FRENCH LICK SPRINGS, Ind. – Over 250 Tea Leaf china collectors from across the United States and Canada attended the 22nd annual convention of the Tea Leaf Club International in last month.
This group of enthusiastic collectors and researchers of 19th century ironstone china decorated with the copper lustre Tea Leaf motif gathers each September to buy, sell, and share information.
At the blitz sale of “battered beauties,” pieces of Tea Leaf ironstone and related copper lustre ware offered at prices of under $40.
And collectors brought their best for a “Rare and Unusual” show and tell program.
Speakers included Bev and Ernie Dieringer, authorities on Victorian white ironstone as well as lustre-decorated wares, who talked about the production of ironstone plates. They have recently published “White Ironstone China Plate Identification Guide 1840-1890.”
John Chrisman presented “Glorious Gravies,” a visual guide to the many forms of gravy boats found with Tea Leaf decoration.
Annual auction. The major event of the annual meeting is the Saturday auction, this year divided into afternoon and after dinner sessions.
By the evening’s end $47,050 worth of Tea Leaf and related variants had been auctioned.
Some of the notable pieces which sold included: a Shaw Bordered Fuchsia Tea Leaf teapot, $700; a Shaw Chinese Tea Leaf posset cup, $325; a Portland Morning Glory three-piece butter dish, $875 and a Elsmore & Forster Ceres gravy boat with heavy copper lustre trim, $450.
The convention concluded with the annual table sales where a roomful of Tea Leaf was offered by collectors and dealers. Details on Tea Leaf Club membership are available by writing: Maxine Johnson, P.O. Box 377, Belton, MO 64012 or visit the club Web site at http://www.tealeafclub.com.