I've heard it said that North Alabama has more published writers per capita than any other place in the United States. It might serve as a good conversation starter to ask new acquaintances, "So have you written any good books lately?" I was delighted to find that Robin Brewer of Huntsville, has. Robin has turned a love for High Tea and a hobby of collecting tea sets and accessories into a book.
Robin wrote "Noritake Dinnerware: Identification Make Easy"after she began to collect the beautiful and practical china in 1991 and found identifying what she bought a time-consuming, confusing, and often, laborious task.
Robin invented her own unique way to identify and organize her pieces. Later, she decided to share her newfound technique with other collectors of Noritake by publishing her own book.
Her new approach allows the collector to identify a piece of Noritake dinnerware by finding a matching pattern or by finding a similar shape that corresponds to a time line. Robin's book covers a wide range of years, designs, and styles. Using her love for photography with her new hobby proved valuable.
Robin photographed over 700 patterns for her book. The pieces are indexed by both name and number and make identifying pieces simple and quick. Using Robin's identification system will help you date your pieces, find replacement pieces, learn what pieces are available in each pattern, and locate compatible patterns. Robin says that there are over 400 different back stamps on Noritake china.
One of her pieces includes a breakfast set with features a teapot, teacup, creamer, sugar, toast holder, and cereal bowl on a serving plate.
I was surprised to find out that the more pieces of a particular pattern that have sold, the more valuable that piece becomes. In art, where an original or just a few pieces, makes a painting or picture rare, the opposite is true for china. Unpopular patterns have little value. When shopping in flea markets or antique stores, Robin says to look for familiar and popular pieces if you want pieces that have good resale value.
Robin has become well-known nationwide for her expertise with the Noritake line. Her book includes a brief history of the Noritake Company and china making, setting an elegant table, care and use of dinnerware, back stamps, and identification of Noritake china pieces. On her website, Robin offers to identify one piece of Noritake free per customer. Robin is always on the look out for old literature, catalogs, or advertisements for Noritake. If you share this same interest, you should look Robin up for a cup of tea sometime...on Noritake China, of course.
Editor's Note: Robin Brewer passed away in March 2008. The Noritake Museum and dishes was dismantled and sold by her family.