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Browse these categories under "Antique Decanters"

Here at AC Silver we are pleased to be able to offer a large collection of antique silver and glass decanters in many types and styles.

Our range of decanters includes items created in the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras, as well as some more vintage twentieth century pieces.

All of our examples of antique and vintage decanters are unique, and are the best of their type which we have come across. Many of our decanters are glass mounted with sterling silver.

Decanters make the perfect antique gift, not only are they a beautiful display piece, they are also incredibly practical.

AC Silver offer a 14-day return policy, and include a free shipping with all wine and drink related antiques,.

antique silver decanters

A tantalus is a wooden container used to house glass decanters. This unique piece of furniture provided protection and storage for the glassware, as well as making them easily transportable. Finding a high-quality antique tantalus is increasingly difficult today. The design of the tantalus ultimately influenced later wooden drinking compendiums such as the cave à liquer and other liquor cellars.

The name tantalus has its roots in Ancient Greek mythology. The character Tantalus was a king, ruling with unwavering power and greed. Tantalus was rich, but also a wicked leader. A son of Zeus and Pluto, Tantalus was a demi-god. He was invited to dine at Zeus’ table as a guest, where he stole ambrosia and nectar with the intent to reveal the god’s secrets among other mortals. Furthermore, Tantalus butchered his own son to serve at a banquet to the gods, hoping to discover if they truly were omniscient.

The gods knew about this sacrificial murder, however, and so Tantalus was punished. He was banished to Tartarus, the deepest section of the Grecian underworld. Forced to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree, Tantalus was eternally malnourished. Any time he reached for fruit, the tree would grow to become just out of reach, and any time he bent for water, it would recede before he could slake his thirst.

The punishment of Tantalus, as well as the location of Tartarus, is where the modern term ‘tantalise’ finds its roots. The concept of something being just out of reach is an appropriate title for the tantalus. Its design specifically displaying the alcohol in glass decanters whilst also ensuring they can’t be opened would appear to epitomise the concept of tantalising.

The first tantalus designs were made in the Victorian period. Made from wood and provided with a lock and key, these cases typically held three glass decanters. Some examples could only hold two, while others could hold up to four. Silversmith and craftsman, George Betjemann, patented the first tantalus concept in 1881. The frame of a tantalus allows the glass bottles themselves to be visible. When it is locked, however, the decanters are impossible to open.

The tantalus was immediately popular, particularly since liquors were expensive. Keeping them stored away with the knowledge that nobody could steal any provided peerless peace of mind. As the concept grew in popularity, so did the range of tantalus styles. Most designs featured an open framework that allowed the bottles to be viewed. Some had a mirror fitted to one side, emphasising the view of the decanters and their contents to any onlookers. The typical tantalus design features mounts and handles which were typically set with brass or sterling silver.

In a time where lockable tea caddies, sugar boxes, and smoking compendiums were already exceptionally popular, the tantalus was quickly adopted by many middle-class Victorian families. Variations of the tantalus were also created for storing bottles beyond the original alcohols.

More Ways to Shop

Blown and Acid Etched Glass, Sterling Silver Mounted Decanter - Antique Victorian
Price: GBP £2,475.00
Antique Sterling Silver Bat Decanter Label / Bottle Ticket
Price: GBP £1,995.00
Glass and Sterling Silver Mounted Champagne Bottle Decanter - Antique Edwardian (1907)
Price: GBP £1,795.00
Acid Etched Glass and Sterling Silver Mounted Locking Decanter - Antique George V (1925)
Price: GBP £1,595.00
Cut Glass and Sterling Silver Mounted Decanter - Art Deco - Antique George V (1924)
Price: GBP £1,445.00
Blown Glass and German Silver Mounted Decanter - Art Deco - Vintage Circa 1940
Price: GBP £1,315.00
Cut Glass and Sterling Silver Mounted Decanter - Art Deco - Antique George VI
Price: GBP £1,295.00
Cut Glass and Sterling Silver Mounted Decanter - Antique George V
Price: GBP £995.00
Newcastle Sterling Silver Rum Decanter Label / Bottle Ticket - Antique George III
Price: GBP £995.00
Newcastle Sterling Silver Decanter Label / Bottle Ticket - Antique George III (1819)
Price: GBP £995.00

Proud Members of

International Federation of Art and Antique Dealer Associations CINOA
National Association of Jewellery UK's trade association NAJ