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Cupboard collectables: A guide to antique bowls, mugs and cups

Cupboard collectables - A guide to antique bowls, mugs and cups


The phenomenal variety of antique bowls, mugs and cups - combined with their practical uses and easy-to-store nature - makes them extremely appealing items to collect. From deep cut-glass dishes to antique silver cups, here are the most collectable and where to find them.

Antique bowls

Back in the 14th century, Chinese potters began making blue-and-white bowls. These elegant wares evolved over time, leaving us with a wide range of sophisticated antique bowls for sale today. Antique bowls filtered through to Europe towards the end of the 16th century. Now known as kraak porcelain, these pieces value between £150 to £3,000 per piece today. As food fashions changed, so did antique bowls. It’s important to know what you’re looking for through different centuries, especially if you plan to specialise in this lucrative niche. Our porcelain identification guide will help you identify dates, makers, features and importantly, fakes.

Antique glass bowls

Antique glass bowls for sale today can date back from a century to 2,000 years ago. You’ll be hard-pressed to find the latter - most of them are so rare and expensive now that they tend to live in museums. But you will be able to find a range of antique glass bowls from the last 300 years. Coloured glass from the 1760s was very popular. Gilded with chinoiserie motifs, examples sell today for around £400. In the 1820s, pressed glass made its way from America to Britain. Most of us have spotted these distinctive commemorative pieces (decorated with anything from royal weddings to military campaigns) at market stalls and car boots up and down the country. They exchange hands for around £40.

Antique mugs and cups

The quality of antique cups and mugs can vary greatly, as can their value. Some cheap Victorian wares are so badly decorated they’re nicknamed “uglies”. They’re picked for pleasure as opposed to investment and will fetch you pounds and pence at sale. But a good loot of an antiques fair, store or market might uncover a few handsome rarities. Collectors love antique mugs with busts and figures of Queen Victoria and her many children. Keep an eye out for three-handled cups - antiques of this kind can demand higher prices. A Copeland tyg from 1900, depicting Queen Victoria as liberator of the oppressed, values between £700-£800. Coronation mugs from this era designed by Dame Laura Knight and Eric Ravilious are also highly popular.

Antique silver mugs and cups

Our ancestors loved a good drink. Antique silver mugs (those with a handle but no lid) were not only used to serve tea and coffee, but also ale, cider, beer, wine and spirits. Those dating back to the mid-18th century are often baluster-shaped. In good condition, silver examples value at up to £500, while those in Old Sheffield plate fetch £70-£100. Smaller antique silver cups for women and children cost less.

Where to buy antique bowls, mugs and cups

Many antique bowls, cups, mugs and other serving and drinking vessels have survived today. They’re plentiful and full of unique appeal. Serious treasure hunters may find a “sleeper” in charity shops, car boots and flea markets - items like Royal Doulton mugs can be picked up for a few pounds.

For reassurance you’re investing in a bonafide antique, always go to a professional dealer. From commemorative antique cups to 19th-century ceramic bowls, our collection is always a thrill for collectors and dealers alike. We also have a fascinating range of genuine, quality antique glass bowls for sale at Hemswell Antiques Centres - have a joyful browse here or find more enticing examples at our historic Lincoln base.

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