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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can buy / sell through this Web site?

Collectors & Dealers Worldwide. Janet's Web site is now available in ten ( 10 ) languages. Click your flag on Home Page to view Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Russian or Spanish.

Buying and Selling Collectibles - Helpful Hints by Janet Gale Hammer

Each year more and more collectors are turning to the secondary market to purchase collectibles, usually without leaving the comfort of their own home. If you approach the transaction with a list of do's and don'ts, you can assure yourself of a fair and equitable transaction, whether you're buying or selling. Most collectors opt to utilize a collector exchange service, which is usually an Internet or web site type business dedicated to matching buyers with sellers and vice versa. A reputable exchange or secondary market dealer will broker your transaction so that the buyer receives a perfect, mint piece and the seller receives prompt payment. A commission of 20-30% is customarily charged to the seller.

If you detect a flaw in a collectible you have purchased through an exchange or elsewhere, immediately call that exchange or seller to report it. Most exchanges allow a two-three day approval period. If your purchase is damaged in shipment, the shipper is responsible for filing the claim with the carrier. Call the point of sale immediately, and be sure to save the shipping container and all the packing material for inspection by the adjuster. You should receive a full refund for the insured value or a replacement piece immediately and be spared a lengthy claims process. This can only happen, of course, of you deal with reputable sales sources.

Did you buy a $500 figurine on eBay.com for only $100 ? That's too bad. Factory seconds from both the Lladró outlet stores at Woodbury Commons in Harriman, NY and Valencia, Spain are currently being sold by disreputable third parties as first quality. Take it from Janet: these pieces are worth zilch on the secondary market. If the flower has been ground off of the logo on the bottom of your figurine, you have been had.

Questions on Marks and Identification

The Lladró mark has gone through many iterations since the 1960s and the first impressed marks that just included the name with no logo. The more commonly seen cobalt blue backstamp has also gone through changes so numerous that it would be unfeasible to try to include every single change in published pictures of these marks.

Unfortunately, the expense and popularity of Lladró has made it a target for counterfeiters, who have been able to capitalize on collector confusion about these various versions of the genuine mark.

One of the advantages of buying from A RETIRED COLLECTION is that we've built a solid reputation in the field and are therefore in a position to guarantee the authenticity of everything we sell.

Starting in 1986, Lladro began embossing 4-digit I.D. Number on bottom of figurines. For older pieces this I.D. Number is shown on the original box.

DAISA is an acronym for the umbrella company that Lladró owns and uses to protect its design rights and copyright. It stands for Diseños Artisticos e Industriales, Sociedad Anónimo. (The last two letters - SA [for Sociedad Anónimo] - serve much the same function as the abbreviations "Inc." in the name of a US company and "Ltd." in the name of a British company.)

"If the base of a porcelain figurine presents any of the five kiln-fixed inscriptions shown here (pictured in Janet's Buy Tip #2), you can be sure that it is an authentic Lladró creation. Pictures numbered 1, 2 and 3 show the development of our identifiers over the years, with the last two pictures (4 and 5) presenting the current design. Our identifier has recently included a three-letter code followed by a number (picture 5). This code is a reference for our internal control only. It is not a serial number or a codified production date. The fact that we have used different inscriptions at different times does not mean that pieces have been classified into different categories. It is simply that various international legal mechanisms have been used at different times to defend the Lladró tradename and copyright."

Most figurines produced prior to 1991 were available in either glazed (G) or unglazed matte (M) finish, both from the same mold and using the same porcelain formula. Some collectors prefer only one style or the other, and some even prefer to have one of each to make an interesting side by side set. It is strictly a matter of personal preference. Any price difference is strictly due to supply and demand. More recently, Lladró has designated matte and Gres pieces with a "one" prefix (e.g., #11011 for #1011) and glazed pieces with a zero prefix (e.g., #01011 for #1011). The figurine pictured is Lladró #01011036 Horsewoman in "matte" finish.

"B" for brillo in Spanish means "shine" or glazed finish. Thanks, Janet

Yes, the terminology here does get confusing. Gres is actually a separate porcelain formula altogether from the regular porcelain formula. Where the regular porcelain is white before it's painted, Gres has color integrated right into the porcelain itself and is further characterized by matte (unglazed) surfaces alternating with enamel paint surfaces. This gives Gres items a rustic appearance; it is also a good formula for the production of ethnic figurines because the skin tones can be rendered more realistically in Gres. Although Gres is also frequently identified with the prefix "1," if the number is in the 2000 or 3000 model number series, it is most probably Gres. There are many fine limited editions done in the Gres formula. The figurine pictured in the photo is Lladró #01011106 Byzantine Head.

The Goyesca Collection is inspired by the works of the legendary 18th century painter, Francisco Goya. The porcelain reveals intricate detail in deeply etched surfaces of vivid colors. Because the porcelain formula used is more pliable than usual, textiles can be impressed onto the material to produce patterned effects and the model will often bear the imprint of the artisan's fingers. Because of the complexity of each figurine, the size of Goyesca editions is extremely limited. The series was designed by the famous Spanish sculptor Enrique San Isidro. One of our personal favorites pictured in the photo is Lladró #01012051 PASSIONATE DANCE, a Limited Edition of 500.

(N)ot (A)n (O)riginal; only kidding! Nao is a Spanish word for an old masted cargo vessel, and the logo for NAO features such a sailing ship. NAO is a more affordably priced gift line made by Lladró in a separate workshop in the town of Xirivella, in Valencia (Spain). A RETIRED COLLECTION does not deal in NAO. For more information on current NAO models, we refer you to the NAO brand official web site at www.naoporcelain.com. We also refer you to Peggy Whiteneck's book and information web site, El Portal Porcelana at www.elportalporcelana.info.

Open Editions are produced in an unlimied number from the date of issue until retirement year.

Limited Editions are produced in limited number from date of issue until sold-out. The number of units to be made is decided before introduction and purchase includes a certificate of authentication.

Numbered Series is produced from date of issue until its retirement date, but numbered in a non-limited form. Purchase includes a Numbered Certificate.

Condition Questions

Accidents will happen, and collectibles which are no longer in perfect MINT condition are only worth what a knowing buyer is willing to pay for a damaged piece. Repairs or reeplacement parts should only be done by

recommended Authorized Restoration Artists (refer to our list under HELPFUL LINKS on our web site). If the cost to repair is too high or just impractical, it might be better to see if we can find you another one.

These are the only ones we buy/sell. It simply means the item should be in exactly the same condition as if the figurine had been delivered directly from the factory in Spain. This also means absolutely no tampering of any kind with the markings on the bottom of figurine. The condition standard among collectors is so high that the vast majority of serious collectors would never purchase an item with even the most minor damage.

Some collectors are tolerant of minor production flaws, such as firing cracks (distinguished as a ragged edge and a slightly open fissure vs. the tightly closed and straight-line fracture in a damage crack) or a pinprick somewhere on the glaze. But even those not bothered by tiny flaws will be put off in direct proportion to the flaw's visibility. For this reason, we avoid carrying merchandise with obvious flaws.

What you describe is not a defect and is quite common with all fine porcelain. Many pieces have a "breathing hole" in the base to allow steam to escape during the firing process. The process of "punching" this hole in the base before firing displaces a tiny plug of porcelain to the inside of the hollow figurine; that tiny porcelain bit hardens with firing, causing the distinctive rattle.

That stuff is so delicate, isn't it? We require that flowerwork be in mint, factory-perfect condition before we'll broker the sale of a piece. The flowerwork can be restored to pristine condition by a competent restorationist, using Lladró-supplied parts, but working with such small and delicate parts as the individually applied petals and stamens is painstaking, and that tends to be reflected in the cost of flowerwork restoration. A hundred years from now, collectors may be as tolerant of flowerwork damage on delicate Lladró as they are of similar damage in Meissen of Staffordshire figurines, but right now, the Lladró collector market has a low tolerance for this kind of damage.

A RETIRED COLLECTION, LLC does not provide replacement parts. However, if your piece is registered with the Lladró Assurance Program (LAP), parts are available for purchase from Lladró U.S.A. at #800-634-9088. Otherwise, parts can only be purchased through an Authorized Dealer or professional restoration studio. They can provide missing flowers, parasols, paint brushes, drum sticks, etc. Your figurine will maintain its original MINT value if Lladró parts are used.

Value Questions

The price of your collectible on the secondary market is simply determined by supply and demand. Other factors to consider are auction price history (which is mostly out of date at this point), printed price guide values (also, not necessarily current), and recent sales by your dealer or exchange service. Some people, especially eBay™ sellers, consider rarity the ultimate value determinant, but rarity is sometimes difficult to determine in these days of the global internet marketplace, where items once considered rare surface with some frequency. On the other hand, if a piece is too rare, collectors will not be aware of it. By definition, then, this sort of piece cannot generate market demand until collectors become aware of it and consider it desirable.

Mr. Robinson was the highly respected retired Director of Lladró U.S.A. Hugh was a good friend and lived nearby on the West Coast of Florida. He has recently passed away and, at this point, your figurine signed by him is not yet worth more than an unsigned piece. Likewise, the market doesn't currently recognize a value premium for the signatures of any of the living Lladró brothers or children. Maybe some day!

Most major insurance carriers will accept a web page printout from our site as Appraisal & Replacement Value. Click PRINT THIS PAGE at top of Item Detail Page and attach to your insurance claim form. Insurance replacement directly with the major carriers is a large part of our business. Let us know if we can be

of assistance.

First, when you deal with A Retired Collection, you're dealing with an internationally respected brokerage that is exclusively dedicated to retired Lladró and that has been in business since 1992. That trustworthiness and expertise comes at a price (meaning our commission percentage); after all, we have to make a living, too! Second, much of what you'll find at internet auction is still in production or is damaged or of second quality - and it won't always be declared as such in the auction description. What's that old adage? Ah, yes..."You get what you pay for." Finally, although much of the Lladró offered at online auctions is touted as "RARE!!!" little of it actually is. Genuinely rare and valuable items command hefty prices at internet auction as anywhere else. So now we have a question for you: why would you pay that price for something at an online auction and from a relatively anonymous seller when you could buy the same thing from A Retired Collection and get all the quality and condition guarantees that go with it?

About Retirement

ALL Lladró will eventually retire. Nobody knows WHEN. If we did, it would be like buying only sure winners in the stock market. Retired figurines generally go up significantly in value. We believe that fragile pieces that are found to be more difficult to ship wind up getting retired sooner than others. Also, of course, Limited Editions often sell out sooner (but not always). Each Fall, Lladró may retire as few as a dozen or as many as 200 pieces a year.

There is no way to tell. By definition, most "retired" collectibles of any kind are previously owned unless they're dealer stock. "Active" production is sold by Authorized Dealers and "discontinued" production is sold in the secondary market by collectors. As a practical matter, newer retirements are probably discontinued dealer stock. However, the older, more valuable pieces, are rarely dealer stock.

About Original Boxes

The official Lladró position is that the box does not enhance the value of the figurine. It is said that the Lladró brothers do not have the original boxes for their personal collections. However,

the uniquely designed original box is definitely helpful in achieving a safe shipment. As for my own collection, I save the boxes.

In the past, if your piece was registered through the Lladró Assurance Program (LAP), Lladró would sell you generic boxes within 10-years of retirement date. HOWEVER, this policy was discontinued in mid-2009. Replacement boxes are no longer available. We suggest that collectors save original boxes to facilitate safe transport.

Original boxes for older pieces do show I.D. Number. Starting in 1986, Lladro began embossing 4-digit number on bottom of figurines.

About Caring For and Protecting Your Collection

Cleaning Lladró is tricky business and requires very delicate work. If it's just dust, we would recommend a hair blower or a small, soft-bristled artist's or basting brush. If you're removing a spot, try a pencil eraser. If it's just dirt, you might want to spray with a diluted solution of Fantastic™. Fill a second bottle with water to spray off the diluted cleaning solution. Greasy dirt can be removed with a Q-tip™ moistened with a cleaning product called "Greased Lightning." Try to avoid wiping with towels, which can snag flowers and other delicate parts. And whatever you do, don't immerse the figure in water! Aside from the possibility of dropping the item and breaking it in the sink, water will inevitably enter the hollow portions of the figurine through that tiny steam-escape hole in the base. It could be days or weeks before it stops leaking, and any wooden display surfaces will be vulnerable to water damage in the meantime.

We probably shouldn’t tell you this because replacements for earthquake and hurricane casualties are a healthy part of our secondary market business. However, a little Tacky Wax™ or

Museum Gel™ on the bottom of your figurines may help to keep them from falling from vibrating shelves and stray kittens!

About Payment Options

Some exchange services will pay upon receipt and after a satisfactory inspection. However, others allow the buyer 48 hours to acknowledge receipt and acceptance. If you choose to sell on your own, it's a good idea to request at least half of the payment before shipment, with the balance due upon receipt.

Payment by credit card gives peace of mind and is recommended over other methods of payment. You may want to inquire about convenient layaway plans. It's a great way to acquire that additional piece without overloading your credit card. Always remember that once a retired piece is sold, there is no way to know when, or how much, it will take to buy another one.

You may want to inquire about our convenient lay-a-way payment plans. Equal monthly payments may be of assistance. It’s a great way to acquire that additional piece without overloading

your credit card. Always remember that once a retired piece is sold, there is no way to know when, or how much, it will take to buy another one.

The buying client is responsible for any locally imposed tariffs, which are obviously not within our control. Shipments of “retired” Lladró are routinely stamped “Secondhand Pre-Owned Merchandise” so as to qualify for lowest possible rates.

About Shipping and Handling

Once your collectible is sold, it is important that it be packaged well. Double boxing is a must. Most damage occurs from the top, so be sure to insert six inches of packing material at the top of the box.

Double boxing is a must. Most damage occurs from the top, so be sure to insert six inches of packing material at the top of the box. Accidents often happen when boxes with original Lladro frames

are not properly secured with tape to hold figurine in place. Pieces with flowers should be wrapped in tissue paper first to avoid tearing flowers. Use bubble wrap as an outer layer but not too tightly as movement in transit can cause breakage.

Exercise care when choosing a carrier. United Parcel Service (UPS) is a good choice. They offer a variety of services from “next day air” to standard “ground service.” UPS will pick-up your package at your home or place of business… call #800-7425877. FedEx and DHL are also reliable carriers. U.S. Postal Service offers a variety of services and is a good alternative for

smaller pieces. USPS is also cost effective for smaller international shipments. FedEx and DHL are also reliable carriers U.S. Postal Service offers a variety of services and is a good alternative for smaller pieces. USPS is also cost effective for smaller international shipments.

UPS will insure up to $50,000. See http://ups.com for their current rate structure. Do not skimp on insurance; collectibles break even with good packing! The U.S. Postal Service will insure up to $5,000 for domestic destinations. International coverage will

vary by country.

We will notify your carrier that the shipment has been received damaged and will hold for their pick-up or on sight inspection. UPS, FedEx and DHL will forward claim paperwork directly to

shipper. Shipments received by U.S. Postal Service only will be returned to our local Post Office. Once again, the shipper is responsible for continuing the claim process.

©2016 Janet Gale Hammer or A RETIRED COLLECTION, LLC This site is protected by copyright and trademark laws under U.S. and International law. All rights reserved. This web site is not associated with Lladró USA, Inc., Diseños Artisticos e Industriales, S.A. ("DAISA") or Lladró Comercial, S.A. or any divisions thereof. Copyright to LLADRÓ sculptures and their photographs are owned by DAISA and Lladró Comercial. Images used under license. LLADRÓ is a registered trademark of Lladró USA, Inc.