Though the Mayans used something like a teapot 2600 years ago, it’s unlikely you’ll find one of these while scouring the markets. The Chinese used teapots in the 10th century but they’re rarely boxed up in granny’s basement. So what is an antique?
An antique is an artifact that’s at least 100 years old, and every year another range of teapots moves closer from old or vintage to antique.
It’s quite likely that what’s being sold as "antique" today is not antique at all but will get there – eventually. Often people use the word "antique" when they really mean vintage or old-fashioned.
If you love the look, design and shape of antique teapots or vintage teapots then before long you’ll find you have a cupboard or sideboard filling up with beautiful ceramic teapots, English teapots, porcelain teapots and Japanese tea pots and can’t part with one of them even if you never use them.
And if you’re becoming a serious collector then you should learn as much as you can because it collecting antique tea pots can be an expensive diversion even if money is no object.
Scour you local antique shops, auctions and the internet. Introduce yourself to store owners and tell them you’re interested in collecting say Yixing teapots or blue teapots or Staffordshire teapots. Leave some contact details and if something turns up they can call you.
Garage sale shopping can reveal some amazing finds particularly if you know your stuff. So educating yourself is definitely an advantage because you’d be amazed at how little people actually understand the value of their possessions.
Thrift shops are another place people have send lots of household items they no longer want. But their castoffs could be the very thing to help along your antique teapot collection. People rarely take time to discover the value items they no longer need. But their lack of time or disinterest is to your advantage, great for the collection and even stories to dine out on.
Estate sales might be a little too much for some but they often have high quality antiques. When you think of the hundreds of cups of tea shared with friends and relatives generation after generation, the tea pot almost becomes a family member, having seen and experienced celebrations or sorrows. The antique teapot becomes an orphan begging for a new home.
Online auctions are another way to collect antique teapots and the variety is huge. If you’ve spent some time looking at the real thing, not just a few photographs, you will know the value of various pieces before bidding.
One of the first things you want to learn about if you decide to collect antique teapots is their value. This takes an investment of time and everyone makes a few mistakes but you don’t want to be taken advantage of or sold something that is not an antique but a copy, ‘antiqued’ to look like the real thing.
To value an antique of any kind, you must first assess its condition. There will always be wear and tear but the condition of the teapot should also show evidence of quality.
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