George III Silver Tea Caddy


Stock: 9034

Date: 1789

Maker: William Abdy

Country: England

A good quality George III sterling silver caddy of plain rectangular design with canted corners. The lift off cap doubles...

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A good quality George III sterling silver caddy of plain rectangular design with canted corners. The lift off cap doubles as a tea measure. Hand engraved to one side with a crest, to the other there is a decorative monogram.

Weight 152 grams, 4.9 troy ounces.

Height 10 cms. Base 6.1 x 4.5 cms.

London 1789.

Maker John Farnell.

Literature. A Tea Caddy is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea. The word is believed to be derived from “catty”, the Chinese pound, equal to about a pound and a third avoirdupois. The earliest examples that came to Europe were Chinese tea canisters in blue and white porcelain with china lids or stoppers.

Tea in the early 18th Century was expensive, and also there was a tax on tea. so early tea caddies were small and made in precious materials such as silver, shagreen or tortoiseshell which reflected the valuable contents within.

Some of the earliest silver examples have sliding bases (or tops) and the cap was used for measuring the tea. By the mid eighteenth century matching sets were available, with two caddies (for green and black tea) and a sugar bowl, all fitted into a wooden or shagreen case, often with silver mounts. During the late 1700’s the locking silver tea caddy was introduced with its own key which the lady of the house kept on the chatelaine around her waist. Double locking tea caddies in silver are rare.


This lovely antique silver tea box is in very good condition. All original and in good working order. Stamped with a full set of English silver marks around the collar (makers mark rubbed), the cap is part marked. The makers marks are not fully visible but are likely to be for William Abdy. Minor dinks.

Maker Information

Maker: William Abdy

William Abdy I, London silversmith, free by redemption 1752. Livery 1763. 1st mark as smallworker 1763. 2nd & 3rd marks 1767, 4th & 5th marks 1769. 6th mark (2 sizes, 1779. 7th mark as plateworker 1784. Died 1790. His son William Abdy II, free by patrimony, entered his 1st mark in 1790 shortly after his father’s death. 2nd mark (2 sizes) 1790. Moved to Wilson St, Finsbury in 1821. Livery 1791-1823.

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