Believe it or not, Melmac dinnerware has become collectible dinnerware that vintage dinnerware collectors love to have and display. I've never been "into" the collection of practical items like melamine dinnerware, I prefer antique china dinnerware for collections; however, vintage collectors love all types of things and Melmac is among them.
If you intend to collect Melmac, I recommend buying a collection guide so that you will know when you run across a great find!
Melmac dishes were beyond popular from the 1940s to the 1960s and over 300 manufacturers followed the trend in producing dinnerware made from melamine. You may choose to collect a certain pattern, a certain year or dinnerware from a particular company. Completing a set of the same pattern might be difficult, but well worth the task for collectors.
When shopping for vintage or antique dinnerware, I have found that garage sales and estate sales are the best place to shop. At these sales, the sellers don't necessarily know the value what of they are selling.
I can attest to this because when we were selling things from my grandparent's estate, we took some things for granted, just something that we were used to having around that was of no value to us. My grandmother had a fish tank that she used to keep baby guppies in and we sold it at a low price, to a collector no doubt. After the sale was complete, the buyer chose to share what it was that she had bought. It was a glass battery box, worth way more than what we sold it for. I have run across complete sets of Melmac in the original box at garage sales for next to nothing.
Other great places to shop for vintage Melmac are thrift stores and online auctions. Of course, you will find them in antique stores; however, antique dealers know their value and you are likely to pay a lot more in an antique shop.
At any rate, collecting dinnerware is a fun adventure and we you find what you are looking for you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.