario played out in my local Goodwill. This time it was a blue and white floral lamp in the shape of a large ginger jar. I saw it up ahead in the aisle and I left my cart unattended and literally ran up the aisle to grab it. I apologize if you were the woman that I startled as I made the grab, but I was on a mission!

I think I paid $8 for it. Good prices. Unique finds. That's what I like about the thrift store. 

#2 Consignment Shop

Let me tell you a little about consignment shops. Consignment shops are similar to thrift stores, except they are usually not charity-based. In fact, the inventory at consignment shops belongs to sellers who agree to pay the shop owner a fee or percentage of the sale price. Inventory is usually more upscale and in better shape than at a thrift store. Usually. 

Prices are much higher than at a thrift store. But, like a thrift store, you can find really unique pieces. People bring in unwanted family heirlooms hoping to get a good deal. I've shopped at consignment stores over the years and I like the experience. 

One thing that I've done at a consignment store that I've never tried at a thrift store is haggle. You don't usually haggle at the thrift store. The price is the price. I understand that and know that most of the proceeds will go back into the community, so I'm okay with that. 

On the other hand, the whole premise of the consignment arrangement is to get the best deal for the seller, so in my mind, that means that there is room for negotiation. Never be afraid to ask for a price break.

I found a consignment store listing on Craigslist that turned out to be goldmine of blue and white chinoiserie. I located the place on a map and grabbed my coffee. It was a few towns over. Apparently, someone was consolidating a relative's home and they had a boatload of blue and white decor. Everything was turned over to the consignment shop. I haggled a little and ended up buying a beautiful blue and white chinoiserie bird cage. 

#3 Yard Sale, Flea Market

Going to yard sales is one of my favorite pastimes. You are bound to find almost anything at a yard sale.  Sometimes the stuff is free. People just want to get rid of stuff, so there is always room to haggle. 

I remember driving through New Haven, CT and stopping at a light. While sitting in traffic, hubby spotted a yard sale. No, what he really spotted was a table full of blue and white. We pulled over and I think I jumped out before the car had even come to a full stop! Then I chilled. I didn't want the seller to see how excited I was.

What was before me was a bucket of blue and white ceramic orbs. Various sizes. I struck up a deal with the seller to buy them all. I think there was 18 in total. We hit a snag when I realized that hubby and I had no cash on us. This was critical! I quickly sent hubby on a ATM run. I couldn't let this deal fall apart!

Cash is king when it comes to yard sales and flea markets. I could have easily lost my blue and white orbs if we had not found an ATM. There's no "please hold this for me until tomorrow" going on a yard sale. Had this been a planned yard sale trip, believe me, I would have made sure to have cash on hand. 

Recently a rare Ming dynasty cobalt blue and white floral bowl was found at a yard sale in New Haven. The buyer snagged it for $35 and it later sold at auction for over $722,000. What an awesome find! 

Check out my Youtube video where I talk more about finding awesome blue and white pieces.

Now, I can't guarantee that you will find any rare pieces at your local thrift store, consignment store or yard sale. But you can find unique designs, great pieces at great prices. If by chance, you happen on a Ming-dynasty era bowl, that's icing on your blue and white cake! 

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