Hello! I found some antique mortar and pestles in my attic.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Shawna Pope, Sep 4, 2023.

  1. Shawna Pope

    Shawna Pope New Member

    I found these antique mortar and pestles in the attic of my Victorian. Any idea how to date them or determine their value?

    Attached Files:

    wlwhittier likes this.
  2. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Shawna-1.Take pics of each w/ your phone 2. Paste pics onto the Google Lens icon on your phone/laptop 3.You'll get a series of photos similar to yrs w/captions (prob not exact). With the pics/descriptions-you'll be able to enter your own search terms & begin evaluating what you've got.
    There's more elaborate ways to do it,but this should be a decent start.
    PS-Definitely keep prowling around that house for goodies,nice !
    PSS- May I ask,are you in the US or overseas ?
    Shawna Pope likes this.
  3. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Welcome Shawna.
    They look like cast brass to me, rather than bronze. The footed one could be Indian, and not antique.
    Tagging mortar and pestle aficionado @Shangas .

    People will want more photos, also of the insides and bases. We don't do values here, but with the information given you can find similar ones with sold prices.

    komokwa, judy and Shawna Pope like this.
  4. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    The footed one and the largest one, do not look particularly old. The larger one looks almost machine-made. The lines and angles look very crisp and sharp and flat...if it was handmade and spun on a lathe, for example, I doubt it'd be that precise. The pestles look really clean-cut.

    On top of that, I don't see any signs of wear or use. I've been collecting brass mortar-and-pestle sets for a while now, and every genuinely antique one I've seen WILL show signs of wear and use - it's metal-on-metal, it's going to leave marks, gouges, dents, dings, etc...I don't see any of that there.

    The middle-sized one looks to have some age and wear to it. That may be a genuine antique, but without seeing more photos, I couldn't be sure.

    One way to know whether your piece is an antique or not, is to search for marks. Sizing-numbers, manufacturer's stamps, etc. Reproductions won't bother with details like these, because they're not important, but when antiques were new, these were practical, everyday items, and it was important, for example, to know what, or by whom, the set was made, and how large it is, and so-on.

    Checking the base is also a good way of finding out. A genuinely antique brass mortar and pestle set will have been dragged, dropped, clunked and banged around just from being used for the last 50, 100, 150, 200 years...and the base will be full of that kind of evidence. I've never seen a genuine antique brass M&P set which didn't have a base that looked like a battleground.
  5. Shawna Pope

    Shawna Pope New Member

    Thank you all so much! I will post more pics later. These were owned by a doctor who lived in my house and practiced from the 1930s to the 1970s. His office was the room my office is now in and he practiced at a psych. hospital. We bought the house from his daughter.
  6. wlwhittier

    wlwhittier Well-Known Member

    Apothecary tools, I'm thinking...
  7. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    or just a collection of such items........
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