Thursday, March 20, 2014

In honor of Math Girl's 40th birthday she and I set out for Replacements Ltd. in McLeansville, NC, near Greensboro. I'm not sure what I thought we were going to find, but 500,000 square feet of over 400,000 patterns of china, crystal, silver, and collectibles was far more than I expected. The owner Bob Page began visiting estate sales and in 1981 quit his regular job to begin selling from his vast collections.  This is the Great Wall of China featuring their 500 most popular patterns of china. Don't worry, if you don't see yours through the glass windows, chances are they have your pattern, your mother's pattern, your everyone's pattern tucked away somewhere. Their online site has a form to fill out that will send their detectives in search of your family's treasures and collectibles.

One of my first thoughts was who gets to dust all of these glass shelves and thousands of goblets?
I really know how to take the fun out of everything.

 Math Girl and I anticipated sorting through sky high stacks of plates, cups, saucers and bowls. That's not how it works. The showroom doubles as a museum and most of what is seen is happily ensconced in gigantic, gorgeous antique display cases from jewelry stores and the grand old department stores.

 These treasures all enjoy silent repose on a piece from J.P. Morgan's estate. Remember, during WWII many of America's art masterpieces were placed there for safe keeping as he had one of the few climate controlled mansions accessible by rail. Lots going on at J.P.'s house.
 Case after case of sterling silver hollowware. If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. I remember as a child seeing a photograph of Queen Elizabeth's sterling dresser set. That was the first I'd heard of a dresser set, which solidified in my thinking the fact that I'd never be Queen of England. 

 Two of my little granddaughters reminded me as well of my queenly deficiencies. I don't live in England and I don't have royal blood. That settles it. Maybe I'll just have to buy the plate.

Or the figurines from the case of all things royal.
That will keep me humble.
Humbles. That's what my girls used to call these figurines.
This one was gigantic.
Nearly life size.
Do you like Wedgewood?
Mountains of it in baskets.
Or to wear just in time for spring.
Nothing says springtime like a spread of blue and white.
I'll have one of each, please.
We saw a table or two set with seasonal goodies.
And ladies in their spring finery.
Notice the eyelashes.
She could land a job on FOXnews.
Walk this way, please.
This way to the land of overstocks.
Now you're talking.
Just what I was looking for.
A little blue and white and a little red and white.
Every thirty minutes a guided tour of Chinatown is offered.
Have you ever seen a plate depicting the Exodus?
Never before, and surely not anywhere else.
The 500 most popular patterns are up front neatly stacked.
Then you enter the warehouses of china immemorial.
Row after row after stack after stack.
All in boxes. All meticulously labeled on each row, each shelf, each box.
If you are one of their thousands of online customers your pretty plates are lovingly packaged here for shipping. Replacements also devotes an entire department to research.
That sounds like a great job to me.
Also available are china, silver and crystal repair services. They'll even pierce a spoon or serving piece to order. Damaged in a fire or Katrina? No problem.
Replacements repairs or like the name implies.
That's their business.
Is your pattern Flora Danica circa 1761 from Royal Copenhagen?
$1400 for a cup and saucer and a tad less for a dinner plate.
That would make you as Mary Engelbreit says,
"The Queen of Quite a Lot"
If you're ever in the North Carolina Triad try to make the stop at
Replacements Ltd.
I didn't even mention the Christmas room.
Or Bob's Bargain Corner.


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