Huge collection of bizarre teapots goes up for auction in North East

Auctioneer Giles Hodges with some of the teapots
Auctioneer Giles Hodges with some of the teapots -Credit:supplied picture , free to use

Rooting around an antique shop on a trip to Amsterdam, Jim Young spotted an offbeat teapot which chimed with his hobby of stock car racing.

He bought the teapot, in the shape of a work bench with tools – and it led him and wife Marion for the next 25 years on the road to an all-consuming pastime. The couple, who live in Morpeth, Northumberland, built up a collection of 1,000 unusual teapots in every size, shape and colour.

Their collection includes teapot depictions of Guy Fawkes, Rupert Bear, Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, Mrs Thatcher, the White House, a Union Jack shaped Britain shape, a pack of cards, a spaceship, a stalk-eyed alien, singer Morrissey, a dalek, Darth Vader, fish, animals looking out from Noah’s Ark, a wheel clamp, petrol pump, and a Rolls Royce car grille. Now the couple are selling up and the first 50 teapots will go on offer tomorrow at Boldon Auction Galleries.

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“It is a vast and fabulous collection and covers anything and everything,” said auctioneer Giles Hodges. Darth Vader and Morrissey are estimated at £40-£60 and a group which includes Mrs Thatcher with matching Thatcher cream jug, and also Queen Elizabeth is £30-£50.

Marion said: “We had gone to Amsterdam for a weekend break around Christmas but the weather was awful and there were a number of antique shops near the hotel. Jim raced stock cars all over England and saw the work bench teapot.”

Morrissey teapot, part of the collection of Jim and Marion Young
Morrissey teapot, part of the collection of Jim and Marion Young -Credit:Boldon Auction Galleries
A Mrs Thatcher teapot
A Mrs Thatcher teapot -Credit:supplied picture , free to use

Jim and Marion followed up their first purchase with a visit to the works of potter and teapot maker Paul Cardew, where they bought several more examples. “We met a lot of other teapot enthusiasts and that got us started. It became an obsession and we travelled all over to antique fairs.”

The couple also enjoyed social gatherings organised by the teapot community. “We met a lot of lovely people,” said Marion.

They have kept two of their favourite teapots – a Betty Boop figure and a large jug-like Lorna Bailey example. Betty Boop was a cartoon flapper girl figure who was hugely popular in the 1930s and was known as the “Queen of the Animated Screen”.

The tidal wave of teapots put pressure on space and forced Giles to sell the initial batch of 50 to free some room. The rest will be sold in future sales.