A perennially popular sterling silver item, mugs and tankards are both an ideal gift and a real treat to use. Historically a status symbol in well-to-do houses, the tankard would be one of the most important items in what was known as ‘the plate cupboard’.
Children were often gifted with a miniature version when they were Christened, and these little cups remain a popular Christening gift today. Sizes are usually for a pint, a half pint, or a third of a pint for a child’s cup.
- Vintage pint mugs cost £400 – £600
- Check the gauge of the rim for comfort
- Consider engraving options, particularly if the area is thin
- Styles usually follow the shape and decoration of the period
- Pre 1800 examples were made in one piece and should have no side seams
Tankards and mugs fall into three main styles regarding shape: the straight-sided, the curvy baluster shape, and lidded, which is technically the difference between a tankard and a mug. In addition there are variations like ‘glass bottomed’. Lidded takards are generally larger in size, ‘child’s cups’ are more fun and typically half pint sized.
The illustration shows how styles have evolved over the centuries.