There were only a few unbroken pieces left when my mother-in-law passed away - three plates, a little bowl, a platter, and a couple of cups and saucers. I knew the story of how she purchased them, piece by piece, at the A&P back in the late 1950s. Now that she was gone, each dish became even more treasured.
While browsing through an antique store one day, the familiar pattern caught my eye. I wondered how many other housewives on a budget had purchased the same set of dishes years ago. I decided to do some research. I discovered the pattern had a name - Currier & Ives - and had been manufactured by the Royal China Company. The number of pieces that had been available seemed endless. In addition to the teacups, there were coffee mugs and cocoa cups. I learned the little bowl was called a berry bowl. I also found cereal bowls, soup bowls, vegetable bowls, sugar bowls, creamers, gravy boats - it was almost overwhelming. The prices were as varied as the dishes. The more common pieces were reasonable but items like the teapot and covered casserole were expensive.
The more I saw of the beautiful pattern - each depicting a different scene from a Currier & Ives painting - the more I felt compelled to try to finish the set she had started nearly fifty years earlier. I began buying a few pieces at a time. I purchased some at local antique stores. I won the more rare pieces on eBay auctions. Finally, after several years, I put my acquisitions, along with her original pieces, on display in her antique china cabinet. Even though I don't have every piece available, I think she would be proud of this collection.