An Expedition to Replacements

My name is Jess, and I collect tea cups.

Antiques have fascinated me since I was a kid. Blame it on being a writer, but I would look at the pieces and I try to imagine who they belonged to and what they’d been through. Now when I look at antiques, I wonder about the history, the origins of the patterns, and sometimes one object is enough to give me and idea for a whole story.

If every piece tells a story, Replacements is a library.

For my birthday this year, my best friend, Jen, took me to Replacements to buy a teacup. She’s not into china like I am, she’s just a really good friend. Nevertheless, we had a great time.

It was my first time visiting Replacements and impressed just doesn’t cover it. Facilities of half a million square feet house the world’s largest inventory of old and new china, crystal, silver, and other collectibles. That’s right -- that’s eight football fields full of china. As large as that sounds, the whole place is cleverly designed so it feels warm and inviting.

Lovely pieces I got from the Overstock section
The staff certainly don’t detract from that feeling. Everyone there was very friendly, helpful, and totally available. Free tours are given of the premises on the hour by knowledgeable guides happy to talk about the history of the collections. Even the display cases have stories: these beautiful nineteenth-century antiques include an enormous piece that once served as J.P. Morgan’s back bar.

The collection contains 12 million pieces from more than 400,000 patterns and an additional 70,000 new pieces are received every week. If you’re looking for something in particular, they probably have it, and if Royal Copenhagen is a little outside of your budget, you can pick up a gorgeous bargain from one of the overstock sections for under ten dollars.

Long opening hours allow you plenty of time to enjoy the tour and to be sure you don’t miss a single piece in the showroom and onsite museum. If you get worn out between the tour and marveling at all the pretty, there’s a comfortable visitor’s lounge where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a sit-down until you get your second (or third) wind. Visitors are even welcome to being their well-behaved pets into the store.

Rand McNally named it one of the Top 25 Free Attractions in the United States. I don’t know about the other twenty-four, but I can assure you that Replacements is one of the most impressive places I have seen in the US or Britain. In terms of china and silver, it just can’t be beat. Whether you’re a history lover, antique collector, or just someone who wants to know where they can find all of the gorgeous dishes on Pinterest, there’s something for everyone at Replacements. 

Search for a particular piece or just browse at
Poor picture of a beautiful piece:
Wedgwood Florentine pattern in gold. Note the little dragons!


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