The inscription reads Concordia Res Parvae Crescunt 1728.
The design is copied from one side of a silver coin (the ducatoon) issued by the company in 1728 for use in the Far East. So faithfully did the Chinese artist follow his brief that even the ribbed milling of the coin is imitated in the rim of the saucer and the mouth rim of the teapot and cover.
The service is thought to have been commissioned by the VOC to mark the launch of the new coinage and may have been used by its employees at various official bases throughout the Far East.
Several pieces reside in key museum and private collections and occasionally they come to auction. A cup and saucer of this design was sold at Christie’s New York in 2012 as part of the Frellinghuysen collection of Chinese export porcelain for $9500.
This teapot, cover and stand were from an old Western private collection and offered as part of the Asian art sale at Bonhams Knightsbridge (28/27/21/14.5% buyer’s premium) on May 15.
Guided at £1500-2000, they took £10,000.