COMMODITIES: Reading the Tea

In a high-ceilinged amphitheater on London's Mincing Lane last week, veteran Auctioneer A. B. Yuille stepped up to the rostrum and pounded his gavel. He was offering for sale 18 chests of tea from Ceylon. From among the 400 brokers came cries of "Far! Far! Far!" as the bids rose a farthing at a time. Finally, at five shillings one farthing a Ib. (about 70¢), the first lot went to George White & Co. In 3½ hours Auctioneer Yuille sold 11,524 chests containing 1,250,000 Ibs. of tea. For the first time since 1939, London's tea market — once the...

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