Tiffany and Co Antique Sterling Silver and Other Metals Tea Caddy, NYC, NY, c. 1880

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This rare mixed metals tea caddy is in the form of a ginger jar with its rounded body and removable cover. The surface shimmers with all-over hammering and is engraved with a beautiful peony. A small copper butterfly flies next to the peony.

A large, lightly gilt, silver cricket with extended, long antennae is applied to one side as is a beautiful - and quite large - mokume butterfly to another. The cover is engraved with the Japanese symbol hidari-mitsudomoe, which incorporates the yin yang symbol and a third comma denoting a lucky spirit. In Japan, this symbol has been used as a Mon, or family crest, for millennia.

The interiors of the caddy and cover retain their original gilding. For a similar example, see Important Americana, sale 6800, Sotheby's January 19-21, 1996, Lot 538. They note that "This item is listed in Tiffany's archives as 'Tea Caddy Round Squatty.'"

Provenance: Private collection.

This delightful tea caddy is marked underneath 'TIFFANY & Co/ 4824 M 9847/ STERLING-SILVER/ -AND-/ OTHER-METALS/ 137'. It measures 4.5 inches high by 4 inches wide, weighs 8.80 troy ounces, and is in excellent antique condition.