A Beginner’s Guide To Selling Silver Tea Caddies
How We Can Help You Sell Your Silver Tea Caddy
Are you looking to find out what your silver tea caddy is worth, and how best to sell it? At Mark Littler Ltd we can help you understand what affects the value of your silver tea caddy, provide you with a valuation, and advise on how best to sell it.
Western silver tea caddies have been made since the 17th century, although they don’t become common until the 18th century. Silver tea caddies were originally designed for the upper classes of society and whilst they are not often used for their original purpose, silver tea caddies are collected for their historical and decorative appeal.
With auction houses commonly charging a combined 49% commission between the buyer and the seller (18% seller, 25% buyer, 6% online fees), you need to think carefully about where you sell your silver tea caddy. Here at Mark Littler Ltd, we can provide a valuation of your silver tea caddy and advise on how best to sell it, be that through auction or private sale.
How do you sell your silver tea caddy?
Are you looking to sell your silver tea caddy but don’t know where to start? At Mark Littler LTD we make the selling process as simple as possible by handling all of the logistics, paperwork and fully insured shipping.
We can help you sell your silver tea caddy in two ways:
- Through a brokered private sale
- Through specialist online auctions
Our aim is to achieve the best possible price for your silver; after all, you can only sell once. By giving you all of your options you can be sure you are making the right decision.
What Affects The Value Of Your Silver Tea Caddy?
Coat of Arms
Given that tea was once one only consumed by the upper tiers of society, it was common to have your coat of arms or crest engraved on your silver tea caddy.
If the engraving of the coat of arms is period with the item then this will often enhance the value. Coats of arms belonging to prominent families, or even royalty, will enhance the value of your silver tea caddy greatly.
Assay Office & Maker
The assay office and maker will also have an impact on the value of your silver tea caddy. Tea caddies assayed at York, Chester, Newcastle and other English and Scottish provincial assay offices are very rare and collectors will be buying the tea caddy more for the marks than the design and aesthetics.
The same is the case for highly sought after silversmiths such as Paul Storr or John Swift etc.
Clearly the condition of your tea caddy will have an impact on the value.
Dents, bruises and splits are all obvious forms of damage that will impact the value.
Quite often on tea caddies you may find that a coat of arms has been removed which can be hard to spot but will also have a big impact on the value.
Do not worry about cleaning your tea caddy. In some cases you can reduce the value of a tea caddy by cleaning it.
We have been applying hallmarks to silver since the 14th century and as such they are the oldest form of consumer protection in the world.
Western tea caddies have been made from around the 17th Century and the earlier pieces often command a higher price.
However, the older the tea caddy, the more likely that there will have been repairs over the years. As such it is a combination of both the age and the condition that will have a real impact on the value of your tea caddy.
Silver or Plate
To put it bluntly, sterling silver items were made for the middle and upper classes. Silver plate was an invention aimed at making ‘silver’ style items available to the masses.
If you see the letters EPNS or A1 on your tea caddy then it is silver plated. Your tea caddy will need to be hallmarked and carry very specific marks in order to be legally called silver.
As silver plate was made for the mass market many items of silver plate do not have any value.
Silversmiths like Paul Storr produced many items to the same design, but depending on the wealth of their client they would adjust the amount of silver that they would use for the commission.
As such a tea caddy may be 500g or it might be 1,300g. Without being able to handle your items in person, providing the weight will give us a very good idea of the gauge of the silver used and thus we will be able to give you a very good idea of the value.
How We Can Help You Sell Your Tea Caddy
Our brokerage service is a simple, stress-free way to sell your silver tea caddy. We will broker the sale between you and one of our buyers. For this service, we charge a 10% commission (plus VAT – 12% total) of the final sale price of the item. This avenue is fast and simple. We will take care of everything for you.
At Mark Littler Ltd we can also help you to sell tea caddies via auction. Given the high cost of selling at auction getting the placement of your items right is critical. Having run one of the most successful silver sales in the country Mark Littler has the experience and industry contracts to know where your silver is going to sell best.
Sell Silver: Expert Valuations
For a free, no-obligation valuation of your silver tea caddy simply use the form below. In order to provide you with an accurate valuation please provide as much of the below information as you can.
Silver Tea Caddy Valuation Contact Form
We make getting your silver to us simple.
We have a fully insured postage service. We send you specialist packing materials and instructions together with a pre-paid returns label so that you can ship your silver back to us quickly and safely.
For large collections and very high-value items we also have a hand-courier service available.
I highly recommend Mark Littler, who is extremely knowledgeable and went out of his way to help me sell some... artwork.read more
Well having now completed the process, I can say that Mark and his whole team are absolutely excellent. We were guided through different ways to sell different bottles. Help with packaging and transport is provided, and advice on bottle values was good.
They have now all been sold, and at very pleasing prices.
Highly recommended!read more
He completed a sale for me with his... professionalism & personal service & I will happily use him again. Thank you Mark & staff., for a five star service. Lorna Hickmanread more
I highly recommend Mark Littler if you have any unusual bottles to sell, they are the people to sell it for you.read more
Friendly professional service... throughout.
Excellent company.read more
Account Manager Hannah... Thompson completed the transaction faultlessly throughout. She was quick to establish which were the highly collectable bottles and which I would just have to enjoy drinking. I had a very good idea which bottles would fetch the best price and Hannah confirmed that for me. After putting the bottles to their database of clients, I soon had a best offer which stacked up against other vendors. On accepting the offer a courier delivered all the packing boxes the following day and we dropped everything packed to the post office. Hannah confirmed receipt and a couple of days later Mark called to confirm that he had just sent the proceeds to me - All very painless!
Many companies make a lot of promises these days but never quite deliver - Mark Littler is very much the exception!read more
Knowledgeable guy and easy to talk to! Will guide you through every step.
Highly recommendread more
Would not hesitate to recommend them to any prospective seller.read more
mark has been professional, helpful and knowledgeable as a whole.
With a personal service and a reasonable price,... there really is every reason to use Mark!
Fantastic service and communication throughout. Mark sold a bottle of whisky for me and made the... whole process so easy and stress free! Cannot recommend his services enough. Thank you againread more
Many thanks Mark.
Gary Cattellread more
He connected us with an interested buyer and the sale went smoothly and at a price I was very pleased with. I am poised to use him again for items I have and would highly recommend him to anyone else located in the US to sell their items.read more
His honest advice and clear communication at every stage eased our path through the... whole transaction.
This with the outstanding sale price he achieved for us, was more than impressive.
We commend him highly to anyone with good whisky to sell.
Thank you Mark
Eddie & Anita
We were satisfied with the price achieved and the very prompt payment.
Well and worthily recommended by us to anyone looking for someone with integrity and knowledge in the areas of his expertise.
Syd Kershnerread more
Through the whole process, felt comfortable dealing with Mark and the whole process was completed within two weeks.
First class service, five star.read more
Mark provided a superb service through the process of my sale. Thank you Mark... 👍🏼read more
Quick Online Silver Valuation
In order to provide you with an accurate valuation please provide as much of the below information as you can.
Alternatively, please send photos of your tea caddy (with hallmark ideally) to our WhatsApp .
The History of Silver Tea Caddies
A canister for holding loose tea leaves, a tea caddy originates from the east in places such as China and India, and takes its name from the Malay ‘kati’ which means 1 ⅕ pounds. As such, early western tea caddies take their form from Chinese porcelain examples. These were most commonly rectangular or octagonal and had a cap that also acted as a measuring cup.
The earliest surviving western tea caddy dates to 1682 and is silver with chased chinoiserie decoration. It is speculated that this could have been designed as part of a silver toilet service rather than as a tea caddy. This is because prior to 1700, tea caddies were extremely rare as the price of tea was so expensive and therefore inaccessible.
Early examples of tea caddies are often made of thin sheet metal whereas the later examples from the first few decades of the 18th century are made from heavier metal and usually fitted with sliding bases or tops. This sliding base or top is to allow for a lead liner to be inserted. At this time, tea caddies are usually found in pairs as one was to hold black tea and one green.
As the habit of taking sugar in tea developed it prompted the development of caddy sets that were presented in a fitted case. This would likely contain three caddies, one each for the two types of tea and one for sugar. The cases were usually bespoke, made of rare wood or covered in shagreen and silver mounted. Some had ivory or mother of pearl included and some contained extra pieces such as teaspoons, tea knives, sugar nippers, and a mote spoon – perhaps the earliest iteration of a tea service.
The shape of the tea caddy has also evolved. Early examples are usually square when then developed into oblong caddies. After this, vase shaped caddies became popular; there were also some triangular caddies but these were quite uncommon.
Tea caddies were often intricately decorated with chasing or engraving which is timely and expensive to do. To the makers, the high cost of tea justified the time and expense given to the caddy and almost every form has been pressed into service.
By the mid 18th century, the tea caddy that had a cap that could be used as a measure had been superseded by a form that didn’t. As such, later designs required a spoon that could be included within the caddy itself.
By the 1770s, the price of tea had decreased from 40s per pound to 6s. This perhaps explains why from this point the pervading tea caddy shape was oval and they were divided internally, essentially becoming a self-contained unit. They were no longer presented in cases as a set and it appears that tea caddies were no longer the high luxury item they once were.
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