Antiques Roadshow guest gobsmacked over miniature tea set valuation My goodness!

Antiques Roadshow: Guests stunned by value of silver tea set

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The owner of a miniature silver tea set brought her family heirloom on the Antiques Roadshow to be valued by collectables expert Gordon Foster. The set, which instantly caught Gordon’s eye, dated back to the 1740s and was in “remarkable” condition. Following a closer inspection, his guest was left speechless when he informed her just how much it could sell for. 

The delicate tea service collection was presented to Gordon on a recent episode of the popular BBC One programme by a guest. 

After inspecting the heirloom he said: “You’ve brought a wonderful silver tea service, but it’s a tea service with a bit of a difference because it’s a tea service in miniature. 

“It’s known as a doll’s house tea service and we have this wonderful set of spoons, a teapot and a cream jug.”

Intrigued to know where the set came from, he asked his guest if she could explain how it came into her family. 

The guest replied: “It certainly belonged to my grandmother born in 1883.

“But I think it may have belonged to my great-great-grandmother who was born in 1853.”

Gordon took a closer look at the item and told her: “The thing for me that’s so lovely about it is it’s so complete. 

“Often you’ll see single pieces like the cream jug or perhaps a single teapot, but to get a complete set is actually quite rare. 

“Toy-making like this was very popular in the late 18th Century.” 

The guest interjected: “And were they made as toys or [something else]?”

Gordon explained silver crockery sets of that size were made as toys and the Dutch were very keen on making them.

The guest said she believed there was an engraved image behind the spoons that looked like Holland. 

Gordon praised her for being “absolutely right” as the tea set was in fact Dutch. 

“Now with Dutch silver, you do get them from the 1800s, but yours is earlier than that,” he added. 

“Yours is one of the first periods that they were made so it’s a great joy to see it.”

He informed her the set, which included two silver teapots, a cream jug and six tea bowls and sauces, dated back to the 1740s.

The guest added: “Of course you drank from a bowl, not a cup didn’t you in that period?”

The “greatest joy” of the set for Gordon was the exquisite spoon rack which included a full set of six silver spoons. 

“It’s an extraordinary thing to have the six silver spoons on the rack, it’s just wonderful,” the expert added.  

The guest explained she’d always known them to be placed on a glass table that she was never allowed to touch over the decades. 

The expert quipped: “Well that’s why they’ve been so well-preserved then because they are in a remarkable condition.

He added: “It’s a very desirable set. Collectively as a tea service you are looking at an auction estimate of between £3,000 and £5,000.

The gobsmacked guest remarked: “Oh my goodness me, for that tiny [set]?”

He explained: “They are tiny, yes, but that’s the joy of them and that’s the wonder of them.”

Antiques Roadshow episodes are available on BBC iPlayer. 

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