Antique Silver Tea Sets
Antique silver tea sets have become incredibly expensive as of late because of the increase in the value of precious metals. It’s unfortunate that many people just look at silver tea sets for their scrap value. Unless a tea set is seriously damaged then it’s inadvisable to sell it to a dealer who is going to boil it down.
Silver tea sets have always been expensive; they took pride of place in Victorian and Edwardian dining rooms. For those who could not afford to purchase silver tea sets then after the invention of electroplating many attractive silver plate tea sets became available.
There’s nothing more elegant than an silver tea set, the sugar bowl piled with cubes and a teapot filled with aromatic tea. Add some pretty bone china cups and saucers, plates of sandwiches and English biscuits and you have afternoon tea fit for the Queen.
The styles of antique tea sets has changed through the ages. We have the ridiculously ornate Victorian style teapots embellished with flowers and sitting on legs, but the Art Deco period brought wonderfully simple and elegant designs that are still pleasing to modern tastes.
One of the most sought after silversmiths is Georg Jensen and a silver tea set made in his Danish workshop is worth many thousands of dollars today.
The most elaborate antique silver tea set would include a large handled tray, a teapot, a hot water pot, sugar bowl, and a jug for milk or cream. Some also included a small spirit burner for keeping the hot water warm, and of course in the pre-teabag days there would be a silver strainer and slop bowl. When full, these things weigh more than most Victorian women could lift on their own, so often they would have a housekeeper with arms like ham hocks or a butler bring in the tea.
Investing in a Silver Tea Set
Antique silver tea sets can be found online in places like eBay and in antique stores, jewelry stores and sometimes at pawnbrokers. Even without one of those massive handled trays you can expect to pay around $2-$5000 for an attractive silver tea set. They’re a good investment because they are made from precious metal and once you have used yours to serve afternoon tea and wowed all your friends, it’s unlikely you’ll ever think about selling it. That’s the nice thing about antiques, what was somebody else’s heirloom can now belong to you and your family.
The thinner the silver on an antique silver tea set the more likely it is to get dented and damaged. There are very few people around these days who are skilled at mending damaged silverware. If you’re looking to invest in an antique silver tea set the more substantially it’s made the less likely it will get damaged.
Silver Tea Set Care
Care of an antique silver tea service is not difficult, especially if you put it to use every week. The main problem is usually the buildup of tannin inside the teapot but if it’s rinsed and wiped out immediately after use then there shouldn’t be a problem. A quick buffing with a silver cloth will keep your antique tea set shining.
If it has to be stored never wrap silver in newspaper, always use cloth bags that you can purchase online or at a jewelry store. I always think it’s a great shame to hide beautiful silver tea sets, but they have become so valuable there is always a chance they might get stolen.
Read more about caring for your silver tea set here.