Over four decades ago, The Bradford Exchange—the flagship for what has become a worldwide business—was founded by a remarkable man, J. Roderick MacArthur. An independent and innovative leader, MacArthur was known as a marketing genius, and his entrepreneurial spirit paved the way for the present day business as a world leader in direct to consumer marketing and product development, providing products with Innovation, Artistry and Design of Enduring Value.
Origin of the Exchange
Foreseeing the need for a centralized collector-plate market, Rod MacArthur began importing decorative plates from Europe and selling them to distributors, dealers, and individual collectors through his company, which was then called the Bradford Galleries Exchange. By 1973, Mr. MacArthur dropped the word "Galleries" from the company name and set up a trading system—an exchange—that enabled collectors to obtain current market prices for their plates and to buy and sell these items to each other. At the heart of the Exchange was its computerized trading system. Although that system is no longer operational today, the notion of investing in innovation, art, and limited-editions, and the legacy of purchasing products of enduring value that can be passed down to loved ones, still resonates strongly with our customers and inspires the thousands of customer orders our business processes every year.
A World Leader
While the Exchange's role as the center of the secondary collector plate market is an important part of the Bradford Group’s heritage, it is only the first chapter of our story. From our beginnings as a key player in the collectibles plate market, the Bradford Group has expanded and become the recognized leader in new product development and sales of collectibles and gifts, with product categories that now include jewelry, apparel, dolls, music boxes, holiday ornaments, home décor, architectural villages, coins, books, personal banking checks, figurines and more.
Along with our growth into new product forms, the Bradford Group has dramatically expanded its global presence beyond our home base in the Chicago suburb of Niles, Illinois. The Company also has operations in Florida, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.