Speaking of Antiquing – May 2015

With the coming of Spring, so comes the fun of hosting a Tea Party.

The English in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I made a fine art of tea time. Fine tea from China and India was a staple of English life, as The East India Company had trade routes through Europe. Tea was made available for the high classes as well as low classes and soon became the national beverage, out-ranking ale.

Tea time was either low tea or high tea, depending on the table it was served from, not necessarily the time of day. Served in the late afternoon or early evening, High Tea is served at a “high” table with seated place settings. The foods are heartier and consist of salads, one or two hot dishes, pot pies, cold chicken, sliced meats, cakes, fruit tarts, custards, and fresh fruits. The tea may be served hot or iced.

Low tea, served at noon or early afternoon centers on dainty finger sandwiches, scones and pastries, jams and jellies.

There were literally thousands of patterns of cups and saucers made. Many dinnerware sets from “Havilland” and “Limoges” went unnamed leaving collectors on the hunt to complete their sets by looking for the design instead of by name. “Noritake” has several of unnamed patterns, as does “Nippon.” Makers of “Spode” and “Shelley” usually had pattern names and are in high demand to this day. English sets from “Staffordshire,” “Royal Doulton,” “Westbrook” and dozens more are in high-demand and are not hard to find.

English or French tea cups can be ordinary or ornate, footed, pedestaled or flat bottomed, but never boring. Tea cups are a wonderful every day item that cheer and comfort almost anyone.

Prices can range in value from $9 to $90 or more for a single cup and saucer set. Collectors of “Aynsely” and “Paragon” know they can expect to pay upwards of $200 for that choice piece. Rare and fragile tea cups are sought and collected worldwide. Internet sales are high and competitive.

One thing we do not lack at Pickety Place is tea cups. Ranging from the delicate jasperware of “Wedgwood,” the fine hand-painted bone china of France and Austria, or to the clunky pottery of restaurant ware or “Fiestaware,” you will no doubt find something to your liking.

There are no rules when collecting tea cups. Buy what you like, when you like.

Many people prefer to collect demitasse cups as they are a wonderful size for cappuccinos.

Tea Pots and accessories are also available here. We have cream and sugar sets, milk pitchers, cake plates, tea spoons, sugar tongs, to name a few.

A Tea Party can be as elegant or as eclectic as you want, no one cares.

Little girls and grandmas all over the valley will be donning big hats and snazzy dresses for a fun afternoon of drinking tea and eating sandwiches and small cakes, raising pinky fingers and making memories.