I was given a pewter mug as a leaving present many years ago; I can't even remember the occasion. But it kindled an interest that means I now own many, many assorted mugs and jugs, heaven forbid, made of pot, pewter, EPNS, leather, wood or copper. (I would have many more but my DIY skills are both infamous and legendary. Hence shelves fall with regular monotony, taking their contents to a noisy, earsplitting end.)
Many of these prizes were bought at car boots, value, not much but some having a sentimental value beyond mere monetary considerations. Thus you remember a large car boot at Ripon Racecourse on a hot day and the bitterly cold wind at a similar, much smaller event at Beadnell.. An indoor cattle market at Hexham; a market stall in Nuneaton, a craft fair in Bakewell and so on ad infinitum. From twenty pence to twenty pounds, treasures carted home and lovingly displayed. Often an education in themselves if only you take the time to examine them closely.
Commemorative offerings are commonplace but always of interest. 'Burton Albion, FA Challenge Finalists at Wembley, May 9th, 1987.' a pot reminder of coming second; who was it whose song included the words, 'nearly there'.
A large pewter mug with the inscription 'T G Grawstorne, 2nd in the Junior Steeplechase, Eton, 1895. One hell of a prize, I wonder what you got for coming first!
Mugs commemorating the Silver Jubilee of the Derbyshire Fire Service in 1973 and the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. (Plus sad reminders of Charles and Diana's wedding, 29th July, 1981.)I'm not surprised I have a mug issued by 'The Beer Swillers Union', less sure why a mug with the inscription 'Temperance Union' is in my possession.'
Some jugs and mugs bring back memories of companies lost but not forgotten: Bass, Flowers, 'E', Ind Coope, Stones. Plus items made by firms whose products have stood the test of time. Elaborate Irish Wade, made for display only and plain but far more functional Pearson Pottery stoneware; Gibsons and Arthur Wood. Empire Porcelain and Lord Nelson Pottery. Pewter made by James Yates and Gaskill and Chambers, plus much to my surprise, two ancient mug with the simple inscription 'Made in China'. So what's new. Super mugs, though you would be ill advised to drink from them. The pewter has a high percentage of lead and the bases are one hundred per cent lead. What was the life span of the average Chinese person a hundred years ago!
Many Edwardian mugs commemorate our British heritage. Pictures of famous hostelries adorn many a mug; The Old Coach House, Stratford and The Great White Horse, Ipswich are two in point. Scenes from Charles Dickens are frequently shown, 'Master Bates Explains a Point' for example.
In the main Edwardians were fairly serious as to what they chose to display on their sideboards. Some mugs are humorous but lighthearted and very inoffensive. I am unsure as to the exact date of the mugs that depict 'The Motorists Prayer' and 'The Gamblers Prayer' are likely to be later. A mug very reminiscent of saucy seaside postcards depicts a working class couple outside the Law Courts looking embarrassed by the sign pointing to 'Queen Anne's Chamber'. Very risque but not as rude as the mug showing a young lady with a movable chest with the inscription 'Let Them Swing'. Perhaps funny, perhaps not but quality wise not in the same league as earlier examples I have on display. Which suggests that sadly quality is often though not always a thing of the past.
Then there are the puzzling items that test your research skills. For instance, the pewter mug with the inscription, EGW 1918-1939. To what does it refer? Ancient copper mugs with the stamped 'The Wheatsheaf'. Which Wheatsheaf, there must be thousands. The mug with the flag and the name 'Orsova' is obviously concerning a ship, but why, were they given away or bought as souvenirs. And the mug inscribed 'The Viner Cup, 1966, who why and where I wonder. Plus what happened to poor old Bill. I have his pint pot inscribed simply 'To Bill from the Lads.'
We all have our foibles, I'll bet I'm not the only hoarder come collector in the blogging community. What do you collect, in fact what's your 'bestest', favourite possession?