Ann's hobby has definitely got legs
For many people they are just another part of the kitchen crockery. But for Ann Lanham, the humble egg cup has become a life-long passion, to the extent that she now owns over 1000 of them!
What do the FA Cup, Rupert the Bear, a three-pin plug and the presenters of Radio 4's Today Programme all have in common?
Each egg cup is numbered and catalogued
Answer: They all feature in Ann Lanham's amazing collection of egg cups.
In all, Ann has 1,190 different cups, but she estimates that with duplicates she has closer to 1,600 in total.
Her love affair with pocillovy - the hobby of egg cup collecting - started completely by accident whilst on holiday in Brighton, nearly 40-years-ago.
"I just happened to see this egg cup and fell in love with it and I think that must have started it," recalls Ann. "I had no intention of starting a collection, I just bought them because I liked them."
Ann has been collecting for nearly 40-years
Since then, through a combination of attending collectors fairs and boot sales, supermarket promotions and presents, Ann's cracking collection has grown and grown.
"My son and daughter both collect them for me and I'm trying not to now, but I can't resist if I see one I like!" Ann explains.
"We're trying to cut them down a bit and sell some of them, but it's very difficult to do that!"
All of the cups are catalogued in a folder, detailing their description, the date it was bought and how much was paid for it. Each one has been allocated a number, which is stuck to the inside of the cup.
Ann's egg cups come in all shapes and sizes
They come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from Sooty, Mutley and Topcat, to promotions by Tetley and the Today Programme. There are plug-shaped ones, square ones, even one that looks like the FA Cup.
There's a real international flavour to Ann's collection too, with cups coming from as far a-field as Canada, Australia and South Africa.
"Some of the ones I've got are really old," says Ann.
"One lady gave me four which we have dated back to about 1880, which are pale green and were given to her by her grandmother."
Cups come from as far as Australia and Canada
Hard boiled hobby
They may be small, but egg cups can be bought and sold for quite a substantial amount.
"Some are worth a lot of money," says Ann. "The Sooty ones I used to buy for 20p, but at an antique fair a lady said to me the green ones were worth £25 each.
"Both my husband and I love Moorcroft Pottery and I had some money given to me and we went to their place up at Stoke-on-Trent.
"They brought one in particular out and although it is not personally signed, I did pay £25 for it. I think that's about the most I've ever paid for an egg cup."
Sue McGregor and Tetley boys as never seen before
With so many to choose from, does Ann have a favourite? "I don't think I have, I just love all of them," she replies. "I don't think I've got a favourite because I've collected them for so long."
And does she ever use them at breakfast time?
"Oh no," she exclaims. "I've got some Portmeirion ones which we use if we want to have an egg! But these are never used."
Do you have an unusual collection or hobby that you would like to tell us about? E-mail email@example.com with your story.
last updated: 15/04/2009 at 15:18