Discover the World of Antique Teapots - Learn Where to Find and Buy Them and How to Value Them!


  • Author Christine Mcveigh
  • Published September 14, 2009
  • Word count 924

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.

Unless you really know what you’re doing, stay away from anything in perfect condition because a teapot in perfect condition is unlikely to be old, but an antique teapot should be anything but shabby. So how do you value an antique teapot?

If the teapot is ceramic or porcelain, are there cracks, or crackling on the surface? If it is made of silver, are there worn spots?

  • Look inside for discoloration from years of steeping tea. Is it stained and dark or light? Look at the holes that lead to the spout. Three or four holes indicate a pot from the eighteenth century. They should look uneven not perfect; which could mean modern.

  • Does the lid fit well on the body? Is it worn, chipped and lost part of its glaze?

  • Is the handle worn?

  • Look for markings on the bottom of the teapot. These tell you who manufactured the teapot, where it was made and even a year. There are many reference books that can help you work out what these antique markings mean.

  • What is the teapots overall shape? Each period had a popular shape and design whether round, pear shape, inverted pear, square or straight sided. Often the more unusual the shape, the more collectible the piece may be.

Condition, shape and desirability, and verification through markings tell you the value of your teapot.


A documented history of the teapot, or a provenance certainly adds to the value but this isn’t always possible and only for highly priced items. With so many things to consider when you start to collect also consider the different types of antique teapots:


  • Staffordshire tea pots

  • Antique silver tea pots

  • Antique ceramic teapots

  • Victorian teapots

  • Sadler teapots

  • Antique Chinese tea pots

  • Yixing teapots

  • Cast iron tea pots

  • Tetsubin teapots

If you’re really passionate about collecting, buying or selling antique teapots then you must build your antique knowledge in different periods, styles, areas and fashions. Whether it's for your next tea party or just adding to your collection, the more you learn the more you’ll know what you like and why you enjoy them so much. If you want to know more about antique teapots, antique plates, tea sets or dishes please visit more tips, decorating ideas and information on the wonderful antique world.

Christine McVeigh is author of blog for eating, decorating, trading or collecting antique plates, antique dishes, staffordshire, vintage, victorian, chinese or english porcelain. Find information on antique markings, Moorcroft, antique blue and more.

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