What a Bakelite collector wants to know........

Views 120 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

and should not need to ask…….

For most collectors, condition is extremely important, so here is a handy checklist that I use in my auctions and some other useful tips on plastics.

Condition Checklist

If you are selling a Bakelite or plastic item, please ensure that you inspect it for all of the following;

Chips or Scratches (See Note*) - Are there any? are they very much on the surface or are they deeply etched?

Splits (See Note*) - Are there any? Is there any affect on the form or function of the item?

Uneven coloration - Has the object been exposed to strong sunlight, fading exposed areas?

Surface lustre issues - Is the object consistently shiny on all display surfaces or are there areas of dullness, even after cleaning?

Restoration - Has there been any repairs to, or replacement of parts?

*Note - Give locations and measurements if possible.

Sometimes your eyes can miss problems, so I also suggest running a finger tip over an item.

If there are any strongly noticeable damage issues with the item, try to include photographs of the problem area if possible.

A thought for the Buyer

If this condition information is not included, (which is most usually an honest oversight), but when asked, the seller does not provide this information, you will have to decide if your need for the item outweighs the condition it may or may not be in.

Bakelite – an historical point

The patent for Phenol Formaldehyde or ‘Bakelite’ as it is generally known, was taken out in 1907, so in fact, the patent will be officially an antique in 2007.

The majority of Bakelite objects seen on E-Bay date from the mid 1920’s onward, yet a lot of sellers describe them as “Antique” – this is incorrect, they are currently a “Collectable” and will not really be antiques until 2020 at the absolute earliest!

An Antique is classed as an item that was made in excess of 100 years ago!

Urea Formaldehyde – Useful information

By the early 1920’s Bakelite was well established, but the search began for an all-purpose plastic, with a wider choice of colours.

Edmund Rossiter of British Cyanides successfully experimented with Thiourea instead of Phenol, leading to its premiere at the 1925 Wembley Exhibition in England.

Also around this time, Urea Formaldehyde was produced by the British Cyanides company, using the trade name ‘Beetle’ and to the public ‘Beetleware’ became a household name.

Bandalasta Items

Bandalasta is a trademark for the Brookes and Adams company for items made from Urea or Thiourea Formaldehyde, so an item is not ‘Bandalasta’ unless it is marked or stamped ‘Bandalasta’ somewhere on the item.

Please use the phrase ‘like’ or ‘reminiscent of’ or ‘similar to’ Bandalasta - if an item is not marked as such.

Bandalasta is not Bakelite, so remember to categorise it in the 'Plastics' section, as that is where it belongs!

It saves those collectors searching for it some time!

Imitation or Faux Tortoiseshell

This is a plastic, but it is not Bakelite.

78rpm Records

Are not made of Bakelite


If you are unsure, don't use the term, if you are just using the term to get more page visits, you are intentionally misleading the less knowledgeable buyers!

If you wish to consult with me on what plastic material an item is made of, you can, though I will charge a fee, payable in advance, for doing so.

I trust that you have found the information that I have provided here of use and will make your buying experiences more pleasurable.

You will find the guide titled "Bakelite and plastic collectables" by e-Bayer Martyn27_uk, very engaging, witty and informative, so check it out!

If you have found it useful or not, press the relevant button at the bottom of the page - it only takes a couple of seconds to do - Thank you

© Bakelite Kid 2007

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides