Saturday, January 1, 2011

Aunt Hattie's Sucrier

For several generations, what we’ve always called Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Bowl has been in my family. Aunt Hattie was my father’s aunt, his mother’s (my grandmother’s) sister. I have no clue as to how or when she obtained the bowl, or for that matter, how my parents came to possess it. At any rate, it languished, well-wrapped and seldom used, for many years. It is quite lovely, Aunt Hattie’s sugar bowl, with an attractive design and a lovely contour marked by two curved handles. The best way to describe it is exquisite. When I hosted my mother and father’s 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries, Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Bowl graced the reception table. A few years ago, a friend who is an antique dealer agreed to check out its history. The only identifier were the words on the bottom of the sugar bowl: “T&R Boote Waterloo Potteries Burslem Staffordshire England Makers to Queen Victoria”. My friend learned that T&R Boote’s Waterloo Potteries had closed in 1906, after which they made only ceramic tiles, so the piece may have dated back to around 1900, perhaps even earlier.

Awhile back I came across a website of a company which, for a nominal fee, appraises antiques online. I decided to go for it, and e-mailed a photo of the sugar bowl along with the written information. Before long, I had my answer:

"Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Bowl" is actually a T&R Boote Limited Waterloo Pottery Sucrier. Its date is Circa 1900. It seems T&R Boote Ltd was founded in Burslem, Staffordshire in the 1840s and this is a typical example of their wares from around 1900. This type of tea ware was produced in large quantities and so individual pieces are inexpensive at auction.

Its value? $10-$20

So—part of the mystery is solved! I still have no idea where or when my great-aunt, who I remember as being very kind to me when I was young, came to own the sucrier. But at least I know that it was one of probably a million such pieces, and therefore of little monetary value. I could shrug and say “it figures”, but value aside, this sucrier remains a family treasure I don’t intend to part with, and probably wouldn’t have even if its worth were considerably higher. I’ll keep it safe, and who knows? Perhaps one day my children will use it at their parents’ 50th anniversary. I’m glad I had the appraisal done, because it clarified what I think I’ve always known--the real value of Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Bowl is far more than monetary!

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