Salem china was made by the Salem China Co. of Salem, Ohio, from 1898 until 1960. The company stopped making china in 1960 and now is in the business of distributing dinnerware and other items. Salem china was considered a good product when it was made, and its value can only increase in time.
The history of a company impacts the value of its product. A company that is around long enough develops a brand name that increases the value of its product. Salem China did just that for 62 years, and now the china is being sold 50 or more years after it was made. Extensive records of its history are located in the Salem China Company Collection, 1930s-1981, located in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System.
China has two functions: service of food and appearance. Most china can meet the first function. The second function requires a style that presents well. Many people purchase china for its appearance and its name brand. When people see Salem china for sale, they know they will have beautiful china to display in their home, which translates into value.
Salem china has identifying marks. These marks increase the value as owners have no doubt that they possess legitimate Salem china. People are always afraid of fake items or reproductions. The Salem china mark eliminates that fear. It gives clear value to the items and is a lasting symbol of a name brand. For example, the Salem mark has a number which is the year of manufacture. There is also a letter for the decorator. Finally there are stars to identify which quarter of the year the piece was made.
Salem china is often sold on auction sites like eBay. Its value is determined by the normal market forces: supply and demand. The supply is the amount of items for sale. Since there is no new china, the supply depends upon current owners parting with their china. The demand is based on the brand name and desire to own that name. A typical listing will have pictures of the china. There will also be a picture of the identifying mark so the buyer knows it is real Salem china. Salem china is always going to be old, so the listing will detail any chips or other signs of aging. It would be rare to find Salem china in perfect condition, but the condition plays a large part in the value.
It is difficult to predict the future value of Salem china. There should be less china available as time passes, although if the price rises then some people may sell their china in response to the price rise. More sellers will hold down the price. The demand is hard to calculate. There is no real way to know whether people will continue to want the items as part of their collections. Name brands do last, and that is the true value.