Punch bowls have enjoyed the status of a staple fixture in soirees. With its humble origins in India, punch bowl has graced the tables of home bartenders East to West.
While being multipurpose today, people traditionally utilized punch bowls to serve “punches.”
The legend has it, punch bowls came to England in the 17th century when Indians introduced them to festive beverages. They served the concoction in exquisite punch bowls, which stayed with the Englishmen.
Today, you can find punch bowls in the cabinets of homeowners who love exquisite kitchen pieces. Though people don’t stick to serving punches in them, punch bowls remain a popular fixture for house parties.
Therefore, antique enthusiasts keep an eye out for vintage punch bowls. The rare pieces are ever valuable and are sold at the highest bids. For instance, the antique silver punch bowl from the 1700s was sold in 2010 at Sotheby’s auction house for a whopping $5.9 million!
This guide will examine the history of antique punch bowls and the 19 most valuable punch bowl sets in 2022. Stick with the post whether you want to collect these bowls as exquisite decor pieces or for re-sale. Without further ado, Let’s dive in!
History of Antique Punch Bowls
The name “punch bowl” is adapted from the Hindu word “Panch,” meaning five. They used to mix five different types of ingredients for making punches. It included water, citrus, spice, sugar, and citrus.
Dating back to the early 17th century, punch bowls were found in middle-class Indian households, pubs, and mansions. They were also a symbol of social status depending on their type, quantity, and price.
Introduction of Punch Bowls in the British Culture
Punch, followed by punch bowls, were introduced to British culture as an alternative to beer. In the 1600s, British sailors were dismayed at their beers going stale in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean.
Consequently, they adapted to the tradition of fruit beverages of Indian locals. These punches contained common ingredients and, thus, became popular among the Britishers. It also inspired the production of non-alcoholic drinks.
The punches were served in large communal punch bowls throughout Europe, especially in England. English pubs also offered drinks in these punch bowls, which were called “punch houses.”
These early punch bowls were made of delftware and Silver. The silver bowls were considered a more valuable and vital status symbol.
However, the punch trend ended during the Victorian era (the 1800s) as Queen Victoria was strictly non-alcoholic.
The Arrival of Punch Bowls in America
In the late 17th century, punch bowls reached American households. Americans started manufacturing bowls from Chinese porcelain. These ceramic bowls became a staple of middle-class families and came in five different sizes.
In the 18th century, more diverse materials were available for punch bowl manufacturing. The silver sets typically got associated with wealthier households. They paid artisans to decorate their bowls with intricate designs and wood handles.
The late 18th century marked the origin of glass punch bowls. These were less expensive and readily available. However, in the 19th century, the chipped ice ended the ladling rounds of punch bowls.
It was not until the 21st century that punch bowls made a comeback. Today punch bowls serve multiple functions in American kitchens. From use as decorative items to serving fruit punches or as a centerpiece on tables, antique punch bowls are back on the scene.
19 Most Valuable Antique Punch Bowls
Besides the functional value of punch bowls, they are used to decorate houses. Interior designers and antique lovers love to collect rare pieces and repurpose them in their homes.
Here are the 19 most valuable punch bowls you can find in 2022:
1- Antique Frank W Smith Punch Bowl Centerpiece American Sterling Silver
“This ancient silver bowl of mine tells of good old times, joyous days, jolly nights, and merry Christmas chimes.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Sterling silver was a symbol of status and prestige in the olden times. The antique silver pieces sell for even thousands of dollars in the market. This gorgeous gilded sterling silver punch bowl set is from approximately 1850-1899. Manufactured by Frank W. Smith, this curved bowl has a domed foot, wide shoulder, and plain stand.
Accurate reflection of Victorian style, the bowl is decorated with leaves and grape pouches (the most popular pattern of the time). The spoon has a tapering handle continuing the same way.
The bowl has a capacity of 16 pints. All the pieces are engraved with monograms.
The bowl is open for bidding at liveauctioneers.com for the starting bid of $27,100. It is estimated to be sold at $35,304.
2- Towle Sterling Silver Punch Bowl and Cups with Turquoise Enamel
Silver punch bowls are the symbol of conviviality as they were widely seen as containing festive beverages.
This beautiful sterling silver punch bowl has turquoise enamel inside with matching cups. It dates back to the 1950s and is preserved in good condition. Liveauctionners.com has the punch bowl listed on the starting bid of $3550.
3- 19th Century Enamelled Moser Punch Bowl Set
Enamelled or painted glass was decorated with vitreous enamel and then fused with the help of fire. This technique maintained the color for a long time. The glass is opaque, and the engraving makes it colorful for home decor.
Enameled glass is considered the luxury glass technique and has been a significant part of decorative arts. Therefore, enameled punch bowls are hard to find and possess a reasonable selling price at the market.
This 19th-century punch bowl set is listed on liveauctioneers.com with a starting bid of $3000.
4- Castilian by Tiffany and Co Sterling Silver Monteith Punch Bowl
Monteith bowl was a bold statement piece, and it is considered one today. This well-known bowl is recognizable by its distinct shape of the crenelated rim.
It is said to have originated in England around 1680 and is one of the oldest silver items recorded. This particular shape of the Monteith bowl is loved for its beauty and functional value. The notched upper rim holds glasses, a spoon, or a strainer beside the punch bowl.
This sterling silver Monteith punch bowl by Tiffany &Co. is listed on liveauctioneers.com for a starting bid of $1800.
5- Fine Enameled Painted Punch Bowl Set
The value of the enameled sets depends on their rarity and condition. This glass painting technique entered Europe, following Syria, Egypt, and Venice.
These glass pieces were most famous in the mid-18th century. In the late 19th century, French glassmakers revived enamel glasses with novel styles and designs.
This punch bowl set is in good condition with the ladle and cups. It is also embellished with a beautiful painting which renders it unique. The complete set opened for bidding on liveauctioneers.com at $1000 and is expected to be sold at $1500- $2000.
6- EP Japan Silver Punch Bowl Set With Tray, 12 cups, and Ladle
It is another Silver mid-century punch bowl set from the 1960s. It is in excellent condition with 12 cups, a matching tray, and a ladle. It is adorned with raised roses around the rim of the bowl. The stamp of EP Japan can be seen underside the set.
It is listed on Etsy for $675.
7- Antique Carnival Glass Punch Bowl With Grape Design 11 piece
Carnival glass is a specific form of pressed glass and was commonly seen in the early 20th century. People used them for decoration and kitchen items. The unique characteristic of carnival glass is its iridescent rainbow, which was manufactured by adding metallic salts.
The name “Carnival” arose because it was usually given as a prize at the carnivals. Today, antique collectors look for these pieces as they are available in various shapes, sizes, and colors, enhancing their decorative value.
You can estimate the age of the carnival glass piece by taking a closer look at the rust formation. The more rusty look indicates greater age due to metal oxide. This particular listing of a carnival glass punch bowl in a popular grape pattern was sold on eBay for $599.
8- Antique Engraved Glass Gold Glit Moser Punch Bowl with Cups
Antique crystal glass items are heavy for their size. An authentic crystal bowl will reflect light, but a similar cut glass bowl will not. Also, it emits a high-pitched sound when it is tapped.
Genuine crystal glass punch bowls with patterns are pretty valuable in the market. Also, good condition with no chips or cracks enhances their worth.
This clear punch bowl of Moser brand in good condition with cups was sold on eBay for $499.99.
9- Antique Punch Bowl Carnival Glass With Pedestal and Peacock Design and Marigold Color
As we mentioned earlier, the carnival glass has various exquisite colors. Therefore, the glass that carnivals once gave away for free is now a popular choice of antique collectors.
A single piece of carnival glass typically fetches almost $50 in antique auctions. The items such as pitchers, vases, platters, and punch bowls are precious.
Also, the popular colors in carnival glass, like Marigold (a deep warm yellow), sell more in the market. Generally, collectors seek a rarer piece in good condition. The antique carnival glass punch bowl with a pedestal and peacock pattern was sold on eBay for $475.
10- L. E. Smith Galaxy Punch Bowl Set Fifteen Pieces
The pressed glass pieces are heavy and valuable. This rare punch bowl set is in the famous Galaxy Pattern. Made by L.E. Smith, the bowl and cups feature the matching whirling star design (quite hit back in the days). The bowl has a toothed rim and a scalloped circumference of the underplate. It includes a large punch bowl, an underplate, 12 cups, and a ladle.
The listing is on Etsy with a price of $350.
11- Heisey Punch Bowl 1904 With Pedestal and 11 Cups, Colonial Clear “Puritan.”
Heisey’s large pressed glass punch bowl comes with a matching stand and 11 cups. It features a beautiful cut glass pattern with a lovely scalloped edge and star base. The set has the “H” embossed, attesting to its authenticity.
The whole set is listed on Etsy for $350.
12- Antique Pressed Glass Clear Punch Bowl With 16 Cups and Ladle
Pressed glass, or Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG), had low manufacturing costs but was highly durable. Therefore, it was also a popular material choice for kitchenware in the Victorian era.
Pressed glass usually had plane designs and patterns. One famous pattern is the “whirling star,” which can be found on punch bowls of numerous brands.
This huge clear punch bowl was of good quality and was sold on eBay for $349.99 despite a missing cup.
13- Antique T&V Limoges Hand Painted Punch Bowl With Grapes & Leaves Pattern
Limoges is considered the finest porcelain and is, therefore, highly valuable. Originating from the city of Limoges in Paris, it is a true example of French artistry. Limoges was first produced in the 1700s but saw its heyday in the late 1800s up until the 1930s.
Limoges has always been associated with beauty, great quality, and excellent taste. Mainly, hand-painted Limoges ceramics enjoy great value in the antique market. The translucent glaze and pristine porcelain body of ceramics still make them collectors’ top choices.
While buying Limoges porcelain, always take a hard look at its condition. A robust, hard-paste body with delicate glaze and hand-painted detailing on Limoges is always worth more.
eBay listed this Limoges punch bowl by the brand T&V with a multi-color grapes and leaves pattern. The owner sold it for a winning bid of $285.
14- Vintage Towle Silver Plated Punch Bowl 15 Pieces with 12 Cups, Tray & Ladle
Silver punch bowls rose to fame Paul Revere’s ‘The British are Coming!’ work. His silver punch bowl attracted numerous eyes, and since then, these punch bowls have been considered highly valuable.
This vintage silver plated bowl set with tray, cups, and ladle on Etsy for $250. It is pretty heavy and in overall good condition.
15- Vintage Fade Dorothy Thorpe 1950s Silver Punch Bowl Set With 12 Glasses
Dorothy Thorpe was a famous mid-century glassware brand known for its distinct silver band glass designs. This punch bowl is in good condition, with an inch of silver around the rim.
It is aged around 1950 and comes with 12 glasses placed in divided spots on the tray. The price of this item listed on Etsy is $239.
16- American Cut Glass Antique Punch Bowl
Cut glass is a style of ornamenting glass with defined patterns and sharper details. You can tell a genuine cut glass without mold marks on it. The curved miters create multifaceted brilliance on the cut glass pieces.
Cut glass is a popular choice for antique punch bowls. They have great decorative value as well. This clear punch bowl with a cut glass pattern was sold for $179.99 on eBay.
17- Antique Mettlach Punch Bowl with Birds Design
Ceramics have been a popular material in the production of punch bowls. Mainly, you will find porcelain pieces still a hit in the vintage markets.
The porcelain bowls were usually made in five different sizes and gave a traditional striking look.
This porcelain punch bowl has an intricate paint and design pattern of birds on the surface. It is valued at $106 on eBay.
18- Antique Green Indiana Glass Depression Punch Bowl With 18 Cups
Depression glass was famous for kitchenware from the 1920s to the 1950s. The natural depression glass possesses tiny bubbles at its surface. They come in translucent and also colored pieces. Machine-made depression glass punch bowls were standard in the U.S. market in the mid-1900s.
Today, a complete set of depression glass punch bowls in good condition is considered valuable in the market. This green-colored set adorned with the leaf pattern with 18 cups is sold on eBay for $105.
19- Antique Victorian French Gold Gilt & Opaline Glass Punch Bowl With Ladle and Underplate
The glass punch bowl is considered valuable if it is hand blown. You can identify hand-blown pieces as they might have minute imperfections. Antique items that were hand-made are worth more in the market.
Victorian designs of the 18th century mainly featured spires in punch bowls. Also, complete sets with ladle and underplate increase the piece’s value. The bowl got sold on the winning bid of $102.50 on eBay.
Over the centuries, the fashion of serving punch has waxed and waned, but the collectors’ desire for punch bowls has barely budged. The appearance of the vessel, pretty colors, and various material choices make them a highly sought-after commodity.
With so many variations, you can find an antique punch bowl anywhere from $50 to rare pieces for thousands of dollars. The guide details the 19 most collectible punch bowls in 2022. They include nearly every design, from colorful cut glass to shiny sterling silver.
Though we love cocktails, the punch bowls still survive with their aesthetic design and functional value. You can find rare ones that suit your taste and make them a beloved home component.