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Tips for Collecting Tea Cups as a Hobby

Updated on January 16, 2020
MG Singh profile image

MG is a service officer and now a senior corporate advisor. A prolific writer with thousands of articles and publisher of two novels.

Collecting Tea Cups is fun

Collecting Tea Cups

Collecting teacups is a delightful hobby. Many Americans spend time over afternoon tea. In addition, the world over tea drinking is a ritual that is relished. Afternoon tea is, in particular, a British tradition and it has caught on in the colonies where the Raj was omnipresent. Tea tastes best in a teacup and a beautiful cup adds its own dimension to the taste of tea. Many people collect cups. This is not a very common hobby, but people who collect teacups enjoy it very much.

Introduction of Tea in West

Tea is a comparatively recent introduction to the west. It made an appearance in England in the 17th century when King Charles married Catherine of Braganza, who was from Portugal. She loved tea and it was introduced in the royal court. The East India Company added an impetus to tea drinking as it colonized India. It could transport hundreds of kilos of tea to the mother country as the tea plants flourished in the hot and humid climate of Assam and Bengal. Even now after independence tea plantations abound in Assam and Bengal. India along with China is the world's largest producer of tea.

Tea drinking is an eastern phenomenon and the origin of tea has been traced to China. Chinese are thus very fond of tea. Now as things stand tea is a universal drink.

The Cup and the Tea

Along with tea, the teacup also appeared. Initially, tea in England was drunk in mugs without handles like in China, where tea was drunk from small bowls. By the beginning of the 18th century, the handle appeared on the teacup. By 1810, the teacup as we see it today came into fashion. Initially, the teacup was an elite preserve, but gradually the common man also began to use teacups.

Teacups were made from either Porcelain or Bone China. Teacups made from Bone China were more durable. A collector of teacups will have a collection of teacups made from both Porcelain and Bone China.

Collection of Tea Cups

The collection of teacups started in the 19th century. One of the more popular gifts was hand-painted tea sets. The cups and saucers had beautiful paintings that gave a beautiful and quaint look. These hand-painted teacups are a rarity now and one will be lucky to lay hands on one of them. Most of the hand-painted teacups had images of birds and flowers. These pictures added to the beauty of the teacup.

When collecting teacups, the collector must be aware that antiquated cups are in great demand and can be costly. While collecting teacups, it must be borne in mind that in case a matching set is not available, it’s perfectly normal to have a mismatched set. Care should be taken to ensure that the cup fits the saucer. Teacups of different colors in a set add to the taste of drinking tea.

Buying and Display of Cups

When buying teacups many connoisseurs will examine price guides and identification books. But keep in mind that the prices quoted are only indicative. Antique teacups can only be appraised by an expert.

The teacups when displayed should not be stacked on top of each other. This will not give an aesthetic look. It’s best to hang the cups on a plate hanger or better still to display them in a glass cupboard. While displaying in a cupboard, ensure that no more than two cups are stacked together.

Teacups generally measure between 2-2 .5 inches in height with a width of 3 to 3.5 inches. Antique cups are taller and narrower. These dimensions will help a collector when the cups are stored.

Last Word

Care of Tea Cups

Teacups need to be regularly hand-washed, even if not in use. After washing, wipe the teacups with a soft cloth. Never stack them when wet. It is advisable not to use a dishwasher as it will dull the prints on the teacups.

Collecting teacups is a colorful hobby and it will add luster to the living room. It is a good idea to look for teacups with paintings of flowers and birds, as they make drinking tea more pleasurable.


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    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from UAE

      Thank you Thelma. So nice of you to have commented

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      I have some tea cups which look like yours. The one with pink rose. An inheritance from my mother -in-law. They are beautiful. Thanks for sharing this hub.Have a great day!

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from UAE

      Thank you DDE for your comment

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Collecting of teacups sounds a wonderful idea and I would have to look into this to start a new hobby. I haven't seen these kind of cups in ages.

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from UAE

      Thank you Jolly for commenting

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Interesting information on tea cups. These days one hardly drinks tea i tea cups. Surely miss those times.

      voted up.


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