THERE was high drama at the Mackworth Hotel, Derbyshire on April 15 when a creamware teapot and cover carrying a telling political message sold for £69,000.
Charles Hanson of Hansons had found the 5in (12cm) high No
Stamp Act teapot in a box of bric-a-brac at a home near Sutton
Against a vibrant orange ground punctuated by floral and
geometric motifs, it was inscribed in puce Success to Trade in
America and to the reverse in similar script No Stamp
Act. These phrases are associated with the tax on all printed
materials imposed on the colonies in March 1765, a hated levy that
set in motion the course of events that led to the American
The teapot was probably made shortly after the repeal of the
Stamp Act in March 1766 and illustrates how important trade with
the American colonies was to British industry.
It is one of a small handful of surviving No Stamp Act
teapots that have become icons of American collecting. The other
four known are also in creamware but relatively plain in
One restored example inscribed in black No Stamp Act
and America: Liberty Restored was acquired by The National
Museum of American History at Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, New
Hampshire in October 2006 for $85,000.
Another with the same inscription in iron red within floral
wreaths, also badly damaged, sold to dealer Todd Prickett for
$130,000 at Pook & Pook of Downington, Pennsylvania in April
The other published examples are in the DeWitt Wallace
Decorative Arts Museum at Colonial Williamsburg, and in the Peabody
This latest discovery from Sutton Coldfield is arguably the most
extraordinary of the group, not least for its chintz 'fossil'
ground decoration that has few comparables. It was also in
relatively good condition with only a horizontal hair crack and
chips to the extremities.
Charles Hanson - who had shocked his vendor before the sale when
suggesting it might be worth up to £2000 (the published estimate
was just £400-600) - fielded bids from English dealers before it
sold to a bidder from California on the telephone.
The buyers premium was 15 per cent.
By Roland Arkell