Hecworth – Australian Silver Elegance

This weeks post is dedicated to just one purchase from yesterdays boot sale.  I swooped in and bagged this beautiful set seconds before an Antiques dealer who I regularly see on a Sunday morning.  I found out when I got home why he didn’t look best pleased !

One of the most enjoyable parts of my boot sale treasure after buying it, is researching it on google.  Sometimes its really straightforward to find dates, manufacturer etc and sometimes it takes a bit of digging.  The seller told me that this was a Hecworth Tea and coffee set from Australia.   Which I must admit I thought didn’t seem likely, it looks so classically English !  He was right.  There was no Hecworth on the UK sites anywhere and all the google ebay links lead to Australian Ebay.  There was a similar set selling on Australian Ebay but it was in appalling condition.  Mine as you can see is totally mint, a few small scratches on one of the pots but apart from that it doesn’t even look as if it has ever been used.

I did a bit more digging and then came up with a webpage from a museum in Australia with this picture and information !

Statement of significance

This tea service is from the collection of silver and EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) tableware, trophies, napkin rings and spoons made and/or used in Australia between the 1890s and 1950s. Presented to the Museum in 2002, the collection was assembled in the 1980s and 1990s by Professor G W Kenneth Cavill, an Emeritus Professor of the University of New South Wales. In his retirement, Professor Cavill has researched and published the histories of notable early 20th century Australian silverware manufacturers. The collection is representative of their products and includes many rare objects. It was put together to both document and preserve examples of the golden era for the production of domestic silverware in Australia. Rare manufacturers’ catalogues of the 1920s and 1930s that complete the collection, show the extensive range of products then available

The hollowware represented in the collection was made in electroplated nickel silver (EPNS) and reproduction Sheffield plate (electroplated silver on copper). Finely made and modestly priced, Australian silverware competed strongly with imported goods. Since the 1950s, table silverware has largely given way to stainless steel. Souvenir and giftware such as spoons and napkin rings are particularly well represented.

Napkin rings made in Australia are comparable in quality to British wares of the same period – a similarity the donor notes is largely due to supervisors being recruited from Birmingham or London. Whilst simple napkin rings were within the capabilities of an apprentice, elaborate ones required much expertise. Reflecting this range, the collection encompasses a wide range of styles from Arts and Crafts to Art Deco and in techniques that include engraving by hand and machine, stamping, and fretwork.


Tea and coffee service, consisting of tea pot, water jug, coffee pot, creamer and sugar bowl, silver plate on copper, ‘Hecworth’ Plate made by Platers Pty Ltd, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia, 1940 – 1945

A five piece matching tea and coffee service made of silver electroplated copper. The tea pot is rectangular in shape, has a short pedestal foot, a concave top and hinged stepped lid with Bakelite finial. The ‘s’ shaped spout extends from low on the body to beyond shoulder and attached to opposite side is a black Bakelite square-topped handle. The water pot and coffee pots are rectangular in shape with high slightly flaring sides, short pedestal feet, concave tops and hinged stepped lids with Bakelite finials. The ‘s’ shaped spouts extend from low on the body to beyond shoulder and attached to opposite side is a black Bakelite square-topped handle. The creamer and sugar bowls are rectangular in shape with open tops, short pedestal fee and square-topped silver handles. A ‘rope’ patterned border decorated rims of foot and shoulder on all pieces. All are marked on base.

Made: Platers Pty Ltd; St Kilda, Victoria; 1940 – 1945



The Registration Number of an object is a unique identifying number applied by the museum at the point of acquisition. Current numbering format comprises the year of acquisition, followed by a sequential number. For example, ‘2007/45’ is the Registration Number that represents the 45th acquisition in the year 2007. Registration number


Production date

1940 – 1945

I’d love to know how it came to be in the UK, so wish I had asked some questions of the seller at the boot sale.  I can’t find any reference to value and the museum has no email address.  What do you think, valuable ?

Please pop over and see what the other MagpieMonday ladies have collected this week.

Linking upto http://herlibraryadventures.blogspot.com/2011/11/flea-market-find-of-year.html



  1. Annarack
    August 8, 2011 / 9:21 am

    This set is so beautiful, were they a bargain? I wonder how much they are worth too. If they have Bakelite handles they are worth quite a lot.

  2. Karen Jones
    August 8, 2011 / 9:31 am

    Thank you Annarack, yes they were a bargain. I was really surprised at what the man wanted for them, especially as he seemed so knowledgeable about them. Yes, I am sure they do have bakelite handles. I would love to be able to get a valuation on them. Might have to dig deeper.Can't tell you what I paid for them as I am hoping to sell them on xx

  3. Jane
    August 8, 2011 / 11:02 am

    Valuable or not they are lurvvely 😉

  4. Karen Jones
    August 8, 2011 / 11:11 am

    Thank you Jane, they certainly are. Trouble is I have tooo much lovely stuff, need to get selling it : ) xx

  5. KatGotTheCream
    August 8, 2011 / 11:30 am

    Wow, amazing, what a find. Always quite nice to get one over on the dealers every now and then 😉

  6. missielizzie
    August 8, 2011 / 12:14 pm

    Oh me oh my! That is just stunning. Every week I am staggered by your finds. I love it! Let me know where/when you hope to sell it – I might be interested!

  7. Karen Jones
    August 8, 2011 / 12:29 pm

    Kat it soo was, his face was a picture. I might go into his shop (I know where he works) and ask for a valuation : )

  8. dogsmom
    August 8, 2011 / 2:38 pm

    Going into his shop for a valuation takes nerve!Love it.Perhaps next time you are at the car boot you can find the seller and ask more questions.How exciting that you found out as much detailed information as you did.

  9. Karen Jones
    August 8, 2011 / 3:34 pm

    Liz, thank you. Trying hard to find a rough value so that I can put it up for sale, will let you know xx

  10. Karen Jones
    August 8, 2011 / 3:35 pm

    Dogsmom, LOL don't know about nerve maybe fool hardy ? Doubt I would recognise the seller if he was there again, I was too busy looking at the set to look much at him and was so keen to hand over my money before he changed his mind ! xx

  11. Frankie P
    August 8, 2011 / 3:48 pm

    that set is simply stunning, gorgeous.. what a thing to pick up at a carboot sale…

  12. Karen Jones
    August 8, 2011 / 3:55 pm

    Frankie P many thanks for stopping by. I think the one I go to in Exeter might just be one of the last places in the UK where you can actually find real bargains still. I get fab stuff every week. Mind you I am there at 6.30 am !!! xx

  13. icklebabe_com
    August 8, 2011 / 3:56 pm

    Wow what a find! You have some kind of midus touch at this Karen ! Jelous! 😉 xx

  14. Jem
    August 8, 2011 / 5:14 pm

    Even if not valuable – definitely beautiful! Love the stunning lines and I'm so pleased you got in there quickly before the dealer swooped, I've only managed that once or twice but it is incredibly satisfying! 🙂 Jem xXx

  15. ChrisTea And Cakes
    August 10, 2011 / 7:34 pm

    Even if it turns out not to be worth millions it's a gorgeous set! x

  16. Karen Jones
    August 10, 2011 / 7:41 pm

    Thanks for the comments ladies, when I said in the last sentence do people think its "valuable". It wasn't meant to mean that I thought I had a thousand pound set on my hands, I know its value lies in it beauty and I know what I paid for it. I just wanted some guidelines to value and probably worded it wrong.Feel horrible now for some of the negative connotations on twitter x

  17. Jenifir
    November 12, 2011 / 9:12 pm

    Wow, what a find. Lots of English things wind up in the 'colonies' but I did not know it could go the other way. Have you found any vintage Canadian pieces?

  18. zigsma
    November 13, 2011 / 1:51 am

    Gosh, it's just beautiful. Lucky you!

  19. Greg Coggiola
    August 9, 2015 / 5:47 am

    Hi Karen, I live down under and just came across your website while doing some research. Please don't mention anything about the cricket!Anyway I was interested to note that your article above tells the story of the exact same set (museum Photo) that I am about to list on Ebay. I would love to get an idea of what you eventually sold your set for? I assume you have sold it by now considering this article is 4 years old ?I'm selling it on behalf of my in-laws and want to make sure I get an appropriate price for it. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • karen jones
      August 9, 2015 / 1:31 pm

      Hi Greg,Cricket ? what cricket ? ha! bless xxHow wonderful that you have the same set. I have to say though, in the end I didn't sell the set because I couldn't get a proper valuation for it and loved it too much ! It resides in my house to this day. I couldn't bear to part with it in case I under valued it. I would be interested to hear what your thoughts are.I did put it on Etsy for a short while for about £150 if I remember correctly but was always nervous about the price, so decided to remove it.I have never been able to find anybody else selling anything similar.So sorry I couldn't be more helpful.Kind regardsKare

  20. Mike Illingworth
    March 23, 2016 / 3:37 pm

    Hi Karen Thanks for the very interesting information on your site. It's now March 2016 so I hope my message still gets through to you!I have just inherited my parents' Hecworth Reproduction Old Sheffield 5 piece set that's just like the one in your second photo above, but it also includes the matching (and quite ornate) silver plated tray by Hecworth. I am not going to sell it however it needs a good polish. I am told that Tableau or Nushine solutions (see Amazon) are much better than for example Goddards Long Term silver polish. Do you recommend a good polish that doesn't wear down the silver plating? With best regardsMichael

  21. BlaxInOz
    May 1, 2016 / 3:23 am

    Lol … and I today came across your page as I was also researching a Hecworth teapot I decided to keep from my mother in laws belongs. It holds so many memories, and make great tea, so is invaluable to me. But I would be keen to known a base value too, and history. I'm assuming it must be a department store purchase in Perth, Western Australia, in 1940's, pre war ???, by my husband's grandparents.Fellow Aussie commentators above, would you be able to gestimate what's your items were bought from too?

I'd love your comment