American Antique Sterling Silver Repoussé Double Tea Caddy, retailed by JE Caldwell in Philadelphia, likely made by Samuel Kirk of Baltimore, c. 1890
This is a large and stunning tea caddy with very impressive weight. It is oval in form with unusual and very attractive foliate banding applied to the top rim and bottom of the main body. Exquisite repoussé of foliate and floral relief against a stippled background encompass the caddy.
The hinge in the back and the lock in the front illustrate how rare and expensive tea was at the time. These locked containers were to deter people from pinching tea for their own use.
The domed cover has an applied finial in the form of a blossoming bud.
Fitted into the large interior is a removable plate which is very uncommon. This allows the option to serve two types of tea from one container. Many mid-Atlantic tea services have two tea pots, one for 'China' tea and the other for 'India' tea. This caddy would compliment that type of service well.
This rare tea caddy is marked 'STERLING' and by the famous Philadelphia retailer 'J. E. CALDWELL'. It measures 6.25 inches long by 4.24 inches wide by 5.25 inches high, weighs 24.55 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition. There is a later inscription underneath: 'Margaret/ from Mother/ 1936'.