Collecting antiques is a favourite hobby of many enthusiasts. A collector shares the same passion for collecting items as anyone collecting cars. These collectables range from any household item to large architectures. People who are interested in collecting antique and vintage items are willing to pay thousands of dollars just to have their hands on the item.
Tea caddies are one of the vintage products that go all the way back to 18th century. Tea caddies are types of canisters that were used for holding tea leaves in. The more beautiful the tea caddy would be the more value it would have. Tea caddies are traditionally shaped like small chests and made of mahagony.
History of Tea Caddies
Just like there is history of art, there is a huge history of antique and vintage items. All the items go all the way back to earlier centuries. Similarly, tea caddies were introduced back in the 18th century, and became a household accessory in the late 18th century. The word “Caddy” comes from Malaysian term “kati” which stands for 3/5th of a kilo. The materials for tea caddies included straw-work, enamel, silver, glass, china, tortoiseshell and sadeli mosaic.
During the 17th century, there were two types of tea caddy styles: the rococo and the austere style. Both styles had handles on the top with gilded brass mounts. There was seldom decoration on these caddies. The only rococo box that held carving was termed as Chippendale and sold at a very high price to an anonymous collector.
In the 18th century, when the trend for tea drinking gained popularity, manufacturers saw a business for tea caddy manufacturing, and started creating new designs that were beloved by all. One of the most famous designs of tea caddy was in the form of a miniature Carlton House, that was manufactured by William Porter Cornhill in 1786. Carlton House is famous for being the residence of Prince Regent.
Shapes of wooden caddies changed between the 18th and 19th century. Caddies in the form of squashes, melons, apples and pears became very common. Due to the rare shape, these caddies were very expensive. In the late 1800s, drinking tea became very common. It stopped being a rich commodity anymore. Local stores would manufacture tea into readily bought packets. This led to a decline in the tea caddy fashion, and tea caddies took its place as popular collectables instead.
If you walk the roads of Oriental China someday, you will still see tea caddies on display. Chinese and Japanese prefer to drink their tea still fresh from tea leaves and use tea caddies on occasional basis. Due to their availability, spotting a fake from authentic collectable can be hard.
Interesting Facts About Tea Caddies
- Tea was an expensive commodity, so tea caddies would have a lock and a key to store the tea leaves.
- Each tea caddy would have different compartments so that different varieties of tea could be stored at one time.
- While men would enjoy their cigars, tea would be served with tea canisters by the lady of the house.
- Many of the silver caddies were priceless and made from mother of pearl, ivory or silver.
- Collecting tea caddies is a very expensive hobby because of their architectural significance.
- Tea caddies have also been sold for as high as £20,000 because of their rarity.
- Chinoiserie boxes are the rarest of all tea caddy boxes.
- Tea caddies are no longer used for storing tea leaves. They are mostly kept as decorations in the bedrooms for storing jewellery.
Collecting Authentic Tea Caddies
Tea Caddies are normally owned by royal families of England, and also sold online. For buying authentic tea caddies, you can register your request in our system and if there is no item fit your request, do not feel bad about it, there are users register many new items every day. Keep your request updated to get the match with the offer which fits. Register more requests to have more options to get the match with the variety of offers which are close to what you are looking for. The cheapest tea caddy known to date costs around £155 . If you find a cheaper caddy, there is a high chance that the caddy is not antique, but maybe you are just passionate collector and the rarity of the item is not too important for you. Keep updated and check your Journal for notifications.
Antique tea caddies can be a perfect decoration for the house. They are small boxes carrying a rich history inside them. If you want to start collecting antiques and start small, tea caddies should be your best bet. Register here