Halimatun Saadiah shows some of the old cup collection, one would be mesmerised to see a huge collection of porcelain plates, bowls, cups and teapots neatly arranged in cabinets of various sizes that she collected in 10 years. (pix by AINAL MARHATON ABD GHANI)

KUANTAN: Stepping into the living room of an antique tableware collector's house in Balok near here, one would be mesmerised to see a huge collection of porcelain plates, bowls, cups and teapots neatly arranged in cabinets of various sizes.

One might assume that the dishes with floral and geometric patterns were kept only for display purposes, but the owner Halimatun Saadiah Abu Bakar uses them daily at home and even rents out some of the rare collection for weddings.

The 38-year-old whose passion for the classic items began some 10 years ago said it all started when she found a Facebook page which offered the antique collection.

The mother-of-two said she was excited to see a variety of plates, bowls, cups and teapots of various size, color and designs on the social media, and people offering them at an affordable price.

"I started to buy and collect them, and it took between four and six years to complete each collection as the items had to be purchased separately from different people. Besides placing orders through the social media, I drove to several states to check and buy the items in order to have a complete collection.

"There were times when I bought cups without saucers and only later managed to buy the saucers from others who share such collections on the social media. It requires time and several years to complete the collection but often worthwhile," she said, adding that she had spent some RM10,000 on her collection.

Halimatun Saadiah said although many described her collection as precious and suitable for display purposes, she used them to serve her family members at home.

"Besides utilising the items at home, sometimes friends will rent them to be used on the main table during weddings and some even ask me to be present to help arrange and serve the food. They do not want to handle the plates and cups fearing they may may break and it would be difficult to find replacements.

"Unlike modern designs, the antique decorations on plates, bowls and cups seem to be more vibrant and usually have various floral designs. I try to identify the type of design before buying them. The teapots come in various shapes, colours, lids and spouts, and some could fetch RM250 a piece," she said, adding her husband Mohd Safri Ali, 42, would accompany her when she went outstation to buy the items.

Although most of the cabinets and cupboards in her living room and kitchen are filled to the brim with her collection, she has no plans to quit her hobby but admitted that she had started to slow down a little.

"I now have four cupboards full of the collection and have even sent some the items to my mother's house in Alor Setar, Kedah.

"It is sad to move the items elsewhere but there is hardly any empty space around the house," she said.

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