I have put together this list as a guide to buying Briglin Pottery, but it also applies to all ceramics in general. Much of the article refers to advice for ebay as in recent years this online seller has come to drive the market for second hand ceramics. If you are new to buying ceramics and want to buy some items the articles below might be of use. I would always recommend buying small purchases first until you know what you are doing. Much of the fun of collecting comes from finding the items, tracking them down. If it was easy to find these things then everyone would be selling and buying Briglin and there would be no fun in it.
A woman owner of a C20th antiques shop once said to me that she did not care much for Briglin. She had sold the few items she had as was not very interested in the pottery. I could not help thinking as I departed that I was in her shop, money in my pocket, she had no Briglin to sell me and I was not interested in the other C20th items on sale. I was leaving. Surely she needs to be stocking what I want to buy and not what she wants to sell me. Her stall is no longer there. There must be a moral in this tale.
eBay – The Online Marketplace
I will start with eBay. In the last ten years the second hand market has largely moved online and eBay has taken the majority of the traffic for ‘previously loved’ items including ceramics and glass. It is a very large marketplace with a healthy trade in items including Briglin Pottery. The standard local antiques shop has had a hard time and many do not exist any more. They now tend to be out of town where the rent is low or where the premises is attached to the house. I will mention eBay throughout this article. Many of the items on this site came from various sellers on eBay but I also buy from a network of dealers and casual sellers at car-boots etc. I have items offered to me direct and I am always willing to make deals for any Briglin items particularly if they are unusual.
eBay.co.uk & eBay.com
There is a difference between eBay.co.uk and eBay.com. One is the British and one American. There are other eBay sites such as eBay.ie for Ireland and eBay.it for Italy. Some are affiliated with the main eBay and some are not. It is not possible to list (sell) an item on all the worlds eBay sites as many are only in that countries language. So many remain independent. Please see this list of world EBAY sites – Note this is not an official list and I have not checked or vetted these links. If you are new to eBay my simple advice is do not buy from outside the UK . I will repeat that – do not buy from outside the UK. It is posible to filter out search results as standard and only list items. Click on “UK Only” under Item Location list on the left of the screen. I would be very suspicious about buying $200 worth of Nike trainers from Hong Kong. So just stick to the UK market to begin with.
Starting a Collection; Buying Advice
If you are new to ceramics then I would suggest you start with small inexpensive items. If you have any doubt about an item on eBay then 1) don’t bid, and 2) ask for further information and photos from the seller. The best advice is to only buy pieces that you really like. eBay is good as it is possible to follow an auction and see what items go for (it is not like seeing an item in an antique shop window). Don’t bid just because you think you can make a profit on an item or because they are going cheap. Buy pieces that are good examples of their type and the best you can afford. If it looks cheap then there may be a reason that no one else has bid on an item. It’s highly unlikely that you have spotted something that others have missed unless it’s been listed in the wrong section or has the wrong description. There is an old saying in poker:
‘If you’ve been at the table for a while and not seen a bad player then it’s probably you!’
So if others are are not bidding then check the photo and description again, you may have missed something! Also be aware that on eBay much of the bidding happens in the last minute even if the item is on a ten day listing. Items that sit on eBay for long periods on ‘buy it now’ are probably overpriced, people go crazy and list little things like single milk jugs for £20 + £5 p&p with no chance of ever selling them.
eBay Prices – Rare Is Not Valuable
There is a concept that sellers online have done all the hard work in finding an item and this is what you as a buyer are paying for. Do not make the mistake of assuming items that are rare are also valuable. For example a single milk jug may be ‘rare’, but if no one wants a milk jug it is not valuable. It is the demand for items that drives the price, not the sacristy. Stig Lindberg items will always attract many watchers and many bids, everyone wants them, everyone is interested. So the price goes up and stays up. The concept of a ‘finding’ price may work in a high-class Kensington antique shop but it does not ring true on eBay. Unless an item is very rare or in large demand then the eBay price is normally lower than the typical real-world street price. Often the two prices are linked as sellers generally refer to eBay for guide prices. eBay buyers want a bargain, in general people are a little suspicious of very expensive unique items on eBay. A lot of people would rather handle an expensive item before parting with big lumps of hard earned cash.
Other Online Shops – My Experiences
There are many online shops. They are usually small with under a hundred items. Often these shops are antique shops that also sell online, but not always. Many will be dealers with stalls. My experience with independent online shops has been good. I have not had any problems. I have added a small area to this site to sell some spare item of ceramics and glass and you can find my shop here.
Is It Real?- Briglin & Ebay, Scammers, Fraudsters & Fakers
Noun, A thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham.
Is it real? Well, err perhaps, probably, there is rubbish about. Not everything that is sold is real and you should always use your own judgment. If you are starting to collect then my general suggestion is don’t trust the description, do some research before you buy, reading will cost you nothing on the internet, except some time. Don’t buy lots from ebay before you know what you are doing, or you will get stung. I have made mistakes, we all have, if you read the advice on this page then hopefully you can avoid making the same mistakes and make your own, new ones.
When you have held many obviously real pieces you can tell quickly if you pick up a fake item made but some joker in his pottery class at school. Real items have a evenness and a symmetry – a fineness. They are obviously made with skill. Be wary of fuzzy pictures on eBay, they are often fuzzy for a reason. Especially be concerned if the base photo is fuzzy, the seller may be trying to hide something. In the end there is no substitute for experience. Having held or owned similar items is the best way to judge items.
Please ask for a returns policy when you buy an item on the internet,. This applies to both eBay sellers and internet shops, then if you are unhappy when it arrives in the post you can return it by just paying the postage. This will not get you all your money back as you will have paid for x2 sets of postage but it’s better than keeping a fake or falsely described item. I would also suggest that you are careful when buying Briglin animals off the internet. Even the original ones are often of poor quality…VERY poor in some cases. You will notice that when a good example come up there is some competitive bidding on it.
On the whole eBay is OK and I use it for the majority of items i purchase. The prices seem fair, and most of my transactions have gone without a problem. You are going to get some failures if you use eBay regularly. Such is life. Expect problems in about 1:20 transactions, that is my experience. This includes Items lost or damaged in the post. Some through bad packing and some as the post office numpty that day used them as a football. Nothing more depressing that receiving a package that ‘rattles’. I email the seller straight away and ask them if they want me to open the package or return it unopened. Some sellers ask you to not sign for packages that rattle and ask the delivery person to return to sender, but in reality this is hard to do. I have also had problems with items with damage not described, missed delivery’s, very late postage. etc.
The one trick people do use is to sell damaged or incomplete items in the internet. This does happen quite often. Read the description very carefully and do not rush bid at the last second without knowing about the item first. Items will be described as ‘prefect’ then arrive with an obvious hairline or a chip. A friend said to me that eBay are trying to get rid of the little seller. The little buyer is good for them, but the little seller with very few transactions causes eBay much consternation. Try to buy from sellers who sell period ceramics often, they will know what they are doing.
eBay Feedback Score
This is helpful but in reality it is meaningless. I have had dodgy items from sellers with 1000’s of sales to their name. However I would not be too happy about paying a new seller with few sales £100 for an item either. Most people want their items signed for when delivered, this is good for both buyer and seller. At the time of revising this article the Post Office has put up it’s rates dramatically. Second class parcel post is not good, but we will se how it goes. Most small items I get are very well wrapped and will take the tumble dryer treatment.
Don’t Buy Just For Profit
Buy items that you like and that are reasonably priced. If you go down the route of only bidding on items you think are a bargain you will end up with a load of rubbish low priced items with some of them being not correct. In the long run you are better off with few top quality expensive and rare items rather than many small common items. Paradoxically it is hard to know what to buy and if it’s genuine without buying all the small items first. It’s a REALLY BAD policy to bid on an item just because others are doing so and to just assume it is worth what you are bidding. This policy is an easy way to lose lots of money. Don’t assume anything, READ THE DESCRIPTION check the pictures, make sure.
Beware eBay Shill Bidding
‘Shill’ bidding is where false bids are placed by the sellers friends “driving prices up with phony bids, they seek to provoke a bidding war among other participants. Often they are told by the seller precisely how high to bid, as the seller actually pays the price (to himself, of course) if the item does not sell, losing only the auction fees.” In the past if the seller himself (or his friend) won the item then they would a week or two later offer it to the 2nd highest bitter on 2nd chance offer. Not sure if this can happen now, or if they banned it.
Further Buying Advise & Links
Buy small and buy what you like and use you own judgment. Don’t buy items from abroad, and pay by Pay Pal. Although Pay Pal may not protect you as much as you think.
DO NOT USE CHEQUES! – Never send a cheque to anyone that you don’t personally know and trust. They give away all your banking details, sort code, full name, back account and yes…. even your signature. They are a thing of the past. They can be altered copied or the information used for fraud.
DO NOT GET GREEDY – Remember if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Scam Links – How to Avoid
Tt is well worth reading through some of these links. They are quite shocking at times.
SCAM WARNINGS – Excellent advise 22 November 2013 Published by see-search
How to ‘buy’ positive feedback on ebay – It’s cheap and very easy
The Register (article on fraud on ebay. I don’t want to scare anyone but please take care)
Shill Bidding (article)
Feedback Scams (how 100% feedback might not be what it seems)
Top 10 Ebay scams (interesting)
Ebay CommunitY: Scm Discussions – Quite shocking if you take the time to read through some of these. Selling is a minefield!
How I Got Caught by Scammers (The tale of the Bitossi Hens!)
2012 – I purchased the two Bitossi orange ‘Hens’, I was interested in Bitossi and I though they looked fun. Animals always sell well and I was thinking they were a good investment. They looked much more stylish than some of the Briglin stuff. I did all the normal research into the items, the seller had posted a good set of images of the two hens and I checked out the pattern and found it elsewhere on the net. So far so good, they look real.
I was aware that they make new Bitossi, but the bases and marks looked old. Checked out he seller – she had good turnover and was no newbie. Ok all is good.
So I bid and win the auction for something like £69 including postage. Two birds that seemed reasonable. Invoice gets emailed over from Ebay 2 min after the auction, I log in and pay by PAYPAL 5 min after the auction……
…..I’ve already been conned. 🙁
What the hacker did was to break into the sellers account. Just before the auction ended he changed the address that money was posted to via PAYPAL to his account… Which country? ……….Yup, you guessed it ……. Nigeria! ………. 🙁 🙁
I won’t go into details, but the seller contacted me 24 hours later to point out that she had been hacked. It was a mess as the monies were paid to this guy but for some reason the transaction showed as ‘not completed’ in PAYPAL. 🙁 🙁 🙁
All the automated PAYPAL help wanted me to stop the transaction, but in reality it had already gone through . When you REALLY need just to talk to someone PAYPAL don’t make it easy. They actually make it quite hard to just a talk to a human being. You end up caught in an endless call logging queue that takes 15 min just to get started. Eventually it was all sorted out. It was a complete pain in the behind. I did get a full refund from PAYPAL so thanks for that, but it was like getting blood out of a stone. I payed the woman again and finally got the two orange hens.
The moral in the story… well even if you ARE careful you can still get shafted through someone else’s mistake 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
Jeremy Broadway – Forger of Bernard Leach 2008
Below are the links to the articles published in 2008 about the forger who made £20,000 from his ‘home made’ Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie pieces. His name was Jeremy Broadway and he was a school teacher in Blandford, Dorset He used his skills as a potter to fake classic potters work and sell them for profit. It just goes to show that a reputable provenance is worth every penny.
Broadway, was given a 12 month supervision order under the Mental Health Act in 2008.
As reported in the following articles;
However, numerous unexplained credits on Broadway’s bank account are believed to be from the sale of fakes that have not been traced.
Most disparities between Broadway’s works and the originals were due to technical differences in the manufacturing process. There are a few tell tale signs that collectors should beware of:
All Broadway fakes seen by Mr Williams were iron glaze vases, so buyers should be particularly vigilant when examining these.
The form of Rie’s bowls varied according to the glaze she intended for them, but Broadway produced a stock of generic conical footed bowl shapes which he then glazed differently. Rie fired her bowls once, resulting in the distinctive mottled surface of her work, where the body material mixes in with the glaze in patches. Broadway biscuit-fired his copies producing a smoother, duller surface.
The thickness of Rie’s bowls varies from a thin lip to a heavily weighted base. Broadway’s are of a more uniform weight and thickness.
This is another article about fakes. This time someone is reproducing and selling blank Troika pieces using the original moulds. There is nothing wrong with doing this. However , anyone who then decorated the pieces and tries to sell them as original is breaking the law.
Where Can I Buy Briglin?
Well everywhere! You just have to look. Obviously it helps to live in or near to London, but it turns up in the strangest places. Unfortunately they don’t hang out signs saying “Briglin for sale”. London is obviously the best place to look since it was made there.
Ebay has a steady flow of items. It is becoming harder to find though, and the bidding on nice pieces is sometimes competitive. It can still be found at car boots and because of it’s ‘brown’ nature it does not normally catch the eye. I have been out looking for items and pieces have been on the shelf in front of me in a shop and I have looked at them and missed them. Sometimes I’m disappointed as I can’t find anything then I realize that the vase right under my nose is Briglin.
Search and you will find. There is a lot of it out there!
Do You Have Any Briglin Pottery For Sale?
Yes! I do now. Although none of the items on the main site are for sale, I have now added a saleroom to this site where some Briglin Pottery is for sale as well as other items of ceramics and glass. Please visit the Briglin.com shop here.