Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When is "Patina" is Simply Damaged Goods?

 I purchased the teapot below online.  The dealers photo and description are shown below.
Fancy and beautiful teapot, very old. This is a Antique Silver Teapot that is quadruple plated. Made by the famous Frances Poole, it is marked Poole and has the number 932 stamped on its bottom, also stamped is: made in Tauton, Ma. In wonderful condition it has not been polished in years and has a patina to die for! Great for a farmhouse style collector. The size is about 10" tall and is about 10" wide. Opens and closes well, the inside is a bright silver color, no dents, just a fantastic find.

Nowhere does it say "Under the "patina," there is no silver. It does say that it's quadruple plated {which is stamped on the bottom} but nowhere does it say that this piece is mostly base metal. The photos below were taken after I carefully removed the tarnish using MAAS metal polish {recommened by all of the vintage silver and silverplate dealers at Renningers.} 

The wear is is places not generally subject to wear, so I suspect the plate was removed using improper cleaning methods. If anyone has any other ideas, please comment and share them with me.

It photographs well and could be used as a photo prop but I still feel mislead. The seller refunded about 40% of the purchase price to me. She says she lost money. I did do as I paid more than I normally would due to the Poole brand and didn't get what I paid for.

The take-away message here is to look for dealers who know their product {this seller does not know silverplate} and to be suspicious of all claims of "patina." I know I will. Sometimes "patina" is simply "damaged goods." Lesson learned.

I do want to add that other than this one experience, some online sellers have exceeded my expectations more often that not. I heartily recomment "Vintage Heiress," "Truck Gypsies" and "Saltbox Teasures" Etsy shops.  I will simply be more aware in the future that "patina" means different things to different people when buying online.

Please note that the seller of this piece will remain unnamed. We worked it out and she changed the descriptions of the few companion pieces she has on her site.


  1. BTW, there is a small dent on the handle but was not immediately observable until I was cleaning it. So I'll give the seller a pass on that one.

  2. Amazing piece of Sterling Silver Tea Pot! One can also use it as special gift for his loved one but, it requires specific care to keep it clean and polished to the reflective, high shine that makes it so well-loved. Thanks for sharing with us.