Authenticating an antique can be tough, especially when new teapots are designed to look like antiques. There are ways to tell if the teapot is a real antique or if it is a newer teapot that copies an older design. Classifying a teapot as an antique requires that the teapot be at least 100 years old or older. The older a teapot is, the higher the teapot is likely to appraise or be valued at, especially if it is a hard to find and rare item.
Look inside the teapot for stains or signs of use. Antique teapots will often have clear signs that the teapot has been used, especially when it is very old and made of materials that stained easily.
Flip the teapot over and look at the bottom. Some older teapots had manufacture information, including a date that the teapot was made. This is especially true of the branded teapots that are more recent antiques.
Look for cracks, chips or other signs of use and age. Older teapots, especially those made with clay, should have some minor damage. The clay teapots will have cracks and chips that can be seen easily.
Pay attention to the design of the teapot. Antiques will have less perfection, such as imperfect holes that are slightly less circular, while newer teapots which are often machine made will have more perfect shapes. This is especially important when looking at antique Chinese teapots because the antique Chinese teapots were made to look harmonious. Newer teapots do not always end up with a harmonious appearance.
Look for specific types of teapots. Teapots that are made from a specific company or a specific time period are often easier to tell when they are real and when they are not. For example, a Victorian teapot will have a very specific appearance that isn't found in vintage or new teapots.
A vintage teapot can often be mistaken for an antique. Antiques will date back at least a hundred years while a vintage teapot will be anywhere from 10 to 99 years old. A vintage teapot that is almost a hundred years old can be easily mistaken for an antique, so to avoid this problem, look for teapots that are a couple decades older than 100 years.