teacup cup saucer

Tea Cup Collecting

Collecting tea cups and saucers can be a very satisfying hobby that any age can participate in. Even pre-teens seem to enjoy learning the history behind the different styles and types of tea cups and their matching saucers. Grandmothers may still have cup and saucer sets from their youth that could be the basis of a teacup collection which would bring them many hours of joy.

Getting Started

A tea cup collection is within the reach of everyone, no matter what their budget is. Depending on where you look for collectibles to buy, you can find tea cups for as little as a dollar… or even less. Most of these original cups in the 17th century were custom made for the wealthy, and were fashioned out of fine silver. Since at this time, everything consumed out of these cups was steaming hot, it soon became quite clear that cups made from metal and hot liquids did not mix! Soon afterwards, tea cups began to be crafted of porcelain, and it wouldn’t surprise any tea cup collector of today if people from way back in the 17th century didn’t began a collection then and there, as tea cups can be rather addictive!

What’s The Difference?

Before you can began to successfully collect tea cups, you should make sure that you know the difference between a tea cup and a coffee cup. To the untrained eye, these two cups do not look all that different. Here’s a simple way to tell them apart. Coffee cups are usually bigger than tea cups. Tea cups have quite a delicate look to them, usually have a matching saucer, and their handles are set higher on the side of the cup than the handles on coffee cups.

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 for you to learn and remember the manufacturer’s name on some of the top selling tea cups, so that you will recognize them when you run across them. They include such names as Spode, Royal Doulton, Havilland, and Limoges. The older tea cups from Occupied Japan are also a popular collectible that will increase in value as time goes on.

Where Are All the Teacups?

Where to find these elusive collectible tea cups? Look around at your local flea markets, garage sales, antique shops, and ask the older females in your family about any tea cups they might have squirreled away. You pay get lucky and have an entire collection passed on to you by an aunt or a cousin that started a collection years ago. Also, online auctions are wonderful places to find good deals on tea cups. There are also web sites that have new and used tea cups for sale that may be of interest to you.

Decide before you get started collecting in a big way just how much money you want to budget for gathering collectible teacups. This hobby can be just as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be. Sometimes it’s more fun to hunt for and find a teacup for a small amount of money than it is to pay $50 for one teacup.

Your Own Collection – Have It Your Way!

What kind of teacups do you like? This is your collection, so make sure that when you look at it, you see what you want to see. If there is a certain color or pattern that you really enjoy, then it doesn’t matter who the manufacturer is – just as long as you like it! Some people go a bit further with their collecting, and add either tea pots or tea sets to their collections. Others are strictly tea cup purists.

Before you accumulate too many tea cups, you should think about where in your home would be a good place to display your collection. Some people use old-fashioned china cabinets for display, while others simply hang the teacups from a wall in their kitchen or dining room. Wherever you decide to display the, make sure it is a safe place where your teacups can not fall and get broken. You are building a collection that will have a lot of sentimental value to you in the future, and you should take the best of care of them. You may want to pass on your teacup collection to your children or grandchildren one day, so keep your teacups in good shape!

A type of teacup or teacup and saucer set to keep your eyes open for is the Occupied Japan type. A short bit of history about this type – After World War 2, the United States occupied Japan, so anything that left the country had to be stamped “Made in Occupied Japan”. This was displeasing to the Japanese, so whenever they thought they could get away with not using the stamp, they did, and any goods that left Japan simply said “Made in Japan”. As a result of this, not too many items were stamped with the “Made In Occupied Japan” stamp, and the ones that were are extremely rare and very collectible.

Jon Stout is Chairman of the Golden Moon Tea Company. For more information about tea, tea cups [http://www.goldenmoontea.com/Tea_Cups_C25.cfm] and green tea go to the Golden Moon Tea website.

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