How to Collect Vintage Tea Cups & Saucers

cup with saucer image by Sergo from

If you are considering starting an antique collection, a tea cup and saucer collection is a good route to go. Tea cups and saucers have been around for hundreds of years and are found in many types of materials, so there are plenty of different items to collect.

And they can range in price from a few dollars at an antique store all the way into the thousands of dollars for rare sets. Whether you plan to casually collect or to aggressively hunt down specific pieces, you will need to do some research before you begin.

Childs Tea Cup image by Keith Biros from

Determine what you want to collect. Perhaps you are attracted to tea cups and saucers from a specific era. Maybe you find certain artist appealing. Maybe you just want a collection of cups you find beautiful. Begin with some research and figure out exactly what you'd like to purchase.

Research specific items to look out for. You can't start your collection until you know what you are looking for, so search the web and read books on tea cups and saucers. Learn which items are the most common and which ones are harder to find. This way if you are lucky enough to stumble across a rare find, you'll know to snatch it up right away.

Start your search. While you can go online and simply purchase exactly what you'd like, searching for the items is much more exciting. Go to yard sales, auctions, and antique stores to find many vintage tea cup and saucer sets. If you find only one item from a set, don't be afraid to just buy that. If you buy the tea cup when you have the chance, you might find the matching saucer later.

Yellow and green shelves image by Charlie Rosenberg from

Carefully display your collection. Since tea cups are often made of bone china or porcelain, you'll want to keep them in a safe place where they won't break. If you have young children in your home, keep your collection out of reach. Also be sure to keep the collection out of direct sunlight, as it might fade any paint on the cups and saucers over time.

Check the newspaper or web to find an antiques collectors group. If there isn't one in your area, consider starting one. Not only do these groups help you meet other collectors, but you also might find rare items you would not find elsewhere. If you have a duplicate cup and saucer set you might be able to trade it with another member for a set you don't have. A collectors' group is an invaluable resource for a collector.

Care for your collection. Antiques require proper upkeep in order to prevent them from being damaged. Dust your collection regularly and give the cups and saucers a gentle wash twice a year. Never wash antique china in the dishwasher, as this may damage it.