Lazy Sunday – Treasures!

Qing dynasty teapot hand painted in cobalt blue. Nanking porcelain

I went to an auction today. I do not often go to them as I find them very stressful and am petrified that I will inadvertently buy something hideously expensive because I scratched my nose.

Qing dynasty teapot hand painted in cobalt blue. Nanking porcelain
18th Century Qing Dynasty Teapot

This one had hundreds of items including stuffed animals,valuable works of art, utter kitsch and assorted antiques.

The prices were ridiculously cheap for most of the items and had I more space and few spare thousand, I could have filled my home with beautiful furniture for less than Ikea. However I did manage to snaffle a few choice items which are pictured in this post. I was not able to afford the 500 dollars paid for a stuffed skunk!

What I love about buying antiques is the fact that you are buying something that is genuinely “hand” made. The cups and saucers I bought today were all painstakingly hand painted and then another person had to add the gilding which then was hand polished using a dogs tooth or special burnishing stone. The glass had to be hand blown and then cut and polished. The German goblet had to be hand engraved by a skilled artist.

The teapot is all hand turned, painted in cobalt blue and then sent to England to have the gold added once it arrived. A description of the journey that the teapot took just to get to the port of departure from China is a story in itself.

Derby porcelain cup and saucer
Derby Porcelain coffee can and saucer hand painted in the Indian Tree Pattern around 1800

The other thing I love is that in the space of a few hours I have travelled through space and time. The teapot dates from 1790 or so and was made especially to appeal to the tea mad English upper classes. The taste for Chinese Porcelain changed the history of commerce. The cups all date from around 1800-1820 with Regency England in full swing and Jane Austen writing her beautiful masterpieces. The goblet dates from the late 19th Century when the industrious British middle classes journeyed to Europe and brought home expensive souvenirs of their stay.

As these items were scattered about the sale in dark corners and listed as “some cups and saucers”, “a glass decanter and a spare glass” and “some cups and a blue and white teapot” I managed to get them for a song.

What are they really?

Derby porcelain
Derby porcelain mark 1800-1814.

Cups 1 and 2 are coffee cans and matching saucers of Derby Porcelain and date between 1800 and 1814 (this is when the red mark shown was used)

Derby porcelain cup and saucer. Red mark.
Derby coffee can and saucer with roses and cornflower pattern. Around 1800

Cup 3 may be Pinxton Porcelain if an old label on it is to be believed but it is likely to date to around 1790

English porcelain cup and saucer pinxton
Pinxton cup and saucer late 18th Century

Goblet – Biedermeier  period souvenier goblet engraved with a miniature of Schloss Bieberich 1870s

antique goblet (Large)
Deep cut glass goblet with engraved decoration of a castle.

Teapot – Chinese export porcelain made around 1790 Qing dynasty porcelain painted in a style known as “Nanking”.

The peculiarly shaped decanter is of English make.

English lead crystal decanter
English Decanter

How do I know?

Don’t tell anyone! Very well made English decanters will have a tiny number engraved on the base of the stopper and a matching number somewhere on the decanter (the base in this case). Many English decanters do not have this number but if it is there, it must be English. This is known by practically no-one so it is a great way to find quality English glass but also to check if the decanter matches the stopper.

Antique decanter number (Large)

So, a few more quick tips and then you can check out your own hoards for treasures.

Dating pottery – Most pottery before 1850 is unmarked. Some companies marked their wares from very early times but a lack of a mark is normal in older items.

Cups and saucers – The oldest cups had no handles and were based on the Chinese models. Handles came in late in the 18th Century. Up until the 1820-30s saucers were separate bowls that had a tea cup and a coffee can that rested in them (coffee cans are cylindrical) and the saucer had no ring to sit the cup in. You were actually supposed to drink from the saucer originally.

Teapots – original teapots tend to be small as tea was expensive and teacups were also small.

If you reached this point well done. If you would like more information about collecting antiques then let me know and I will do a post now and then.


  1. Love! Love! Love! Your history lessons, tips for antiquing and those beautiful pieces have bought a smile to my heart. My late mother was a fiend for antiques and we actually had to hire a professional to release much of her collection. This was, of course, after we took what we wanted. her nieces and nephews came in, the grandchildren got theirs and various friends had their pick. Yeah, it was remarkable. My favorite of the pieces you displayed here, is the decanter. if you should find it missing, I will have it, I am certain! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I caught the bug from my grandmother who had some beautiful things and let us enjoy them as children. Rummaging in the china cabinet was one of the joys of our childhood. I am glad you liked the decanter. I have never seen one of that shape before.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this post TJ
    this post with the pictures was nice to see. i love antiques and like to spend way more time going thru stores and shops than my wife will allow. i also don’t have the cash needed to fully realize my collecting potential, but instead i appreciate it from afar. for our wedding in 2005, my grandmother gave us her china set. it’s only from 1955 i think, but it gives us a sense of continuity with the family history. again, i loved the pictures and the words. -KIA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a wonderful thing to have something with a sense of family history too. I have a few pieces from my grandmother and using them makes them more special. I can’t usually afford the older pieces of porcelain I like collecting most but these came in at only $15 aussie dollars a piece so I lashed out. 🙂 Usually here a Derby cup and saucer would set you back around $100 in an antique shop so I was well pleased as you can imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. All the cups are not cracked or chipped and the gilding is surprisingly unworn. The teapot has had a chip on the lid that has been repaired but given that it has lived through more than two centuries and travelled the globe I am very happy to accept it as fair won “battle scars”.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love everything I read in this post, and I learned so much! Please, do keep writing more posts like these, otherwise, I will forever be the person who would most defo bid 600 on that skunk!

    Liked by 1 person

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