Thomas Till & Son/s

Thomas Till and Son/s Online Museum

FAQ

Values

  1. Is my Till and Sons item valuable?

    Thomas Till produced very nice middle class earthenware for people who were reasonably wealthy from 1850 - 1928. Some items do command a moderate value such as complete sets of graded jugs and dressing table sets. However, in most cases, Till items do not fetch very high prices as they are not as collectable as, for instance, Clarice Cliffe or Moorcroft. Even high profile pottery manufacturers are  struggling to reach a decent price in auction. A full dinner service can struggle to fetch £50.00 which seems a ridiculous price for items that have survived for so long. The reality is that people do not require large dinner services anymore and this is reflected in the sales. Also items have to be in pristine condition to fetch a good price. The least valuable items tend to be tureens, dinner plates, soup dishes and side plates. There may be some value in a pleasant tea set and teapots, sugar bows and creamers are a little more desirable.

    We have seen some ridiculously priced items on online auction websites which may influence peoples perceptions of how much an item is worth. For instance we have seen adverts for pairs  of 'Louis' tureens which have been advertised for between £400 to £700. Sadly they woud be lucky to sell for £20.00. Certainly the more expensive items don't sell. Other items are often described as 'rare' such as 'Nile', 'Clyde', 'Pagoda' 'Shanghae', etc. We are sorry to disappoint but these items, especially plates and tureens, are not at all rare. Some sellers do get very imaginative with their selling write ups and often quote the 1881 census which really is unimportant to the selling of these items.

    The exceptions in Till and Sons appears to be commemarative ware such as Kitchener plates and mugs and wares produced for various associations and the Methodist Church. We do believe that perfect examples of the handpainted wares may improve in value over time - but we mean perfect examples. Chips, cracks, obvious use, staining, etc, all make these items low value. Just because you see an item advertised for a certain price does not mean it is worth it. An item is only worth what somebody will pay on the day. We do not mind buying imperfect items as we are looking for different examples but there is a limit on what we will spend.

    Given how much Till we have we would love it to be worth a fortune, but sadly this isn't the case. In many ways it is like silver. Often people have some lovely examples of silver plated ware but that has little value. And solid silver pieces, however pretty, are more likely to be bought for melting down which is the equivilent to breaking up a dinner or tea service in our eyes.

  2. If I use my Till and Sons dinner or tea service will I devalue it?

    Mostly the answer is no. If you are lucky enough to have a complete dinner or tea service then it is likely to have been well used in the past even if it was just for high days and holidays. A well used item is unlikely to be worth very much but by using your items you are valuing your service in another way. Just think of all those delightful tea parties with cucumber and salmon sandwiches and specially made cup cakes! And though we wouldn't recommend using a dinner service on a daily basis, because washing just adds to crazing and hairline cracks over time, and Till and Sons were not made for dishwashers! But they have lasted for years already so it is nice to get them out for special occasions such as Christmas, or even pleasant romantic meals for two - there is no law thatsays a full set has to be used. 

  3. I have a complete set of jugs but one is damaged. How does this affect the value?

    A good set of three graded jugs appears to fetch between £100 to £150. However any wear, chips, crazing, stains, etc, bring the value right down to about £30 - £40 depending on the severity of the damage. You could try replacing the damaged jug with a good one of the same size. Some jugs are more desirable than others. We can help if you are unsure about your own.

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Descriptions

  1. Imaginative descriptions

    We have seen a variety of interesting descriptions for many Till and Sons wares which are nice sales pitch but inaccurate so buyer beware.

    Often a small tureen base, often an oval shaped 'dish', will be described as a 'bon bon dish'. It isn't. It is the base of a tureen and should be sold as such. People do look out for tureen bases to match their tureens so they should be advertised as such. It is more honest.

    A tureen should have a lid, a base and a matching ladle. There is no such thing as an unlidded tureen, or open vegetable tureen. The idea of the lid was to keep the food warm.

    We often see a slop bowl (for tea leaves) described as a sugar bowl. Sugar bowls tend to be smaller than slop bowls but if you don't have a comparison it can be difficult to tell. This description inaccuracy may be a genuine mistake but if you are not sure we can help.

    Sometimes a vase is chipped at the top and we have seen some items filed down to create a smooth lid edge by as much as an inch. This maybe makes the vase useable again but the value is negligable.  Again we can help if there is some confusion.

    We have seen pedestal comports decribed as cake plates, stilton cheese dishes, fruit stands, etc. This items would have most likely been used for fancy jellies and other desserts originally. Given the penchent for cup cakes and cakes this is probably a good use for a comport today, so though innacurate, it is not a bad description.

     

  2. I have seen a valuable plate in a book of Staffordshire pottery like mine. Is mine worth the same?

    Examples found in books on pottery are pristine examples which will have sold at auction. Unfortunately books are often out of date so the values may have changed significantly. Also with the advent of online auctions, many more pieces that would have been sent to charity are now being sold at, in our opinion, hugely inflated prices. We believe that some items may be worth hanging onto for the future but most Till pieces are sadly, like a lot of Staffordshire pottery, more collectable than valuable.

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Completing sets.

  1. Do you sell replacement items?

    If you have a part set tea or dinner service we are happy to sell replacements if we have suitable items. We are planning on cataloguing our collection and adding a sales page soon.

  2. Can you buy my Till & sons item?

    The answer is possibly. We do have an idea of values but often this is disappointing for a potential seller. We are private collector, not a business, and do not have a never ending pot of money. We do advise people with a larger item such as dinner service or wash set to get it valued independently if there is a chance we might be interested in the item/s as we are aware that valuing and buying an item is a conflict of interests. However we suggest an antiques expert, not an online auction which is a guide price.

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