The first step in identifying and establishing the value of silver is to ascertain whether the piece is silver or silver-plated. Sterling silver objects are made of Unfortunately, silver-plated items hold almost no monetary worth. There is not enough silver content to have melt down value and generally, these pieces do not retain their resale value. Begin with looking for the hallmarks or stamps on the item. British silver can be a bit more complex, as the history of British hallmarking dates back to the 14 th century.
Silver plated cutlery
Our illustrated guide highlights the subtle ways you can discover the origins of any piece of silver. One of the most common inquiries at antique shows often has to do with authenticity: How do you know whether or not something is made of real silver? Collectors aren’t always looking for pure sterling silver , per se, but they should be able to know the value and composition of the pieces they’re buying. Most of the time, you can find the information you’re looking for by simply taking a closer look at the teaspoon , fish fork, ice cream saw, or cheese scoup that you’re eyeing.
A Range of Tall quality silver trophies with patterned handles and lids. Suitable for floating trophies with matching handouts. May be engraved. Give us.
In Part I, I gave a brief history of the development of the British silverplating industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now I would like to offer some tips on how to determine whether a given object is silver, Old Sheffield Plate or silverplate. In England silver has been marked in some manner since the 12th century when it was first regulated by Parliament. The marks made it possible to trace the maker and the place of manufacture. This helped to protect the consumer, for if it was determined that the silver object was not actually pure enough to be marked as silver, the culprit could be found and punishment could be meted out.
As silver objects made before are quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date. In Parliament established the standard for purity for sterling silver and instituted a mark indicating that an item is of sufficient purity to be deemed sterling. That standard means an item is made of The mark is a Lion Passant -the image of a lion walking, facing left. You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after In addition to the Lion Passant there are other marks which give more information about the sterling silver object.
Identifying English silver. Is it silver, plated or alpaca?
Marks on precious metals have been regulated by law since ancient times. From pharaohs, Roman emperors and continuing today, fineness, or standard marks, have been used to guarantee minimum amounts of precious metal in relation to non-precious metal. At least that’s the theory.
The absence of an official dating system makes it difficult to date silver plated wares. The most common are EPNS (Electro Plated Nickel Silver) and EPBM.
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How can you tell if silver is real or plated?
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last years is stamped with either 4 or 5 symbols, known as hallmarks. The prime purpose of these marks is to show that the metal of the item upon which they are stamped is of a certain level of purity. The metal is tested and marked at special offices, regulated by the government, known as assay offices. Only metal of the required standard will be marked.
It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost years. There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible.
British sterling silver hallmarks help to identify the maker and year of British date marks use letters from A – Z to represent dates. Each town On top of handle is”Eales handchased E.P.N.S.”Does that mean silverplate?
So can you trust the marks on your silver? The laws currently on the books the prohibit misleading marking date all the way back to One definitive way to find out if you have some Sterling silver or Fine silver is to take it to a professional appraiser, antiques dealer, or a pawnshop. However, one of the most common tests they can run — scraping a bit of the metal away and then applying a drop of nitric acid — will damage the piece to a small degree.
Find out more about acid tests for Sterling silver here. There are also a couple easy home tests you can do to help point you in the right direction. Ice test: Silver is a very good conductor, and will relay cold or heat very quickly. Put a few ice cubes in a container not the one you are trying to test and add about an inch of water. Smaller Sterling silver items will become cold after about 10 seconds, larger ones may take a little longer.
This is a helpful method when you have similar items you can compare against. For example, a possibly silver fork and a fork from a stainless steel cutlery set. Sense tests: Silver has a slightly warm yellowish sheen, and a slight scent which is stronger when heated or wet.
The Story of English Silver
Diana Modesto – Australia. Never assume these numbers as date of production of the piece. This is a code identifying the quality of the plating.
Here are some common marks on silver or silverplate – EPNS-WMM Electroplate on Nickel Silver with White Metal Mounts then the lion mark (sterling), then the town mark-leopard head (London), the date mark P (), and finally the.
EPC stands for electroplated copper. Though the term EPC refers to electroplating, the technique used to create Sheffield pieces was mainly mechanical and chemical. Early Sheffield plate is notoriously difficult to date because there was no legal requirement to hallmark an item until , according to Bryan Douglas Silver. Flip your silver item over and look around the surface for a hallmark.
Instead it is likely silver-plated nickel from the 19th century or later. Search for a symbol or initials on the metal. Old Sheffield Plate is usually identified using certain names and dates imprinted on the metal. Marks include two sun-shapes for Boulton. Many other makers have their names in small shapes or shields. Check the maker name against the date listed in a hallmark guide such as “Miller’s Silver and Plate Antiques Checklist” or “Bradbury’s Book of Hallmarks.
Note the decoration. Items in a gadroon rope-twist or shell border are usually Regency style, so likely date to the 19th century. Plain angular designs are often from a later period, such as the art deco style of the early 20th century.
Silver Mark Identification
For over 80 years Newbridge Cutlery has been designing and crafting quality cutlery at its manufacturing facility in Ireland. Today, craftsmen each with a lifetime’s experience continue to fashion the finest cutlery with the same skills and loving care. At the turn of the 20th century, the town of Newbridge, in the heart of Co.
Kildare was a thriving garrison community.
Understand British silver hallmarks and hallmarking on Antique Silverware and learn This date letter changed each year and has proved to be of enormous value in and pieces had to be marked EPNS for ‘electroplated nickel silver’.
Hallmarks are one of the most important factors in identifying antique silver jewelry, flatware, and other items. These small stamped symbols on the back or underside of silver items can tell you the purity of the silver, the manufacturer of the piece, and sometimes even the date it was made. Understanding how to read hallmarks is an important skill for any antiques enthusiast. If you have a piece of silver jewelry or a household item you’d like to identify, there’s a process that can help.
Follow these steps to learn about your item. Make sure you can clearly see the mark. It may help to have a magnifying glass and some silver polish handy. Use a cotton swab to gently polish the area near the mark. This will create a contrast between the recessed area of the stamp, which will still be tarnished, and the surrounding metal.
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Four piece silver plate EPNS serving set comprising pickle fork, pickle spoon and two serving spoons. Fleur de lis pattern on three of the pieces. Measures.
Diane is a lover of all things beautiful; music, art, antiques and nature. Her guides bring insight to topics she cares passionately about. British sterling silver hallmarks help to identify the maker and year of manufacture of sterling silver items produced by Great Britain. Understanding and learning to recognize these marks can help you avoid costly mistakes in both the purchase and sale of antique English silver.
This guide will explain what each mark means and how to find them on a piece of antique British sterling silver. I’ve been buying and selling antique silver for many years now. When I first started going to estate sales, I was always drawn to the silver gleaming on the tables. I didn’t know what the marks meant, but I was determined to find out. Thus began my education and passion for silver.
READING BRITISH SILVER HALLMARKS
Of the various minerals categorized as precious metals, silver is the most plentiful. It has long been used to fashion serving pieces , decorative items, jewelry , and a host of other goods. Most silver items include a stamp to indicate the purity of the silver being used. Items containing the purest forms of silver would be labeled. When metals are combined, they are known as alloys. Thus, most silver, including items that known as sterling silver, fall into the alloy category.
Vintage Grosvenor Delphic 6 person EPNS silver plated dessert spoon & fork set. AU $ Free postage. Watch.
The earliest form of silver plating was Sheffield plate, where thin sheets of silver were fused to a layer or core of base metal of copper. Since about a process called electroplating has been used. It is not sterling silver. Many of the early pieces were impressed with marks resembling hallmarks used on sterling silver. The London silversmiths filed an injunction in The following year the Sheffield platers were allowed to resume using marks, provided they bore the name of the maker and a distinctive device.
Plated silver is regularly used in flatware [spoons] and hollowware [tableware such as bowls, coffee pots]. After the s, and the development of electroplating, nickel silver became popular as a base metal and forms an ideal, strong and bright base for silverware. Nickel silver first became popular as a base metal for silver-plated cutlery and other silverware, notably the electroplated wares called EPNS electro-plated nickel silver.
It is used in zippers, good quality keys, costume jewellery, for making musical instruments e. Nickel silver is so named for its silvery colour and has no elemental silver in it until plated. The Sheffield plating process is not often used today, as after about it was generally replaced with the electroplating processes.