Your Guide to Determining the Value of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery
Many homes own solid silver cutlery,, either individual pieces or whole sets and it is often passed down from one generation to the next. Considered to be part of a family’s history, the silver cutlery is generally brought out for holidays and important family gatherings. Beyond the emotional value of antique solid silver cutlery, it also has monetary value that should be considered for investment and insurance purposes. The value can vary greatly based on the make, age, design, demand and condition of the cutlery. Furthermore, basic cleaning can often improve the look, and value of the items, although incorrect cleaning can cause damage, potentially decreasing their value. Before buying or selling antique solid silver cutlery it’s important to research it fully as understanding the silverware will offer a clearer idea of its true value.
History of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery
The history of solid silver cutlery has its beginnings in the seventeenth century when Italian nobles began popularising the fork as an eating utensil. After that it was quickly exported to France and then England. A century later, silver deposits in the New World and Asia led to boom in solid silver cutlery that helped to create what are considered to be some of the most valuable pieces. In response to this boom the English government enforced the 1327 sterling standard that stipulated all solid silver must be 92.5 percent silver to protect against lesser amounts being used in the production and therefore less valuable mixes. This led to the tradition of hallmarking, where local silversmiths added their unique brands once their product was approved by the local Assay Offices. In 1697 the English Parliament raised the sterling standard to 95.84 percent to prevent silver coins from being melted down to make cutlery - this new standard was called Britannia Silver. This expansion of the sterling standard has meant that true British sterling has become extremely valuable. Since the mid-eighteenth century, silver cutlery has become a mainstay in fine dining and a symbol elegance all over the world. This is why finding the true value of such pieces is very important.
Discover the Value of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery
Whether buying, or selling vintage solid silver,, or just curious as to an item’s worth, assessing the real value of silverware can be a simple task so long as it is thoroughly researched. Sometimes the history of the owners associated with the cutlery pieces or sets can be as interesting and evocative as the items themselves. This type of researching can be as fascinating as the final results. One of the easiest ways to start searching is to look for recognised hallmarks and examining the pattern and date of pieces. There are catalogues with thorough listings of this information and will be the first step in determining the value. While some may suggest taking cutlery to a professional appraisal there is plenty of information that can be discovered before that stage.
Even if cutlery is being valued, without the intention to sell, understanding its history can add to the personal value of the item. If you are looking at investing into an antiques solid silver cutlery piece or set, then knowing the value is a must.
Important Elements in Determining the Value of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery
When searching for the true value of solid silver cutlery there are a few key details that can be used to establish its worth. There are many elements that go into the value of antique cutlery, but perhaps the most important are the following:
When looking for value, the hallmark is excellent place to begin a search. The hallmark can be found on the handle and will usually have the initials of the manufacturer as well as their unique crests. Some rare markings can make a large difference in value.
The weight of cutlery can help determine the value of certain unmarked or foreign silver cutlery, which may be hard to value.
The higher to composition of silver, the more valuable the piece is. Determining the difference between sterling and Britannia silver is very important.
Obviously the older the vintage cutlery is the higher the worth, as long as its been well looked after.
Factors to Consider Determining the Value of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery
When attempting to determine the value of antique solid silver cutlery it is important to consider several factors that may influence the value of the wares. By keeping these tips in mind, it will be easier to ascertain the value of the items.
- Compare prices - Find out what similar pieces are selling for. By checking eBay’s Antiques section it can be seen what other similar items, patterns and hallmarks are selling for. It can also act as a guide for demand for certain pieces.
- Care and maintenance - Keeping pieces clean and orderly will be worth the effort as making the items as presentable will add to their value. Showcasing antique items in a good state of repair will help demonstrate their true worth.
- Collections - If there is a full set that, with matching date, pattern and hallmark, the value of the pieces will be much higher than if the items are sold separately. Grouping matching items together will help increase their value.
How to Care for Antique Solid Silver Cutlery
One way to ensure cutlery maintains its high value is by keeping it in tip-top shape, free of tarnishing and discolouration. The best way to do this is to keep it in constant use, as this inadvertently polishes the items, although this may prove difficult for larger sets or sets that often go unused.
Simple maintenance can protect cutlery from damage and discolouration. This involves hand cleaning silver cutlery in warm soapy water with non-abrasive cloths. Avoid using a dishwasher if at all possible, although some modern washers may be acceptable.
If, on the other hand, the silver is already tarnished, a simple application of silver dip and a thorough polishing should be enough to return it to its former splendor. Silver dip can be purchased online or at most jewellery stores.
Of course some damage cannot simply me washed away. If silver cutlery is bent or damaged, it shouldn’t be fixed by a novice, as this can cause irreparable damage. Instead, consult a local metal repair company that can aid in its restoration. These simple steps can go a long way in keeping the value of antique silver cutlery.
Popular Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Manufacturers
When trying to find the exact value of solid silver cutlery it is important to discover the meaning behind the hallmark. This helps discover which manufacturer produced the cutlery and can be one of the most significant indicators of value. A small sample of famous silversmiths includes:
- Alexander Clarke Manufacturing Company Ltd. Founded in 1891. Known for the marking AC Co/LD.
- Atkin Bros. Founded in 1841. Known for the marking HA.
- Carrington and Co. Founded in 1880. Known for the marking C and Co.
- Cooper Bros. Founded in 1850. Known for the marking CB.
- C. J. Vander Ltd. Founded in 1886. Know for the marking CJV.
- Elkington and Co. Founded in 1832. Known for the marking E and Co.
- George Maudsley Jackson. Founded in 1883. Known for the marking GMJ.
- Hawksworths, Eyre and Company. Founded in 1833. Known for the marking HE and Co/LD.
- Holland, Aldwinckle and Slater. Founded in 1838. Known for the marking HH.
- James Dixon and Sons. Founded in 1806. Known for the marking JD and S.
- James Deakin and Sons Ltd. Founded in 1868. Known for the markings JD/Ws.
- John Round and Sons. Founded in 1847. Known for the marking JR.
- Joseph Rogers and Sons Ltd. Founded in 1724. Known for the marking JR.
- Mappin and Webb. Founded in 1797. Known for the marking M and W.
- Thomas Bradbury and Sons Ltd. Founded in 1836. Known for the marking RM/EH.
- Viners. Founded in 1900. Know for the marking EV.
- Wakely and Wheeler. Founded in 1791. Known for the marking WW.
Once you determine the type of solid silver cutlery you want to buy or sell, go to the Antiques portal on eBay, be sure to add the sub-category ‘Silver’, then add sub-category ‘Solid Silver’ and start browsing the listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page will help narrow the search.
Buying or Selling Solid Silver Cutlery on eBay
Include eBay listing titles for specific words when selling your antique solid silver cutlery. Also visit eBay’s Seller Information Centre page for more advice on searching for selling solid silver cutlery with keywords.
If you are shopping for solid silver cutlery you can visit eBay’s Search Tips ppage for more advice on searching with keywords. If you can’t find the exact antique solid silver cutlery you are looking for, try shopping eBay Stores..
When seeking to find the value of your antique solid silver cutlery, simple research into the visual design, hallmarks and condition can help give an idea of the value. Be sure to examine every aspect of the silverware to avoid missing out on a valuable feature that may have been missed. Once you have collected this information, you can buy or sell solid sterling silver cutlery safely and securely on eBay..