History Of Silver Tea Caddies

Oval Silver Tea Caddy
Oval Silver English Tea Caddy

Tea was extremely expensive in the 18th century, and it was therefore natural that the containers to hold it should be made in silver. Early caddies are octagonal and have a detachable cap which doubles as a measure. The early ones in particular are sometimes lead-lined with sliding bases or covers for ease of filling.

At first caddies came singly, but in the 1720s pairs became common, one for green and one for black tea. At this date they can be found in a lockable case. In the smartest sets there is sometimes a set of teaspoons, sugar nips and a mote spoon, but not a caddy spoon as these do not appear until the 1780s. How people measured the tea between the demise of the detachable cap and the introduction of the caddy spoon is not known. Hinged lids on caddies are preferred to lids that lift off. The increasing availability of and fondness for sugar led to caddies being produced in sets of three; initially the sugar container looked like another caddy but soon evolved into a slightly different shape.

Caddies are found in a variety of shapes, but oval predominates at the end of the 18th century. The years from 1770 onward also see the introduction of the single tea caddy with an individual lock; fitted cases becoming increasingly rare as a result. As with other silverware, caddy decoration was at its most fanciful in the mid-18th century. Samuel Taylor was the main English maker at this time, specializing in circular richly chased caddies, which are particularly sought after today.

From the 19th century most caddies were made in wood, papier mache or a variety of other materials. The few silver ones that were made at the end of the century are fairly ordinary.

Bodies and lids should have a full set of hallmarks. Any detachable slides should also carry the maker’s mark and lion passant. Early 18thC detachable caps are usually unmarked.

History Of Silver Baskets

History Of Silver BasketsBaskets described in old invoices as being for bread or cake have for a long time been more often used for fruit.

Although baskets existed in England in the 17th century, examples earlier than 1740 are rare. After this date, they survive in very large numbers. American baskets are very rare. As most baskets have pierced decoration and were in daily use for a long time it is important to check them carefully for damage, especially those with pierced decoration

As with many different types of silver, baskets were made more lightly as the years passed, due probably to increasing demand from the less wealthy section of the population, and to the introduction of the rolling mill, which led to large-scale production. However, the Regency period produced some notably heavy examples. Weight at this time was considered synonymous with quality.

The oval shape and swing handle was standardized by 1740. A basket of this date rests on a rim base rather than on separate feet. This would always have been an expensive piece of silver, and should therefore have a fine coat of arms engraved in the base, sometimes framed by flat chasing as on salvers of the period.

Baskets had feet in the middle of the 18th century until mass production set in. Oblong and circular shapes appeared by the end of the century, and thereafter baskets were usually circular.

Early baskets are usually marked underneath or in a line on the side; later ones on the side or the base. Ideally, handles will also be marked, although this is unlikely on early baskets.

How To Preserve And Store Antique Quilts

Vintage Quilt
Vintage Quilt


I am almost 60 years old. I have a quilt that was made by my paternal grandmother and her mother sometime in the years before I was born (1953). I don’t know how many years – it could have been they did this in the 1930’s or as late as the 1940’s. Would this quilt be considered old?

I keep it in a trunk that I have. Is there something special I should do to preserve it? It looks like new still as it’s not been used at all. I have a lot of other quilts, too, that were done by my mother-in-law but they were done in recent decades. There *is* one that is older that she inherited and didn’t make herself. I don’t use these quilts.

They are folded and inside individual pillow cases and stacked on each other on top of an antique wash stand of some sort that she had. My house is small with just our one bedroom and bed and the grandkids are on/in that bed sometimes so I just keep old stuff on there that I don’t care about. Some day these quilts will belong to those kids. 🙂 Anita.


Yes, it would be considered “old”.

The best way to preserve your quilts is to keep them clean, out of sunlight and it sounds like you’re already doing this. I wouldn’t stack them as the weight of the quilts can cause permenant creases to the folds of lower quilts.

Keep them out of reach of the grand kids and any pets and you should be OK. You might want to make notes describing anything you know about each quilt and keep the notes inside the quilts. This way, when you’re gone, the children will have the record.

Hope this helps.

Regards Tiffany.

History Of Old Postcards

History Of Old Postcards
History Of Old Postcards

Two Philadelphians, J. P. Charlton and H. L. Limpan, came up with a simple but great idea in 1861. Their “Lipman’s Postal Card” had a blank front for writing messages. The back was inscribed with three lines-one with their patent mark, the other two for addressing and stamping. They advertised their product was great for sending rapid correspondence at half the price of paper and envelopes. They claimed their invention would be valuable for travelers, and boasted merchants could use their stiff cards to send notices and circulars. The Post Card, they deduced, would lighten mail, cheapen postage, and surely make them rich. It did not. Good ideas alone do not make one wealthy. It is reasonable to assume that the Lipman Postal Card was a flop, for only a few have been found, and its inventors are all but forgotten.

History records that postcards originated in Austria in 1869. A year later they were officially issued in Great Britain with a halfpenny stamp printed in the corner. Public demand was so great police were dispatched at post offices to control crowds. By 1871, almost two million 3.5″ by 4.5″ post cards were mailed in Europe each week. In 1894, mailing a card with an adhesive stamp was allowed. In 1897 the card’s width was increased by an inch so that half the address side could be used for correspondence. This left the face side free to be decorated by photographs and early artistic prints called “chromolithographs.” Within three years, sending and collecting “picture postcards” was the craze in England and other parts of Europe. By 1905 card collecting had reached comparable proportions in the United States. The glory years of the picture post card continued until W.W.I. In recent years, the hobby has returned stronger than ever.

Although US postal regulations first allowed postcards in 1872, most found today date after 1910. The amount of postage can help date an American mailed card. Cards mailed from 1872-1958 cost 1 or 2 cents. In 1959, the rate went up to 3 cents, and continuing climbing thereafter. As with most antique categories, age is only one factor in evaluating old post cards. Other considerations are condition, artistic quality, manufacturer, and probably most important of all-subject matter.

Suppose you’re one of the first ones in at a tag sale. You have twenty-five dollars in your pocket. The place is all junk except for a banana box with a sign on it reading, “Old Post Cards-$5 Each!” You want to try your luck. Which ones should you choose? My first suggestion is, forget value. Buy cards that are interesting to you. Almost every town was pictured in old postcards. A historic picture of your home town, or something to do with your profession, or favorite hobby-certainly, those wall hangers would be worth five bucks. Besides something dear to you, select older cards, pre 1918 if you can find them. Then, look for cards that fit within a hot category. Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Valentines Day cards are much sought after. Greeting cards are not as valuable. An old card picturing the First Methodist Church of Cochran, Georgia is worth about fifty cents, while a post card advertising St. Andrews Golf Course might fetch a hundred dollars. More than any other antique, postcards are collected by category. Advertising, Movie Star, Aviation, Nudes, Signed artist, Dogs, Fire, African American, Political-all these subjects hold peoples’ interest. Choose old graphic cards like these, and you might just find a bargain in a banana box.

A History Of Antique Chinese Ivory

Ancient And Antique Chinese Ivory
Ancient And Antique Chinese Ivory

The use of elephant ivory can be traced back many centuries. It is a sought after material on par with gold and jade in China and used for decorative as well as religious objects. Ivory carving is one of China’s oldest art forms, examples have been found in Shang dynasty tombs. In ancient times elephants roamed the forests of the yellow river region (Huang He)

In the Zhou dynasty (1046 – 256 BC) it was fashionable for high officials to wear narrow memorandum tablets made of ivory, these were called hu and were worn as girdle pendants. By the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) these tablets had come to be a mark of rank and were required as part of formal dress. Then in the Tang dynasty (618 – 907) and the Song dynasty (960 -1279) the ivory tablets were larger and were carried by court officials as scepters.

The tablets continued to be used as a mark of high rank up until the end of the Ming dynasty in the 17th century. Then in the Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911) China’s traditional ivory carving peaked.

Beijing in the north and Guangzhou in the south were two ivory carving centers at the time. In the early Qing dynasty Guangzhou was a Chinese port which allowed in foreign trade. Foreign merchants, shipped Chinese goods from this port to other countries and brought in ivory.

Ivory carving tools and methods has changed very little right up until the end of the 19th century. Carvers used axes, adz, floats and saw to get the ivory into manageable sized pieces then he would use fretsaws and chisels and gauges to carve the piece, but by the 1900 power rotary saws and small dental type drills were introduced. By the 1950 these labour saving machine tools had seen ivory carving spread around the world.

Thankfully China’s ivory trade is now illegal and has been since December 31 2017. Today fewer Chinese people are interested in buying ivory products. A public opinion research firm found that 72% of people polled would not now buy ivory artifacts.