Most collectables have a short popularity period and then fizzle out. Need I remind you of Pet Rocks, Beanie Babies and Swatch watches? Do I dare mention Snow Babies, Precious Moments or Mood rings?
There are a few collectables that buck the trend because the name associated with it has become valuable in its their right. Waterford is a good example. Very few people utilize Waterford pieces, for example, for their intended use. Most collectors prefer to keep their pieces in mint condition with original labels. In its basic form, Waterford is just a piece of crystal. There are thousands of pieces of crystal in the world. What makes Waterford so valuable to so many people is the quality, the patterns, the country of origin and the name. Did you know that Waterford crystal is THE MOST COLLECTED ITEM IN THE WORLD?
The key to valuing Waterford crystal is to identify the pattern. There is a huge disparity in pattern values. I once purchased a set of 8 Waterford water goblets. The seller knew they were Waterford and that was a good start. I paid $80 for a set of 8. $10 per glass which is standard right now. However, this pattern was only produced in the late 1960s and only for a short time. Thus, it was relatively rare. I sold those glasses for $800 because I identified the pattern.
Do not mistake Waterford with its entry level Marquis by Waterford. Marquis by Waterford is formed crystal with no hand cutting or wheel work. In fashion, this would be considered a diffusion line. Sometimes produced by other manufacturers or in other countries. Many of the Marquis by Waterford pieces are made in China or Poland, instead of Ireland. The best Waterford pieces will almost always be produced in Ireland. With regular Waterford the pieces are either hand crafted (higher end lines) or machine made and then hand or wheel cut with the appropriate pattern. The more human hands that touch the crystal, the more valuable and less produced an item usually will be.
Now you will be able to differentiate Waterford from its
less expensive entry level Marquis by Waterford pieces. Don’t forget that most pieces are etched on
the bottom. The etched marks do often wear off on older pieces with hand
washing and dishwasher use so look carefully. I find that a cell phone light
properly placed at the opening of a glass or vase will help you to identify if
a piece has a mark. Happy hunting!