Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

Collecting English Transferware: One Woman's Story

One woman's passion for collecting created an unexpected opportunity when her family faced dire financial hardships.

MP4 | YouTube | Vimeo | | Subscribe in iTunes

(Music by Lineland)

Nancy Roberts has been collecting English transferware china — the evocative pottery and dinnerware adorned with narrative illustrations such as "Liberty Blue," "English Scenery," and "Rose Chintz" — for almost twenty years. Over time, Nancy has become an expert on the history and patterns of transferware's heyday. However, what started as a lighthearted hobby actually helped save her family from financial ruin. As Nancy recalls:
 I started collecting transferware to decorate. I would buy a few plates here and there, but I really never started selling until my family and I were going through a home foreclosure and trying to make ends meet.

One day, I was just feeling sorry for myself, mad and angry at the whole world for what was going on, so I got online and bought a red English transferware plate. I knew I shouldn’t have bought anything for myself, so I started looking at all of my transferware — maybe 20 or 30 different pieces — and I decided to sell them online. I took a few dollars from each sale to buy myself another piece, and continued to sell the pieces I had. I started to realize that I was actually earning a little bit of money. Ultimately, we did lose our home and my husband’s business, but I kept buying and selling, buying and selling, and before long, it turned into a new business for us. It was our sole source of income, and it wasn’t a lot, but we managed to get by. I feel so fortunate that I've found something that I love that also allows me to support our family.

Enter for a chance to win a piece of blue and white transferware. On Monday, November 19th, 2012 at 12 p.m. ET, we will choose a commenter at random. (We apologize in advance that this sweepstakes is only open to US folks over 18. Void where prohibited. Download a PDF of the full Rules and Regulations.)    

Watch More Etsy Videos

Tara Young image
Tara Young
Shopping Guides Home and Living

The Best Floor Lamps to Light Up a Room

These statement floor lamps brighten up your space and set the tone throughout your home.

Shopping Guides Home and Living

The 35 Best Planters Your Plant Babies Will Love to Call Home

Get inspired by unique planters from small shops on Etsy, and add a special touch to your home decor while giving your plant a happy new home.

Home and Living DIY

Easy-to-Make Magnetic Memo Boards

Make this school year the most organized yet with a colorful and customizable magnetic memo board DIY.