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Don’t forget to get the savings while you’re at thrift shops!

These porcelain dishes sold for over $100 can resell for potentially thousands of dollars.



It can be stressful to shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales. What do you do first when faced with such a vast array of options? And how do you find the diamonds in the rough?

For over 30 years, I’ve made a living as a professional reseller, and one of my specialties is scouring thrift stores for hidden treasures. Read on if you want to learn how to save an hour per trip, find better deals, or come away with items you can resell with pride for a profit.

Everything highlighted in my “Thrift Shop Like a Pro” series is a BOLO (“be on the lookout”) item, from necessities that are hard to come by to potential cash cows for resale. As soon as you find it, snap it up!

An assortment of antique Heath ceramics is featured.

In 1948, Edith and Brian Heath established Heath Ceramics. Edith was the potter, and she had degrees from both the Chicago Art Institute and the San Francisco Art Institute.

After San Francisco’s high-end housewares retailer Gump’s noticed Edith’s dinnerware, the couple decided to start their own business.

Brian oversaw operations and collaborated on the development of cutting-edge machinery that would allow for fully automated production without compromising quality.

In collaboration with Brian, Edith established Heath Ceramics as a leading manufacturer of contemporary tableware and decorative tile.

The design duo of Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey bought Heath Ceramics shortly before Edith’s death in 2005. The company has continued to thrive thanks to its innovative product line, which now includes wallpaper and linens and its partnerships with up-and-coming artists.

The answer to that question is why you should buy it.

Edith Heath is a symbol of the 20th century. Her seemingly simple designs are in fact the result of a profound familiarity with the characteristics of various clays and glazes.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art both have pieces by her in their permanent collections.

Heath furniture is, in all respects, a breeze to have around the house. The company’s use of a clay formulation known for its durability and neutral glazes resulted in heirloom-quality tableware. If you happen to come across an entire set, you might want to start using it for your daily meals.

Even more so if you’re looking to resell for a profit, Heath dishes are the stuff of dreams.

Recently on eBay, this huge serving bowl went for $250 and a set of four dinner plates went for $125. This studio bowl, made by hand, can be yours for the low, low price of $8,500 on Etsy. I don’t know what else could possibly pique your interest in thrift stores, but hopefully that did the trick.

Here’s What to See

You can rest assured that the Heath you’ve located is the real deal. The underside of vintage items is clearly marked with an impressed logo.

The most popular variant depicts the word “HEATH” in all capital letters, with the “Tdescending “‘s line falling below the wordmark to form a “L.” On the straight line of the letter “L,” there is a tiny triangle upside down. I think the “L” and triangle together are supposed to represent a piece of pottery sitting on a table or potter’s wheel, but there isn’t much information to help us deconstruct the logo.

Helpful Hint: Glaze pools during firing, hiding the impressed HEATH mark on factory-made items. Look at the underside from a few different perspectives to verify the manufacturer. Light changes make it possible to make out the logo’s finer details.

Artwork produced in the Heath studio is often simply incised with the word “HEATH” in capital letters. You could easily write off the “signature” as the work of a high school art student or an amateur potter if you weren’t paying attention.

The following are especially prized by Heath collectors, though all vintage items are valuable:

Produced in a studio: Items created in a studio are typically unique works of art or run in small quantities. Locate them using the roughly engraved wordmark that was previously mentioned.

Works created in a studio are typically unique or produced in small quantities. Use the roughly engraved wordmark that we discussed above to spot them. Heath’s Serape line is easily recognizable by its striking blue glaze, which is a result of combining three different glazes with Heath’s Moonstone glaze. Serape is a very exclusive brand, and pieces can fetch three times the price of mass-produced alternatives.

Heath’s Serape collection is characterized by a striking blue glaze made by combining three different glazes with Heath’s Moonstone glaze. Serape furniture is so uncommon that it can fetch three times the price of mass-produced furniture. Heath briefly branched out into producing ceramic buttons, which Edith referred to as “kiln fillers.” Due to the rarity of occurrences, I was unable to locate any valuation data.

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