How Can I Find the Value of a Satsuma Japanese Tea Set?

The value of a Satsuma Japanese tea set can be determined by visiting online collector and retail venues. As of 2014, a set is valued between $150 and $175 although it often sells on auction websites for about $100. An insured set has a replacement value of $150 to $200. Genuine Satsuma Japanese tea sets are highly valued if the pieces are intact, unbroken and still in the original box.

The Satsuma tea set came into prominence because the Japanese tea ceremony has great importance. Satsuma was first made in the 17th century by Korean potters forced to Japan as prisoners of war by the Lord of Satsuma. Although the earthenware was originally made in kilns in Kagoshima Prefecture, it was still given the Satsuma name when it was made in Yokohama and Tokyo. Most Satsuma pieces existing as of 2014 were made from 1868 to 1912, during the Meigi Period. Satsuma pottery is marked with Japanese characters painted on the pottery or on paper labels adhered to the pottery.

Many of the saucers contained a cross surrounded by a circle to symbolize the Lord of Satsuma. This cross distinguishes the true Satsuma from the copycat or reproduction pieces. The genuine pieces are made of a porous, light semi-porcelain engulfed in a crackled glaze with a distinct cream color, adorned with gold, orange, red, blue and green decoration. Trees and flowers were featured on early designs. Immortals, warriors, males with halos and moriage (decoration with a white raised slip) were the favored designs.