Tea Tips

A long­time col­lec­tor shares her ad­vice.

Country Woman - - KEEP IT - BY SANDY ERDMAN WINONA, MIN­NESOTA Sandy Erdman is a mem­ber of the Coun­try Woman Cir­cle of Friends, as well as a writer and cer­ti­fied ap­praiser.

I started col­lect­ing teacups around 1976, and in the decades since, I’ve amassed hun­dreds. I dis­play some of them in my china hutch in my liv­ing room, but most are packed away in marked bins.

Thrift shops are al­ways my first stop when look­ing to buy. I also check out flea mar­kets, garage and es­tate sales, coun­try auc­tions and an­tique shops. There are web­sites that have new and used teacups for sale that may be of in­ter­est, but I like to run my hand over the rim of a cup to check for chips or cracks, so I tend to be cau­tious with on­line pur­chases.

De­cide on a bud­get be­fore you get started col­lect­ing. I usu­ally won’t spend more than $25, and I’ve paid as lit­tle as 10 cents. My col­lec­tion is more of a hobby that can be as ex­pen­sive as I al­low it. Some­times it’s just the thrill of the hunt.

I use some of my pieces for spe­cial oc­ca­sions, like birthdays, so­cials with friends or when I do a work­shop. Look­ing at my col­lec­tion, I some­times won­der who owned the pieces be­fore me. What con­ver­sa­tions have my teacups overheard? If only we could read it in the tea leaves.

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