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/ Source: TODAY
By Julie Pennell

There’s a good chance you or someone you know has a set of Fiestaware in the cupboard. The brightly colored ceramic glazed dinnerware pieces by The Homer Laughlin China Company have been around since the company first started producing sets in 1936.

Classic Fiestaware could be worth lots of money.Reid Dalland / Getty Images

There’s also a chance you or someone you know could have a vintage piece of the collection. Perhaps your grandmother has an old set gathering dust in the attic or you found a pretty piece at a garage sale that you just had to have.

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Well, you might want to do some research because that retro item could be worth a lot of money.

Just in recent months on eBay, a Fiestaware vase, casserole dish and pitcher each went for around $400-$500.

So, how do you know if your piece could be worth money? Merrill Miller, who has been collecting Fiestaware for about 20 years, says to first make sure it’s in good condition. “Many people think because an item is vintage it is worth money, but most of the time, that is not the case,” she told TODAY Home. “Unless the piece is extremely rare, collectors are not going to pay for pieces with damage or crazing.”

To be valuable, the item should be in good condition, no matter how rare the piece is. Reid Dalland / Getty Images

If the condition is good, the next step is to see if it’s valuable. Some of the more unusual vintage items to look for include covered onion soup bowls, covered demi pots and carafes, candleholders, covered marmalade and mustard jars, six-piece relish trays in mixed or solid colors and fluted vases (8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch).

Miller said certain pieces in certain colors are more rare than others; for example, red-striped pieces always sell for a premium. “A medium green eggcup is impossible to find but very common in another color,” she said. “Only an experienced collector would know this.”

You can reference books like “Fiesta, Harlequin, and Kitchen Kraft Dinnerwares” by the Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association and “Collector’s Encyclopedia of Fiesta” by Bob and Sharon Huxford. Or you can join one of the many groups on Facebook to chat with other Fiestaware collectors and get information on the value of your piece (just search keywords like, “Fiesta,” “Fiestaware” and “Homer Laughlin” to find a list of groups).

Once you’re ready to part with the piece and see how much it can go for, Miller said eBay is usually the best place to start. “Values are determined by how many people want a piece and what they are willing to pay,” she said. “Some people get caught up in an auction and a piece can sell over its value if you have two people who fight over it.”

Here’s hoping you have something in your cupboards that can start a bidding war!