On the boulevard of broken china
August 27, 2013 5:40 PM   Subscribe

My parents sent me some china and glassware through USPS (they insured the package) and some of it broke. It is old. What should I do?

My parents sent me some old china and glassware and some of it broke in the mail.
See spoon, pitcher and bowl set, water goblets.

I don't know what brand or make any of these things are. I also don't know when they were made or where they were produced.

Since the package was insured I am trying to find replacement costs. I have sent a picture of a surviving goblet to replacements.com as well as a rubbing of the goblet's bowl. But I am at a loss about the serving spoon (which has a surviving matching cake server) and the pitcher/bowl set.

My question is two fold:

1. Identification: Does anybody recognize these or know someone who might? Do you know of any comparable items that look extremely similar to these?

2. Dealing with Reimbursement: My parents and I will be filing a claim with USPS. If I am able to find comparable items, is the post office likely honor a replacement cost for a comparable item or does it have to be an exact match? Am I going to have to bring the items into the post office? (I'm not sure they want that much shattered glass hanging around their office).
posted by donut_princess to Shopping (11 answers total)
>What should I do?

Prepare to be disappointed. The claim will almost certainly be denied due to 'insufficient packing' or some other rationale.
posted by BrandonW at 5:47 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have to ask the internet who makes these things, it's probably not worth the time or energy to get an appraisal. You can get this stuff from any old thrift shop. Sucks that it was part of a set though.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:07 PM on August 27, 2013

Identification: if the goblets or pitcher are crystal, they will have an identifying maker's mark or name (sometimes very faint!) on the bottom rim of the goblet, around the edge of the rim. If there are glass and not lead crystal, honestly, they are not really worth replacing. You can pick up glass goblets cheaply, even get them at thrift stores or garage sales.

Your spoon, if it is fine china, should have the maker's name on the bottom, unprinted side.

Reimbursement: No insurance? You will not be dealing with reimbursement. A possible exception would be IF your parents have replacement insurance for the household and IF the items in question are valuable enough that they felt the need to insure them, but if they didn't insure the package in he mail, I doubt that.

If you want to replace the items (for instance, if you have almost a full set now), check Replacements.com.
posted by misha at 6:13 PM on August 27, 2013

Misha: They did insure the package.
posted by donut_princess at 6:14 PM on August 27, 2013

I had a similar incident a few years ago, and filed a claim with USPS with prices of a comparable item. I got a check from USPS for pretty much the full value the package was insured for. The glassware was a gift and so we didn't know the maker or its value.

I would file a claim with pricing of a comparable item (I just found something that looked similar on amazon).
posted by pombe at 6:21 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looking on the USPS page about claims, it seems that they only accept receipts and invoices as proof of value. You may be out of luck.
posted by ubiquity at 6:22 PM on August 27, 2013

eBay search for pressed glass pitcher

ditto, crystal stemware

The only things actually selling are things in complete sets with a known manufacturer... Do plates match the little spoon, do the plates have a stamp of some kind on the back? Post a picture of that if yes.

The value of old dishes is rock bottom; you can get what used to be pretty posh china for a song now. The value of a serving set like that is close to nil. Sadly! If it doesn't have a first-rate provenance comparable reproduction new things will be selling for more than actual old things, so you might want to think in terms of retail replacement cost rather than 'market value.'
posted by kmennie at 6:39 PM on August 27, 2013

Misha: They did insure the package

Thanks, sorry! I misread. Did they set a monetary value? And is there any way they can verify the value of the items sent? For instance, was a shipping invoice included)?

Also, would your parents maybe know the names of any of the patterns? Because then you could price the value of the broken objects on Replacements.com, and USPS might match that, given a comparable item for assessment. Worth a shot!
posted by misha at 7:03 PM on August 27, 2013

The goblets look like Cristal d'Arques, in which case they are crystal, but not terribly expensive. I would go to the Post Office and ask them what documentation they require.
posted by theora55 at 7:34 PM on August 27, 2013

For replacing broken china and glassware, Replacements, Ltd. is your new BFF!
posted by barnone at 9:03 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have to second BrandonW -- Every time I have filed a claim against USPS because I bought insurance, they asked for photos to show whether the box was intact on delivery, as well as of the box before it shipped (who does that)? Then I was denied reimbursement because unless you can prove that the USPS damaged the outer box such that it is irrefutable that they broke the items, then it's all the shippers fault.

I no longer pay for USPS insurance. It's a scam.
posted by Mchelly at 4:22 PM on August 28, 2013

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