From Marilyn on 7th June 2011. I have been looking at my articles on this subject going back to 2003. This is an edited and updated review for 2013:
Presumably like everyone else, I started collecting Hazles because I liked them! I had never collected anything before and knew very little about it. It was only later that I discovered there was a market for discontinued pieces. This can be known as the Secondary Market, which generally refers to "pre-owned" ceramics. Sometimes older pieces have not been pre-owned, or have not been used by a collector.
Retired prices don't always continue in an upward trend. Many well known collectables have gone through periods of rocketing values which then fall back again.
There have been many articles on the group about how the retail market for Gifts & Collectables started to decline in 2001. Within a short time of Foot & Mouth cattle disease hitting the UK in May 2001, Hazle stockists especially in tourist areas were reporting a 40% drop in footfall. This was followed by 9/11 at the World Trade Center in New York and the "War on Terror". The global recession that began in 2007 has also affected sales of collectables and lots of other things. A great many of Hazle's former retailers have simply gone out of business.
Retired values in many collectables did remain buoyant for two or three years after 2001. At the peak around 2002-3 some retired Hazles were exchanging hands for very high prices. The top dealer price of £1,100 was achieved in September 2002. There are signs that prices for some retired Hazles are starting to pick up again, both on eBay and privately.
The market for Hazle Ceramics on eBay really took off in the spring of 2003, around the time we started this Hazle eGroup. Over a year a few hundred current and retired Hazles change hands on eBay, making it the main place to trade. Values on eBay are usually inconsistent even for the same thing. The quality of eBay pieces can be sometimes be unreliable. In 2012-2013 good values were achieved including £385, £239 and other 3 figure sums for some rarer pieces.
Even before eBay there wasn’t a great deal of private trading between collectors. The former Collectors’ Club would put people in touch but this facility was not used much. It can be hard to know what to offer or to settle on a price both parties consider fair.
Between 2001-2 I sometimes advertised for old Hazles to buy as a collector, usually in Collect it! magazine. A handful of people contacted me usually with a few standard ceramics and were keen to offload them all. Some private sellers expected the higher dealer prices of that era, despite having no overheads or taxes.
Apart from eBay, A Piece of Britain is currently the only website regularly offering some retired ceramics. Hazle Ceramics sometimes offer older archive pieces for sale, usually once a year. Prices from both these sites are generally higher than eBay - however the condition can be relied upon and they will always be sold boxed.
People often ask me for advice on value which I find difficult to give in an uncertain market. An obvious aspect of an eBay auction is that it does remove the element of negotiation - a potential source of angst. The downside is that there is work involved - and fees can be up to 10% of the final value. But it can be a good way to reach a lot of people and "test the market" if you do want to sell. And of course you can always put a reserve to protect the minimum price.
The other question I am asked is which Hazles are the best bet for the future. And for example, will the pre-1993 pieces with the full front signature of Hazle Boyles continue to be popular? My view is that if there are two "identical" ceramics and one is signed Hazle Boyles and the other Hazle, the full HB one is likely to command a higher price. However sometimes the modelling and painting of the earlier pieces can be less refined.
As there were far fewer themes painted in the early days, the HB pieces say for the Florist, Teashop and so on were often made in relatively high numbers - as are the same pieces with a front signature of Hazle. But the numbers produced of any Hazle Ceramic are generally vastly less than for any other collectable.
Hazle's highly detailed, short-run Limited Paintings became more available from 2003 and I think many of these will do well in years to come. There is some further info on collectability in A Piece of Britain's blog.
Last modified on
20 January, 2014
Copyright © Marilyn Ashmead Craig 2003-2014 All Rights Reserved
HTML 4.01, CSS 2.1, WAVE