Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tea Anyone?

When I was at Auckland Museum earlier this year, I gasped at their stunning collection of Royal DoultonMaori Ware.’ It’s a rare find these days and you pay a premium price for it. So when I was at a tiny antique store in ‘the back of beyond’ last week – actually Le Bons Bay on Banks Peninsular – my mouth fell open when I saw a cup and saucer set tucked into the rear of a glass cabinet. The owners let me photograph it and here it is. Beautiful! Apparently you can now pay up to $600 for a perfect cup and saucer set. British-based Royal Doulton produced a number of New Zealand-themed porcelain series including the Kia Ora stoneware (1907), this Maori Art Teaware (1907) and a New Zealand International Exhibition series (1906). Maori Ware features this red, black and white kowhaiwhai design (based on the koru) and included cups, saucers and plates. It remained in production until 1923. The antique shop owners told me they are lucky to find one or two cup and saucer sets a year now, hence the staggeringly high price you pay for the pleasure of owning a set.

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