Antique Sarreguemines Coffee Set

Coffee setCoffee set marked Flore U&C Sarre- guemines.

The factory supplied most of the original tiles that decorated the walls of the Paris metro and Napoleon commissioned decorative pieces from them for his apartments at Versailles.

I bought the set when I was living in Germany. Did I have a use for it? Hahaha. I was a ballet dancer with a tiny apartment and in Germany at that time, you didn’t visit one another’s apartments, you met at a restaurant or bar. This may have changed, but while I lived there, I never had a visitor in for coffee. In fact, I didn’t drink the stuff; my beverages consisted of carrot juice, apfelsaft (apple juice sold in the canteen for theater staff,) and after performances, red wine at the Italian place where we wound down. But this set had to be mine.

I bought it at my favorite “antique” store where, with the exception of a flokati rug, I had found all the furnishings in my apartment: a painted glass lamp with little crystal beads, a rocking chair, a carved coat rack with a beveled mirror to hang on the wall, a couple of chairs and a solid wooden table that took me almost an hour to drag home. In the midst of my spare décor, the coffee set glowed like an expensive painting.

When I moved back to the States, the husband of a dancer friend was being transferred to NYC and he offered to ship some items home for me. I sent the coat rack, the flokati (which has long since become scraggly and been abandoned), and this set. The lamp, a true antique, I opted to keep with me as carry on. Unfortunately, I had a plane change.

The second airline insisted the package was too big. I tried to explain it was an antique but to no avail. The box that came off the baggage carousel tinkled and was full of painted glass shards. Only the beading was intact. I have wondered if I had been then as I am now, I could have saved it. Dancers are trained to listen to authority – the teacher, the choreographer, the stage manager, the coach. It has taken some time to become a person with my own authority.

Writing this, I feel such regret for that lost lamp. It was precious because it lit a special time of my life. From the 6th grade on, I had been determined to be ballerina, never mind my short legs. After years of struggle, I won a place in a good company. After every performance, I went home and turned on that light. Under it, I examined my battered feet, ate my skimpy meals or read. I was happy!

I have no such close connection to the coffee set but its beauty continues to holds me.


  1. I feel your loss. Maybe the memory of the lamp becomes more important than the actual lamp? Sounds like you had good times in Germany 🙂

    • Terri says:

      Linda, you are probably right, though I hate it when nice antiques are trashed. But I did have fabulous times in Germany – still have good friends there.

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