How to Buy Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

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How to Buy Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

Children’s antique solid silver cutlery is great for bringing little ones to the big table and extending the story of antique silver to the whole family, or simply as a timeless collectable. Antique cutlery pieces are by definition much older than `used´ pieces, though how much older is often debated. A common understanding is that an item over one hundred years old is considered antique.

Before purchasing children’s antique solid silver cutlery, there are several factors that a buyer must first consider. A buyer can be better prepared to make an educated choice when purchasing antique solid silver cutlery for children by focusing on three major points: (1) what type of children’s cutlery is best suited to their needs, (2) how to identify the authenticity of a child’s solid silver piece, and (3) methods for maintaining its quality once purchased. By following some simple guidelines and practices, buying antique solid silver cutlery for children can be an easy and fun process.

History of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

Common cutlery, such as knives and forks,, became a regular fixture of the dining world around the 16th century. Adults often wore them in their belts to be brought out at mealtime, but the pieces lacked the style, creativity and variety appropriated by silversmiths over the following decades. Solid silver cutlery, also known as sterling silver,, has been the high standard in dining since the 18th century. As silverware was found on many family tables throughout history, silversmiths also dedicated their craft to creating specific silver pieces for children.

Smaller and often creatively adorned, children’s solid silver cutlery was designed to appeal to a younger taste, being easier to hold and often acting as a source of entertainment in itself, with characters or scenarios depicted in the design. Just like adult solid silver cutlery, it has often been passed down over years and generations, acquiring antique value.

Discover Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

Children’s antique solid silver cutlery is defined in the same fashion as any other antique solid silver: by its physical composition and its age. Pure silver is too malleable to fashion into strong tools, and so is partnered with small amounts of other metals to give it strength. Solid silver (sterling silver) is made from at least 92.5 percent pure silver, generally mixed with 7.5 percent copper for increased strength. This is expressed by the decimal .925 or number 925 and is generally found stamped on each individual piece. Older antiques will feature stamped hallmark symbols that identify its purity as solid silver.

A buyer must note that a used solid silver piece from recent years is not considered an antique. While some collectors regard the year 1930 as a cut-off point for antique evaluation, others maintain one hundred years of age is required as a safe measure.

Types of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

While the adult range of cutlery is quite vast, comprising of many food-specific pieces, children’s cutlery choice is more limited. It is important to note that the main differences between these two are the size and the sharpness of the utensils, with children’s being easier and safer for smaller hands. Considering that children’s antique cutlery could be purchased for collecting or for dinner table use, below are listed four types and their practical advantages and considerations.

Type

Description

Advantages

Considerations

Child’s Fork

Short handle with up to four rounded points (tines) on the end

Easy to hold

Rounded tines for safer eating

The most useful and versatile of children’s cutlery

Child’s Dessert Spoon

Short handle with spoon end that is oval in shape

Moves solid and liquid food together easily

Less useful as teaspoons were generally used for hot beverages

Child’s Soup Spoon

Similar to the child’s dessert spoon, but shallower and circular in shape

Shallow bowl enables easy eating of liquids

Holds roughly the same as a dessert spoon, but with a different shaped bowl

Child’s Knife

Short handle with a blade on the other end that is sometimes blunted

Easy to hold

Slightly blunted blade enables safer eating

Should be paired with a child’s fork

Factors to Consider When Buying Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

A buyer should seldom select the first antique piece that they find. Below are listed some considerations.

  • Style – Consider if the piece will be required to match other pieces of cutlery such as an adult set.
  • Size – Children’s individual cutlery pieces can vary more in size than its adult counterparts.
  • Condition – Children’s silver cutlery can experience a rough life. Regard the wear and tear evident on the cutlery pieces before purchase (e.g. tarnish, bending).
  • Age – Antique children’s cutlery is defined by its age. The older the piece, the more expensive it may be.
  • Manufacturer – It is important to remember that several manufactures of antiques are still in operation today, creating new (not antique) children’s cutlery. A buyer should not base the term antique on manufacturers alone.

Typical Features of Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

1.  Ornately Styled Handles

Solid silver cutlery is often found to have patterned handle designs, but children’s cutlery often extends this to characters or pictures defined in the handle itself. An example of a child’s antique cutlery design is a sterling silver rendering of a rabbit, smiling playfully on the handle. Children’s cutlery handles can be made out of something other than silver, such as mother of pearl, and have youthful pictures painted or engraved.

2.  Mark of Purity

Just as with adult cutlery, children’s solid silver cutlery should bare the number of sterling silver (.925) on the handle, and no less. Britannia silver’s mark of .958 is less common, but is still considered solid silver, in fact containing more pure silver than sterling (95.8 percent). Considering that other silver alloys exist in children’s cutlery, for peace of mind, a buyer of solid silver should ensure that this feature is present on each piece. Old antique solid silver cutlery may also feature hallmark stamps that authenticate purity.

3.  Maker’s Mark

Just as with adult cutlery, children’s solid silver cutlery will often bare a stamp that indicates the manufacturer. This is important in the purchase of antiques, as it can verify the authenticity.

How to Care for Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children

Considering the high value of most antique solid silver, and the heavy use to which children often put their cutlery, it is important to care for antique pieces so that they retain their lustre and can be enjoyed for years to come. Even if a child’s cutlery piece is for collecting and not for being placed in young hands, there are several considerations when it comes to maintenance.

The most important consideration is to keep foreign contaminants off the cutlery while it’s not in use. Gently wash the piece (or pieces) in warm soapy water, avoiding citrus detergents. Small amounts of olive oil and vinegar can also be used to remove marks and streaking, although a non-adhesive material should be used to apply or remove them. It is also important to dry solid silver cutlery of any type with a cloth, and keep it dry when stored. This can help prevent against oxidation and tarnishing of the cutlery. These easy tips, as well as frequent use and polishing, will help silverware retain a glowing finish known as a ‘patina’.

Popular Antique Silver Cutlery Manufacturers for Children

  • Birks
  • Christofle
  • Dominick and Haff
  • Durgin
  • Georg Jensen
  • Gorham
  • Holmes and Edwards
  • Kirk
  • Lunt
  • Oneida
  • Reed and Barton
  • Towle

Accessories and Add-ons for Children’s Antique Solid Silver Cutlery

As with all solid silver purchases, there are several options to consider when buying children’s silver cutlery.

  • Silverware Storage Boxes
  • Silver Storage Bags
  • Silverware Polish
  • Silverware Polishing Cloth

Finding Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children on eBay

Once you determine the type of children’s antique solid silver cutlery you want to purchase, visit the Collectables portal on eBay, click on Antiques and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Antique Solid Silver Cutlery for Children on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for antique solid silver cutlery for children. For example, to find a child’s antique solid silver tablespoon, type `child’s antique solid silver tablespoon´ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tips ppage for more advice on searching for antique solid silver cutlery for children with keywords. If you can’t find the exact antique solid silver cutlery for children you want, try shopping eBay Stores..

Conclusion

Children’s antique solid silver cutlery can be an interesting and attractive part of any dining set or collection. Its unique and petite appearance is only enhanced by antique value, and whether it is displayed or at the table, it offers a dynamic accompaniment to an adult cutlery set. General knowledge of solid silver’s maintenance ensures that any precious children’s piece is well maintained and able to deliver its famous shine. The consideration of solid silver’s definition, and that of the term ‘antique’, allows for an informed exploration of the selection of children’s cutlery available. Once buyers have collected this information, they can purchase used antique solid silver cutlery for children safely and securely on eBay..

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