Miniature Teapot Made From Silver Half-Dime, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $500 - $1,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (1:57)
APPRAISER: One always hesitates to use the word unique when describing something, but, uh, I must say, I've never seen anything like it. I understand, it was made by a member of your family.
GUEST: It would have been my husband who has died-- it would have been his grandfather.
APPRAISER: So he made this miniature teapot.
APPRAISER: About when?
GUEST: It would have been about the turn of the 20th century. I even have some of the tools that it was made with. He had to make a miniature anvil, and I have even that. It was for a contest. He was part of the German-American Society, and they had contests back and forth.
APPRAISER: So the contest was to make a teapot as small as they could I guess?
GUEST: To make something unique in the metals that would win a contest.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. Now what is the significance of this half-dime?
GUEST: The whole entire piece was made just from that dime. There was nothing extra added to it.
APPRAISER: Oh, I see. So, this teapot was made out of a half-dime like this?
APPRAISER: If we look underneath, you can even see part of the design of the half-dime. This was a popular coin. Of course, nowadays, we think of them as nickels. In the 19th century, these silver half-dimes, um, were made in quite large quantities. This one dates from the 1860s. Um, I think this teapot actually works, doesn't it?
GUEST: That's what made it so unique for the contest.
APPRAISER: The top comes off. It actually pours.
GUEST: Mm-hmm. It pours, and the handle swivels.
APPRAISER: Amazing. Well, a marvelous piece of family history. It's difficult to put a fixed price on it, because it is, obviously, unique. Um, it's not the kind of thing that comes in every day. This is difficult to find a price comparison. My gut feeling, though, is that if it were to come up at auction with that fascinating history of silversmithing, it probably would sell for somewhere in the region of between $500 and $1,000.
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