A vintage cup of tea is a lovely Christmas present – Rochester Minnesota news, weather, sports
Fancy a nice Christmas present? How about a cup of tea to start a collection or add to a collection.
A collection of tea cups is available to everyone, whatever their budget.
In the 17th century, most tea cups were tailor-made for the wealthy and were made from fine silver. As everything that was consumed in these mugs was piping hot, it soon became apparent that the metal mugs and hot liquids did not mix.
Soon after, tea cups began to be made of porcelain and other materials.
Before you can start to successfully collect tea cups, you need to make sure that you know the difference between a cup of tea and a cup of coffee. To the untrained eye, these two mugs aren’t that different. Coffee cups are generally larger than tea cups. Tea cups look quite delicate, usually have a matching saucer, and their handles sit higher on the side of the mug than the handles on coffee cups.
Of course, a mug can be whatever you want it to be.
A half-cup (half-cup) cup can also be used for tea. If you like it for tea, buy it, that’s why I have several hundred.
Arm yourself with knowledge to keep you from finding reproductions. Learn about your collecting interests. Go to antique shops and handle as many authentic pieces as you can.
Compare genuine coins with those known to be fakes, ask questions of other collectors and dealers, and join collectors clubs for ongoing education on your collectible.
Purchase and study reference guides such as “Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2022″.
Learn to pay attention to details. To be a true collector, you need to do your homework and try to learn as much as you can about the history of tea cups.
Did you know that the first tea cups made in Europe didn’t even have handles? It can also be helpful to know the manufacturer’s name on some of the top selling tea cups so you can recognize them when you come across them. This can be simply done by reading the stamp as it usually reads something like “Royal Albert fine bone china ENGLAND”.
So what about soft porcelain? Today there are no bones in porcelain. Tea cups with names such as Spode, Royal Doulton, Havilland and Limoges are collectible.
A teacup or set to keep your eyes open is one of busy Japan. A bit of history: After WWII, the United States occupied Japan, so anything that left the country had to be stamped “Made in Occupied Japan”. The Japanese weren’t happy with that and every time they thought they could get away with not using the stamp, they did, and all the products that left Japan just said, “Made in Japan.” As a result, few items were stamped “Made In Occupied Japan” and now they are extremely rare and highly collectable.
What about Nippon then? Nippon basically means ‘made in Japan’, so when you see a ‘Nippon’ mark on the underside of a base of a ceramic piece, you know you have a piece that was made in Japan.
Where are all the tea cups?
In antique shops, yard and estate sales, auctions, flea markets, thrift and gift shops, The Salvation Army, Goodwill as well as online websites.
“There’s no time like the holidays to wear your fanciest clothes and use your prettiest dishes,” said Erica Thilges, director of New Generations of Harmony.
The store offers a Bavarian Germany teapot / coffee with poinsettias, a set of three tea pieces for a Santa Claus and other collectible Christmas tea cups and saucers by Lefton and Tuscan.
If you have a hidden cup of tea, there’s no time like Christmas to pull it out and let it fill your mind with memories of Christmases gone by.
Sandy Erdman is a Winona-based freelance writer and certified appraiser who focuses on vintage, antique and collectibles. Send comments and story suggestions to Sandy at