Do you have an English bone china teacup and saucer that you don’t particularly care for? Trade it in at The Quail & Thistle Tea Room and receive $5 off your tea luncheon!
At the Quail & Thistle, we pride ourselves on serving exclusively on English-made bone china. We’ve been collecting the occasional teacup and saucer for ages, usually as mementos of trips overseas.
In moving to our new larger location in Capitola, we knew we needed more table wares. Thinking back to the holiday break between Christmas and New Years, it certainly feels like we pillaged just about every antique store and mall from Turlock to Carmel. We found some good deals and significantly bolstered the ranks of our cup & saucer sets as well as teapots, but we’re still well short of the inventory levels we need to handle high volume days and / or large groups comfortably.
We’ve slowly come to the realization that there just aren’t enough days in the week for one or both of us to be out foraging for tea cups in the wilds of the antiquing world.
To address this issue, we’ve decided to do something different – we’re going to turn this problem into a “crowdsourcing” adventure:
We will pay a bounty (in the form of a discount on your meal at the tea room) for every qualified piece of English bone china that you bring to us.
For a matching teacup and saucer: $5 off your meal.
For a matching sugar bowl (with lid) and creamer: $10 off your meal.
For a large (4-6 cup) teapot with lid: $15 off your meal.
Here are the rules and details of this offer:
- This offer is only good for porcelain pieces that are clearly labeled “English bone china” in the maker’s mark on the bottom of the piece. Stoneware or earthenware are not acceptable. Unmarked pieces are not acceptable. Pieces marked only with a paper label or ink stamp are not acceptable – the maker’s mark must be under the ceramic glaze.
- Teacup and saucer sets must be in pairs and must be of a matching design and decoration. Teacups without saucers or saucers without teacups are not acceptable. (We have plenty of orphans already!)
- Sugar bowl and creamer sets must be in pairs and must be of a matching design and decoration.
- Sugar bowls must have matching lids.
- Teapots must be medium to large, holding 4 to 6 cups of liquid. We do not need “tea for one” 2 cup mini teapots.
- Teapots must have matching lids.
- In all cases, pieces must be in good usable condition, showing no structural cracks, chips, leaks, or stains. A small chip on the foot of a teacup might be acceptable, but the same chip on the lip of the teacup is not acceptable. Moderate “crazing” of ceramic glazing is usually ok.
- All pieces must be fully glazed and intended for food service in their original manufacture. No post-manufacture adornments or surface painting are acceptable due to the risk of non food- safe chemicals in the paints.
- We need teacups and teapots, not coffee cups or coffee pots. The distinction is sometimes subtle and often subjective. Teacups tend to be floral in shape; coffee cups tend to be more cylindrical. Teapots tend to be, well, “short and stout”. Coffee pots tend to be taller and thinner. If you’re not sure what you have, there’s no harm in asking!
- Teapots will be tested for leaks and heat stress before acceptance. We will fill the teapot with hot water and listen for the telltale sounds of structural cracks squeaking and plinking with heat expansion. If the pot makes too much noise as it warms up, it’s not safe to use in constant food service and dish washing. In such cases we will kindly return your teapot to you clean and dry before the end of your meal service.
- Limit one bounty redemption / discount per meal. Four friends at a table redeeming four teapots can each receive their discount for their meal.
- If you have several pieces you would like to trade in at once, we will provide you with coupons good for discounts on future meals. One person bringing four teapots for trade will receive one discount off their current meal and three coupons good for future meals.
- Discounts off the price of a meal are the only compensation we offer for the purchase of china. No cash payouts.
- Each discount coupon must be used only for one meal. No remainders carried forward. If you have a $15 discount for trading in a teapot, you’ll need to order at least a $16 meal to get the full benefit of the discount.
- Discounts are applied after tax.
- We will write up a bill of sale for each piece you redeem for a meal discount. To be perfectly clear: the teapot you trade for a meal discount stays with us when you go home.
- You will also need to sign a statement asserting that you are the rightful owner of the piece(s). If instead you are the authorized agent of the rightful owner, bring your lawyer and a note from your mother.
- We reserve the right to decline any offered piece without explanation.
Keep in mind that we are not looking for art pieces.The pieces you sell to us will be put into service in the tea room. That means they need to be tough enough to hold up to constant use, and there is always the slight risk of breakage. Please do not bring us your family heirlooms that you (or someone in your family) has a strong emotional attachment to. Keep those at home, close to the hearth and heart.
Kooky eclectic teapot designs are fun, but not what we are looking for. Have you ever tried to wash tea out of a typewriter-shaped teapot?
You may notice that nowhere in that longish list of rules is there any mention of what patterns we’re looking for. We do try to avoid text or phrases in the decoration artwork of our service ware. Other than that, the pattern/artwork doesn’t really matter. If it’s not gorgeous then it’s, shall we say… “quaint”. However, if someone presents us with a truly hideous specimen, we reserve the right to change our minds!
Well there you have it. Bounties for English Bone China! Clear out the back corners of your cupboards, garages and attics. Find those unused or unloved pieces and put them to good use – have them help support your tea passion!