For more than four decades beautiful Franklin Mint collector plates have graced the walls and shelves of countless homes all over the world.
The Franklin Mint
Founded in 1964, the Franklin Mint began its business striking:
- Coins for foreign countries
- Casino tokens
- Ingots of precious metals
- Commemorative medallions
The company quickly expanded adding many different types of collectibles to its product line. Many of the collectibles were produced as pieces in a series and introduced to the public on a monthly or yearly basis.
In addition to their collector plates, a partial list of Franklin Mint collectibles includes:
- Teddy bears
- Die cast models
- Deluxe games and game pieces
- Music boxes
The First Collector Plate by the Franklin Mint
The Franklin mint issued its first collector plate in 1970. The plate, called Bringing Home the Tree, is a Norman Rockwell Christmas plate made of solid sterling silver. The Norman Rockwell etching was made strictly for the Franklin Mint limited edition collector plate. The plate was beautifully issued in a hinged case of white leatherette and lined with blue satin. The Franklin Mint Norman Rockwell Christmas plate series was issued for six years, from 1970 through 1975.
Franklin Mint Collector Plates
Over the years the Franklin Mint has issued collector plates covering a wide range of categories, subjects and themes. The following is a partial list of collector plate themes:
- Wild animals
- Barnyard critters
- Norman Rockwell
- John Wayne
- Native American
- Science fiction
- Thomas Kinkade
- Red Hats
- Cartoon characters
- Patriotic themes
- Religious themes
Within many of the themes and categories of collector plates, the Franklin Mint issued a variety of specific plate series. For example under the category dogs, there are many different series of collector plates such as:
- Specific breeds
- Working dogs
Collecting Retired Franklin Mint Plates
Many collectors of Franklin Mint plates know the thrill of finding a retired plate that they need to complete a series. When a piece is retired by the Franklin Mint, it means that the company is no longer manufacturing the item. Once all of the original stock is sold, the only way of acquiring the piece is on the secondary market.
The Bradford Exchange
When J. Roderick MacArthur founded his company in 1973, he standardized the collectible plate market by issuing a list called Current Quotations. Working under the name the Bradford Gallery of Collectors Plates, MacArthur worked on the telephone buying and selling collectible plates from different companies. He modeled his business after the stock market and the buying and selling of stocks and bonds.
By 1983, the Bradford exchange was running an electronic system to keep track of the current market values of collectibles and completing more than 11,000 transactions each day. Today the Bradford Exchange and the Bradford Exchange Online have grown to be one of the world's leaders in the secondary market of collectibles, including collector plates.
Where to Find Collector Plates
In addition to the Bradford Exchange, there are many online venues that carry Franklin Mint collector plates or provide useful information pertaining to plate values.
- Bradex lists the values of all of the actively traded collector plates on the Bradford exchange.
- The Franklin Mint offers is current line of collectible plates on their website.
- The Glass Menagerie
- Ruby Lane
Price and Identification Guides for Collector Plates
The following price and identification guides to collector plates are available from Amazon.
- The Official Price Guide to Collector Plates: Seventh Edition by Harry L. Rinker
- Decorative Plates by Jim and Susan Harran
- Official Price Guide to Collector Plates, 6th Edition by Harry L. Rinker
Whether you display one special plate or many different series of Franklin Mint collector plates, you know the pleasure of these quality collectibles.