News — History

Mysteries in history

Mysteries in history

Sometimes going through cups give you interesting facts that is not apparent. Unfortunately, unless one digs into the archives, sometimes very little can come in the way of confirmation of these information, so the results remain piecemeal. The existence of some of these items, however, do tell us that something happened or some unit existed - even when we thought it might not be the case!

An example of this is this cup

It very specifically tells us is for a military exercise in training transport units to ford rivers. It's unfortunate that there is no...

Rarity: Provenance

Rarity: Provenance

The final component of an item's rarity, as with all collectible things, is its provenance. This comes in two forms. For example, a random helmet isn't going to be worth that much - they're pretty common. A helmet claimed to have been found on an important and historic battlefield (with proof) is probably worth somewhat more. A helmet worn by someone famous on that battlefield is going to be worth even more. Just like art pieces owned by famous people or that were publicized in some ways tend to be worth more, military commemorative items like the ones you see...

Rarity: Decoration

The second part of an item's rarity, and in this case probably the most eye-catching one, is the decoration on the commemorative item.

Now it's probably best to start with the most basic - the flags and star theme. It's pretty clear that on their own, the flags and star are not rare at all - there are lots, and lots, and lots of cups with a pair of flags and a star (or sometimes just a pair of flags). However, not all flags are created equal. Consider, for example, this:

And contrast it with this:

Rarity: Materials

The first element of an item's rarity has to be the material with which it's made. Quite simply, it's the stuff that the cup is made of, and roughly speaking, from rarest to least rare, I'd put them in the following order:

Aluminium, Bakelite, Silver, Silver alloy, Tin, Pewter, Metal, Wood, Porcelain

It's easy to forget now with aluminium (aluminum) being so common, but back in the day it was an expensive metal. It eventually became cheaper when Charles M. Hall discovered a new process that made it a lot easier to produce aluminium, but that took some time and...

Item attribution and production processes of cups and bottles

Item attribution and production processes of cups and bottles

Today a customer asked me about telling items apart when there's no explicit attribution to a unit. Specifically, the question was about items with horses on them with no unit name - how do you know if this was an item for a transport unit or a cavalry unit? They both use horses as a theme in their decoration. What to do?

This got me to think about what I've learned about the process of production for these cups after having looked at and handled thousands of these. As I mentioned in my last post, porcelain items were actually the most...