The Great British pastime; tea. Like most, if not all, other significant elements of British culture has been stolen from a different culture that has been doing it far longer. In the case of tea, it may have been China’s creation, but people from all around the British Isles have a tender love for it, and have done for a few centuries now.
Not all of us love tea, however, and even those who do may find that they just have too many teapots (is that really a thing?).
Let’s take a look.
It might sound a bit extreme to suggest an auction, but they’re not just for paintings you find in the attic that turn out to be worth £50 million. Yes, it’s true, you can take all sorts of bits and bobs to the auction houses to have them appraised and potentially sold off for some tidy profit.
Now I’m not saying anyone with a Russell Hobbs or other such brand should head on over to their local auction house, but if you think you might have something a bit unique or special, then go for it. Some auction houses incur a fee for assessing your item, so bear that in mind, but if it turns out you’ve been sitting on an 18th century Paul Storr silver teapot, you could be looking at thousands of pounds when it goes to auction.
To give yourself the best chance at being successful, you should closely examine your teapot from all angles. Look for any structural damage, but most of all look for any hallmarks. If you have a stoneware or ceramic piece, there might be a stamping in it somewhere, and if it’s silver or another metal, hopefully there is a hallmark on it. These markings add value because they can tell us where the item came from, who made it, and often what year it was made.
If the nearest auction house to you is too far away – as is sadly often becoming the case – then your next step can be to head online and see what the web can do for you.
When it comes to selling online, you want to be quite picky about where you sell. The question you should ask yourself is: what am I looking for? If you just want a quick sell to free up some room in your house, then something like Facebook Marketplace is fine. If you’re more interested in seeing what your teapot can go for, however, consider online auction sites like eBay, where you can let people bid for your items and likely get a higher price than just selling direct.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then you’re going to need pictures. Clean up your teapot and have it looking presentation-ready. If your teapot is made with silver, there are certain ways it needs to be cleaned to avoid damaging or tarnishing it, so make sure you know what you’re doing. Once it’s clean, it’s time to check it over for any damage or hallmarks. If you do happen to find hallmarks that are clear and legible, then take to the internet and search for them online. There are plenty of databases that cover the different kinds of hallmarks, so you’re pretty likely to come away from it knowing something more about your teapot.
Once you have all the detailed pictures and any information you find online about your teapot, you can make a listing on digital marketplaces like eBay or something similar and watch as the bets come rolling in!
Between getting it done online or in person, there are pros and cons of each. Thankfully, a lot of auction houses today are beginning to offer digital appraisals of items, realising the difficulties people are having with gaining access to them. Which method you choose is up to you, you may even come out of the experience deciding you’d rather keep your teapot!
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