All Antique & Collectible items are described honestly & accurately to the best of our knowledge and ability. All items (unless stated otherwise) are antique or collectible and used; most will show a degree of natural wear resulting from age and usage.

Any wear or damage over and above normal age related wear and tear (scratches/cracks/tears or faults) is detailed in the item description. Please ensure that you are aware of any faults or damage BEFORE BUYING.

While there are pretty good standards for what constitutes ‘mint’ or ‘near mint’ regarding coins, there appears to be no such standard when it comes to describing antique ceramics. We have tried here to present a list of the different words and their definitions, as used in the descriptions of the items we offer for sale.

  • PERFECT / MINT – Very few ceramic items of any age can claim to be in the same condition as when they left the kiln. It appears that the great majority of porcelain wasn’t even perfect then. Most ceramics were also meant to be used somehow and the fact that one bowl might later have been stored inside another, will surely have left some scratches in the glaze. So, the term ‘perfect’ is not to be taken literally but as a suggestion that there is no or hardly any physical damage to be found.
  • VERY GOOD – Shows less wear than would be expected for its age. Minor surface scratches, minor fritting to the rim, minor glaze blisters that probably need to be felt rather than seen. Some wear to the decoration can also occur. Nothing that needs to be restored.
  • GOOD – Shows normal wear expected for its age but nothing that, from a professional standpoint would benefit from being restored. Original kiln imperfections such as original firing cracks, grit stuck to the glaze, normal stuff for antique ceramics. European porcelain has typically been in use since it arrived, and its normal condition is with quite some wear along the rim as in minor chips, flaking enamels, broken glaze blisters, scratches to the glaze etc. Hair line cracks could be present if they don’t detract from the visual value. All flaws will typically be mentioned in the description.
  • RESTORED – Defined as something has been added to the ceramic structure. Where a section has been off and glue is added to put it back, this is restoration. When a chip has been filled with some material that was not there to begin with, this is restoration. When paint has been added to hide a repair or replace some part of the original decoration that is also considered restoration.
  • CERAMIC RESTORATIONS – Today pieces can arrive on the market that have been repaired by ceramic materials which might be picked from a different item (grafting) or newly made and added. We will not normally sell this type of item as there is little possibility that the restoration can be reversed or improved. Unless rarity or condition warrant offering it to the market.
  • NOT RATED When the item is interesting but damaged it is typically not classified at all but instead described in detail. If in doubt, email us with a specific question through the contact link available on all item information pages.


One factor that complicates matters is the availability of fakes and copies that are normally in much better condition than real or antique items.

For collectors buying online, genuine antiques might compare unfavorably both in price and in apparent condition, with replica or imitation items, however replicas and imitations do have a place in new collections, if only to fill temporary gaps until the genuine article becomes available.

If Holly House Antiques offer a replica or imitation item, we will describe it as such.

Damage Definitions:

  • Hairline — A crack that is so thin that it almost disappears at certain angles. No material losses.
  • Crack — A fracture with material loss and or visible in any light and from a distance.
  • Chip — A material loss typically on an edge. Minor or minute chips are used when the material loss is limited to the glaze. Also described as a glaze chip.
  • Star crack — A fracture with more than two ending points. Star cracks typically appear on the bases, inside the foot rim on anything and on the walls of round wares.
  • Firing flaw — An original flaw caused during the firing process, typically some grit stuck to the glaze, brown stains caused by impurities in the clay, shrinkage cracks that have opened during the drying or firing process. This is not considered damage but might reduce the value somewhat depending on the appearance.

One important flaw worth mentioning is if a vessel is skewed or of imperfect shape, as in uneven / oval instead of straight / round. This is a typical feature of handmade provincial wares and is considered to be expected and charming.

Remember, all our descriptions are our opinion only and are based on our own knowledge and experience, and as such are honest and genuine. Limits in our knowledge or our mis-reading of a mark can happen and if we are genuinely at fault, we will rectify the situation.

All photographs and images will be of the actual antique or collectible item.

We try our very best to produce photographs that show the items true colours as closely as possible and always take photographs in daylight without using flash photography.

However, colour reproduction varies with different computer monitors and depends upon their settings, and so the colours may appear slightly different on your monitor.

Postage or shipping costs are non-negotiable. Please check cost of delivery prior to buying. If you feel delivery is too expensive please DO NOT BUY.

  • Free Collection: from Lea Road, Gainsborough Lincolnshire DN21 1AR (we will store paid purchases free of charge for fourteen days)
  • UK Post for £15: this applies to smaller items (up to 2kg) that we can box up and simply post to you.
  • UK Courier for £30: this applies to larger packages (up to 10kg) that can be boxed up and collected by a standard courier delivery company.
  • UK Van Delivery by Hand: this applies to furniture, large items or delicate items. This is undertaken by ourselves or by a fully insured van delivery company that is personally known to us. Prices depend on your location and size or amount of items purchased.

We are able to deliver any item to anywhere in the World and can obtain quotes for delivery for all the items we stock.

Proof of posting is always obtained and will be kept for one month following delivery. Postage will be discounted for buyers buying more than one item at the same time.

We are happy for customers to arrange their own courier service to collect. We will pack to our usual standard for courier collected items.

We understand the need to pack all items well and that prompt shipping is essential when customers are keen to receive their purchases. We ship promptly by recorded post and all parcels can be tracked to their destination.

We ship WORLDWIDE and aim to dispatch all orders within 48hrs of receipt of cleared funds. Therefore, an item won on Sunday and Paid via Paypal on Monday should be packed and shipped by Wednesday. Likewise, an item bought or won on Friday should be packed and dispatched the following Monday.

Delivery of goods generally requires a signature at the delivery address. Please ensure that someone is available to sign for the goods. We can deliver to an alternative address, such as a work address, if this helps, however it must be the address detailed on the paypal payment.

Shipping takes place on weekdays between 9am and 5pm. Please make sure you provide us with a DAYTIME CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER for our courier company. This helps to ensure that your item is delivered without unnecessary delay.

All items shipped via Royal Mail will be dispatched within three days of receipt of cleared payment. Items sent via courier will be booked within three days of payment – delivery to be confirmed by the courier with approximate date and time of delivery.

We always try to list the unpacked weight of antique & collectible items and to be as accurate as possible, but please contact us to double-check if you feel the weight is a prime concern BEFORE BUYING


Returns are accepted only when the item is not as described. The photographs form part of the item description.

We offer full refunds on items that have been delivered and that prove significantly different to our listing description. We do not offer refunds on items where you have viewed the photos and the difference claimed is detailed within the description or shown in a photograph.

Should you change your mind regarding your purchase we may offer, solely at our discretion, a refund of the purchase price less all costs relating to the sale including admin fees, postage and packing, administration and re-listing.

We accept Paypal (Credit/Debit card); Postal Orders or Bankers Draft.
For speediest despatch please pay via Paypal

Wish lists are collections of items saved by potential customers in their user account, to signify interest without an immediate intent to purchase.

Shopping for friends and family is simpler with a wish list function. Once a wish list is complete, the creator can send it to friends and family in anticipation of holidays, birthdays or life events.

Damaged Items:
Please notify us immediately of any damage and send a photograph of the damage – this can be as an attachment to an email.

Make sure the photograph shows the damage, then return the item to us (by trackable post) so that we can inspect the item and check security markings.

Should the damage have been caused by the delivery service we will instigate a claim for compensation.

Wrong Item Sent:
In this instance you should still send us a photograph of the item. We will then either arrange for the item to be collected or ask you to send it back.

If we have sent the wrong item we will refund any return postage and arrange for the correct item to be sent.

Once an order has been placed, paid for and accepted, we immediately begin the packing and shipping process. We cannot then accept cancellation without levying an administration charge (15%). If you are willing to accept the admin charge and the item has not been shipped, we will accept your cancellation.

The Antiques Market reserves the right to cancel any purchase from any buyer who arouses suspicion as to their reliability or credibility or who has not read or complied with our terms and condition of sale.

Ask A Question ...

Question or query not answered above, then ask and we'll do our best to provide you with an answer.
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