Anniversary Trip Find: Vintage Noritake China

Purchasing fine china was never high on my to do list when Mr. Awesome and I got married. Acquiring a nice, sturdy set of Corelle dishes I was unlikely to break and wouldn’t take up much room in our kitchen cabinets was much more prominent on the list, and something my mother very kindly checked off last Christmas. That said, I found myself somewhat befuddled as Mr. Awesome and I speed walked back to our car from one of the many lovely antique shops in Marshall, Michigan to pick up a blue plastic tub of vintage china.

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Noritake “Althea” pattern c. 1933

It became apparent over our anniversary trip that I can actually take Mr. Awesome into antique shops. We weren’t in the above mentioned shop long before he found some small figurines that might work well for some of his games. While he looked through the little bags of soldiers and wizards, I browsed the rest of the store, not finding much that caught my eye. We both went to the lower level of the store and looked around, but nothing there either.

As we came back up the stairs I happened to glance into a large plastic tub with some plates in it.

“That’s pretty…”

The shop’s owner came over, and before I knew it I was agreeing to buy a fair amount of “vintage” plates made by a Japanese company. I knew nothing about the company and nothing about china, just what the tag in the tub said:

ViNTAge

NoRiTAKe ChiNA

“1933” ALTheA

$100.00 SET

We didn’t pay $100 for the set, which turned out to include twelve dinner plates, eleven dessert/salad plates, twelve saucers, seven cups, a serving bowl, a “casserole dish” (as the shop keeper called it), and a large serving platter.

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After getting back to our room at the bed & breakfast, I looked up Noritake China on my phone, and was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered. Far from having just bought cheap, low grade china from some unknown company, Noritake is still very much in business and, from what I could tell, well respected for their products with their vintage pieces sought after by collectors. I was also very happy to discover that the 1933 date seemed to be correct.

After Mr. Awesome and I got home, I washed the china as gently as I could and stacked it in a kitchen cabinet, which seemed sad and a bit of a waste. What a pity to hide something so pretty. Still, we hardly have room for the traditional china cupboard. Nothing to do but wait, I suppose.

Next day I started rooting around the internet for plate display ideas and came across some very appealing wall arrangements. Inspired, I went and grabbed the three scrolly iron plate holders Mr. Awesome and I used at our wedding reception. I took down the framed wall art and two candle sconces that were hanging in our dining room and hung the three plate holders in the nail holes that were left behind. I put two dinner plates on either side and the serving platter in the middle. It looked good, but needed more.

After a trip to Hobby Lobby, some praying (Please, Lord, help me make this look good), measuring, and a few screws, I stood back and saw this:

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I ended up purchasing two more of the scrolly iron holders, and some of the cheap wire hangers to hang the smaller plates. The cup holders were actually candle sconces I’ve had for years that were laying around in the garage.

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All in all, I’m super pleased with how it turned out, and I’m so glad that I can gawk at my anniversary souvenirs as much as I like without having to pull them out of a kitchen cabinet.

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2 thoughts on “Anniversary Trip Find: Vintage Noritake China

  1. Toni Ellis says:

    Your set looks VERY similar to the one I inherited from my Grandmother. My set actually has stamped on the back Occupied Japan because it was made while Japan was occupied by allied forces in WWII. While I love the history behind it (mainly my Grandmother used it in her catering business) it does make me a little sad that the Noritake company lost so much money on their beautiful creation after WWII. Seems like innocent people suffer the most in war. I ABSOLUTELY love your display and have to admit it has made me start contemplating a way to display some of my pieces.

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