Tea is not only beneficial for one’s health, but it is also a bit of a ritual. Many fantastic tea sets specialize in elevating the tea-drinking experience, allowing you to enjoy the entire tea-drinking experience sincerely.
The best tea sets are made of either porcelain or sterling silver. Sterling silver tea sets are beneficial because they are less fragile and can be passed down through generations. Such sets can be a lovely reminder of your family’s history and a popular antique collectible item.
History of Antique Silver Tea Sets
The origins of tea sets can be traced back to the Han Dynasty in ancient China (206–220 BC). Porcelain was used to make these tea sets. They were plain and only functioned as tea containers. These sets evolved to include the teapot, tea tray, tiny tea cups, sugar tongs, and a colander to filter out the leaves.
When tea did arrive in Europe in the 16th century, it was accompanied by porcelain tea sets. Tea was initially reserved for royalty, particularly royal women and court ladies. They sipped tea from handleless cups balanced on saucers. Teacups with handles were designed by a man named Robert Adams to protect the delicate fingers of ladies.
Because the English preferred their tea with sugar and milk, Adams designed a sugar bowl, a milk jug (creamer), and teaspoons. By the 1700s, tea was served on a tray known as a tea table. This was the era of “high tea” parties when wealthy English families got to visit each other and drink tea.
The Silver Tea Set Era
The very first tea sets were made of sterling silver around 1790. Tea sets made of this valuable metal proved to be long-lasting, heat-retaining, and easy to use. Nonetheless, these tea sets were not standard until the Victorian era. Queen Victoria adored tea and mentioned it countless times in her journal. She influenced the rest of the world, and tea drinking became even more popular, with sterling silver tea sets eventually gaining traction.
How To Tell if An Antique Silver Tea Set is Real.
To confirm the authenticity of an antique silver tea set, there are two things you should consider, and they are;
● Is it Silver or Not
To begin, you should determine whether your tea set is silver? Look for silver content markings such as 900, 925, or 800. Take a magnet and see if it is attracted to your tea set. If so, your set is not silver because silver is not magnetic.
Real silver corrodes and tarnishes over time. If you can’t find any of these on your tea set, it’s not real silver. If you smell metal when you sniff your tea set, it isn’t entirely made of sterling silver. It was either made of another material or the silver-plated base material.
● Is it an antique Item
There are numerous copies and reproductions available, but there is a way to tell if you’re looking at an original antique sterling set? A genuine antique silver tea set will show signs of deterioration, so look for them. Look for patina as well. Patina will be visible on the surface of old silver tea sets.
However, mold lines should not be present in antique tea sets, so if you see a silver tea set with prominent mold lines, it is not antique. How does it feel when you pick it up? If it feels light, it is most likely not antique.
Recognizing Antique Silver Tea Set Markings
The undersides of the pieces for most silver tea sets are marked. These letters, numbers, and symbols are known as defining features and can reveal a lot about the history of your tea set. Each manufacturer had its silver hallmarks, allowing you to determine which company made your settings and even a time frame for when it was made. Mostly all silver manufactured in the United States and England just after the mid-1800s will bear marks indicating whether it is sterling silver or not.
Differentiating Sterling silver from Silver Plate
Your antique silver tea set’s value will be heavily influenced by whether it’s made of sterling silver or a tiny amount of silver plate over a metal surface. Silver-plated and sterling silver tea sets are worth it, but they are significantly more valuable due to the silver itself. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver. The marks on the bottom of an antique tea set indicate whether it is sterling silver, silver plate, or another metal.
- The Silver Plate
Silver-plated tea sets could or may not be marked with metal content. They frequently bear markings such as “Sheffield plate,” “EPNS,” and “silver plate.”
Sterling silver is permanently stamped with the word “sterling.” It will say “sterling,” “sterling silver,” “.925/1000 or another clear indication that it is genuine sterling.
- Other Possible Types of Silver
You also could find silver tea sets marked “coin,” which is 80% silver. Pewter is another option that does not consist of silver and has a grimmer sheen.
Value of An Antique Silver Tea Set
The price of the silver tea set ranges from only a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Several factors influence these value variations.
Constituents of the Set
An antique silver tea set’s total weight can also determine its value. More weight typically indicates more items; the more pieces a group has, the more valuable it is.
At least three pieces are required for an antique silver tea set: a teapot, a sugar pot, and a milk/cream jug. If this set includes a tray, its value can increase. Some tea sets have six or more pieces and can cost several thousand dollars.
When you see a silver tea set with many items, you should inspect the markings on each piece. If these markings do not match, the set pieces do not belong to the same set.
A tea set will be more valuable if it includes unique and one-of-a-kind details. Hand chasing is one such detail; it is a process in which a silversmith uses tools to create beautifully textured designs on the surface of the silver.
Monograms were sometimes used to personalize tea sets. Monogrammed silver tea sets are typically less valuable; however, some seals are so beautiful that they add value to the tea set.
Some tea sets have accents made of various materials, such as bakelite, an early form of plastic. Although plastic in a silver tea service may appear strange, this process was popular during the Art Deco period, and many antique collectors find such sets particularly appealing.
Figural elements are decorative tridimensional details that typically depict flowers, foliage, people, and animals. They were trendy during the Victorian era’s Art Nouveau period.
The Type of Silver Used
The monetary value of an antique silver tea set will be reduced if it is made of silver-plated base metal rather than solid silver, known as silver sterling. However, this does not imply that silverplate tea sets are worthless; they can still fetch hundreds of dollars or more.
The goal of collecting antiques is obviously to find the oldest examples. Older silver tea sets will be worth far more than newer ones. The only exception is if the older set is in poor condition or is missing one or more pieces.
Although some indications of age are anticipated in antique silver tea sets, the value of that tea set will be reduced if it is in poor condition. Patches, dents, and missing pieces will undoubtedly reduce the weight of the tea set.
Certain tea sets are more difficult to find than others, so their value is naturally higher. Some are made explicitly for prestigious families or with a particular type of materials or design.
10 Most Valuable Antique Silver Test
1. Victorian Silver Tea Set London 1841/2
George William Elliott made an excellent and rare five-piece tea and coffee service in London in 1841 and 1842. Coffee pot, teapot, sugar bowl, cream jug, and a large hot water kettle on a stand with a burner. Each piece is hallmarked with a matching mark. Rich hand chasing with fox hunting and shooting scenes, all in perfect condition and ready to use. This tea set features lovely figural elements depicting a woman riding a horse and men hunting with their dogs. This stunning 5-piece tea set is valued at approximately $49,306.29. It would be even more valuable if this set came with a tray.
2. Gorham Chantilly Grand Sterling Tea Set
William C. Codman, a well-known Gorham designer, created the Gorham Chantilly Grand sterling silver tea set in 1895. William C. Codman worked for Gorham for 23 years and patented 54 other flatware patterns in addition to the designs for the Chantilly Grand sterling silver tea set.
While there were many styles, each with different degrees of popularity, none were as long-lasting and desired as Chantilly. The Gorham Chantilly flatware pattern is still popular today, and matching flatware is available in both sterling and silver plates. The way was designed in the style of Louis XV. Gorham’s Chantilly was named “the runaway favorite design” for three years after it was created.
3. Victorian Silver Plated Tea Set c1885 FENTON BROS Sheffield Antique Tea Pot Set.
A magnificent Victorian silver plated three-piece tea set consisting of a teapot, sugar bowl, and cream jug. It has a classic Victorian style and looks great together on the table. The serial number 4281 is stamped on the bottom of all three pieces, and the sugar bowl and milk jug bear the Fenton Brothers makers mark. It was made between 1880 and 1890.
The 19th-century 3-piece silver-plate tea set is less expensive and more straightforward than the other items on this list, but its beautiful detailing makes it appealing to collectors. It is estimated to cost $401.12.
4. Plymouth Sterling Silver Tea Set by Gorham
Gorham Manufacturing Company is one of the biggest manufacturers of sterling silver items and sculptures in the United States. Over the years, they have created many patterns and sets that are highly sought after worldwide. The Plymouth Sterling Silver Tea Set is one of many Gorham patterns that has achieved that coveted level.
A typical sterling silver tea set includes a coffee pot, teapot, cream jug, covered sugar bowl, and waste bowl. The pattern, created in 1911, has a clean, simple, and elegant design. When looking to buy a Plymouth sterling silver tea set, the quality and value are always higher when the tea set has no visible damage or tarnish.
5. Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Henning Koppel Tea and Coffee Set with Tray No 1017.
Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Henning Koppel Tea and Coffee Set with Tray No 1017. The set bears vintage hallmarks. Another proper tea set, this Georg Jensen tea set, has lovely wooden handles and a long enough spout for smooth pouring.
This tea set, made in the early twentieth century in Copenhagen, Denmark, is worth $56,046.15 and can also be used as a coffee set. Teapot with Guaiacan Handle, 12 cm H, weighs 692 grams. Coffee Pot with Guaiacan Handle 15 cm H (5 29/32 “), weighs 670 grams. Creamer 7.5 cm H (2 61/64 “), weighs 260 gram. 10.5 cm dia sugar bowl (4 9/64 “), weighs 176 grams. Tray 52 x 45.5 cm (20 15/32″ x 17 29/32”), 2.8 kg.
6. Georgian Rose Sterling Silver Tea Set by Reed & Barton
Reed & Barton’s Georgian Rose Sterling Silver Tea Set is a mid-century sterling silver coffee and tea service set. Reed & Barton created the collection to accompany the Savannah flatware pattern, which was released in 1962.
Both patterns featured polished surfaces accented with flowers and scrolls and were intended to celebrate traditional Georgian elegance. A sterling silver coffee pot, teapot, creamer dispenser, covered sugar dish, and oval silver serving tray is included in the five-piece set.
7. Antique Sterling Silver 5pc Tea Set by Roden.
This five-piece antique tea set comes with a large tray. The set’s components are adorned with beautiful and elaborate engravings, adding to the set’s estimated value of $7,000.00.
8. Stieff Sterling Silver Tea Set – Rose Pattern
The Stieff Company was well-known for the high quality and value of its silver products, as well as its exquisite hand chasing and Repoussé work. Steiff’s most famous pattern was the Maryland Rose, which was created and introduced in 1892. Stieff Rose evolved from the Maryland Rose pattern. The Steiff Rose sterling silver tea set typically includes four ornate and beautiful pieces. Steiff sterling silver tea sets are desirable and sought after due to their elaborate designs and intricate patterns, making them one of the most famous in the antique tea set world.
9. Silver Plated Victorian 5 Pieces Tea Set on Tray C1880/90
This silverplated tea set proves that, while silverplated tea sets are much less valuable than sterling ones, they are still quite beautiful and can be pretty expensive. Its estimated price is $2,530.11.
10. Tiffany Repousse Tea Set – Ivy Pattern
The Tiffany Repousse Tea Set in Ivy is a rare pre-Civil War five-piece silver set designed by Tiffany & Co. The pattern comprises an intricate repousse of winding ivy leaves and other decorative accents. The design’s background is fully textured and detailed. Furthermore, all handles and spouts have a woody motif with oak leaves and acorns.
The ivy pattern repousse tea set has an engraved crest consisting of a shield surmounted by a boar’s head, a sword entwined by two serpents, and a flag that reads “Est Nec Astu.” The set typically comprises a large coffee pot, a medium teapot, lidded creamer, lidded sugar, and a waste bowl. Pre-Civil War era silver is scarce on the market, and it is even rarer when it comes from an essential maker like Tiffany & Co.
Tips on How To Sell Your antique Silver Tea Set
Have you ever discovered a family heirloom antique silver tea set while rummaging through the attic or a dusty old closet? One of the first thoughts that may come to mind is its value. These pointers will assist you in evaluating your piece, distinguishing between an antique sterling silver tea set and one that is silver-plated, and providing you with the knowledge you’ll need to sell it.
Here are some essential factors to consider when deciding whether or not to sell an antique silver tea set:
Is the Tea set made of Silver sterling or silver plate?
Most silver-plated tea sets, antique or not, are not particularly valuable. The number “925” usually indicates that your collection is formed of sterling silver. In the United States, if an item is marked “sterling,” it must be 92.5% silver and no more than 7.5% base metal, hence the source of “925.” However, the 925 could have also been stamped on a forgery.
Does it have sentimental value?
The first thing to decide is whether or not you want to sell. Like nearly all antique silverware, tea sets can be quickly passed down from generation to generation. Silverware is more durable than china and crystal, which can be chipped or broken. However, polishing requires a significant amount of maintenance. Almost everyone has some antique silver or silver-plated items in their homes that belonged to a loved one many years ago.
If you’re thinking about collecting antique silver or selling an antique tea set, there are a few things you should know about buying and selling these items:
- Always be aware of what you’re buying or selling. Before making a purchase, spend some time learning everything about the tea set.
- Have your sterling silver coffee and tea sets professionally appraised before selling them. These sets can be worth thousands of dollars.
- Before you put it on the market, polish it. This makes it more appealing to potential buyers.
- If you want to buy an antique tea set, look into local antique stores. Shipping on these large sets can be costly, but you can inspect the tea set in person at a store.
- Gather as much information about the set as possible. Knowing its origins, manufacturer, and year/decade of manufacture will help you sell it faster.
- Please don’t sell it until you have several offers. If you aren’t patient enough when dealing with your tea set, you may sell it for less than it’s worth.
If you purchase something online, ensure the seller has a good return policy. Ensure you check the set once it arrives to be sure that it meets your requirements.
How To Care for your Antique Silver Tea Set
When not in use, store your silver carefully to keep it from eroding or scratching. Don’t be concerned if it tarnishes slightly. Gentle polishing can bring it back to its former glory. An antique tea set can be passed down for many generations with proper care.
Antique silver tea sets are frequently a family heirloom, but they are also fascinating collectible items with a high resale value. Antique silver tea sets that are in good condition, have three or more pieces, and are pretty detailed can fetch $1,000 or more!
So, if you have any silver teapots, consider evaluating their value and possibly selling them! If you don’t want to sell them, you can be proud of owning such valuable items.
Do you have any vintage silver tea sets? Have they inherited family heirlooms, or did you buy them somewhere? Are there any interesting details? I’d love to hear more in the comments!