Your Guide to Buying Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

Like if this guide is helpful
Your Guide to Buying Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

Whether it’s a meal for a special occasion or a Friday night dinner with friends, quality vintage solid silver cutlery can add a touch of class and elegance to any meal. Vintage solid silver cutlery has been experiencing a return in popularity, putting the acquisition of a full set or canteen of cutlery high on many buyers’ lists. Vintage solid silver cutlery is available in a range of different types and styles that work well with any dining décor.  Many of these handmade sets have been passed down from generation to generation as a valuable heritage piece. It is important for buyers to be aware of the many factors and intricacies that may affect the value of pieces, so that they can purchase vintage solid silver cutlery with confidence.

History of Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

The classic combination of a forkknife, and spoon that is so common today was introduced into Europe from Byzantium in approximately 1100 AD. First adopted in France and Italy, England did not start using forks until about the 15th century. Forks are believed to have developed from a small knife used to steady a joint of meat whilst carving.Within the next few centuries, solid silver cutlery would become a standard of upper class dining.

Solid silver or `sterling´ is actually 92.5 percent silver, as pure silver would be far too soft to use effectively. In Englandin 1327, the medieval guilds began testing silver items made by silversmiths to ensure that they met the required sterling standard. Once evaluated, the items would be stamped with a mark of approval. The styles of silver cutlery were predominately inspired from the popular architectural designs of the period. Most modern cutlery is made from stainless steel.

Discover Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

Vintage solid silver cutlery tend to be pieces that are 50 to 100 years old, whereas antique cutlery tends to be considered items that are 100 years of age and older. Vintage cutlery is available in a variety of styles that reflect the era in which it was made, as well as contain identifying marks that help in determining its value and age. Much of the true value of vintage silver cutlery lies in these marks, which can raise or lower its monetary worth considerably. Thanks to the elegance and beauty of these magnificent dining pieces, solid silver cutlery has become a staple of the fine English dinning tradition.

Sets of Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

When looking for a great set of vintage solid silver cutlery, a well-informed buyer should be aware of the different types of canteens or sets available. The most expensive canteens often match not only the style of each piece, but contain pieces by the same maker and date as well.

Canteen Type


Full Canteen

Consists of twelve place settings.

Half Canteen

Consists of six place settings.

Double Canteen

Consists of twenty-four place settings.

Straight Canteen

All components of the canteen are the same pattern, by the same maker, and generally of the same date.

Mixed Canteen

All components are the same pattern, but are not necessarily made by the same maker or made on the same date.

Eclectic Canteen

This canteen is a mix of different styles, different makers and different dates for each item.

Types of Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

They are many different types of vintage solid silver cutlery available. Besides the various types of knives, forks, and spoons, there are also a variety of lesser known pieces that could add a touch of originality to any collection.



Butter Knife

 Approximately 16 cm long, this dull blade is ideal for butter and other spreads.

Table Knife

 Approximately 24 cm long, this sharp blade is ideal for tougher meals.

Table Fork

 Approximately 19 cm long, this simple four-pronged fork was a necessity.

Table Spoon

 Approximately 22 cm, this was mainly used as a serving spoon.

Salad Fork

 Approximately 14 cm long, this smaller three-pronged fork was used for salad.

Pie/Cake Server

These items varied in size and made both cutting and serving simple processes.

Factors to Consider When Buying Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

When looking to purchase a canteen of beautiful vintage solid silver cutlery, it is important to consider a variety of issues that will help make the decision process easier.

  • Look for styles and designs that will suit particular décor and tastes.
  • Determine whether collections will be matching sets or comprised of a variety of different pieces. Eclectic sets tend to be less costly, while full canteens are generally more valuable.
  • Research and identify the various marks and standards on each piece of vintage solid silver cutlery. Certain makers and styles may be considered more valuable than others.
  • Consider how the cutlery will be used. It may be more practical to purchase a less expensive set for items that will be in more constant use, whereas more expensive sets may be a better complement to special occasions.

Typical Features of Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

There are many beautiful and important features to be found with vintage solid silver cutlery.. Features such as hallmarks, patterns, and more can help in narrowing down the search for vintage solid silver cutlery.

1.  Pattern

The pattern of vintage solid silver cutlery is an important feature. Certain patterns can invoke a sense of grandeur and wealth, while a plainer style can feel much more at home in an informal, simple breakfast setting. Certain patterns can make the handle resemble pistols or feature the symbols of royal houses. Each pattern has its own place in any collection.

2.  Hallmark

The hallmarks on vintage solid silver cutlery are important features to consider. Each mark is unique to the manufacturer and each has its own style and pageantry. A rare or prestigious mark can make an otherwise unmemorable piece a real treasure.  Some marks also have a unique symbol that can add flavour to a canteen.

3.  Age

The age of cutlery is an important factor in determining its worth. Some canteens have been held as family heirlooms for generations and could be considered more dignified than a newer selection. While certain ages may prove too costly, a well-aged canteen can be a worthy addition to any household.

How to Care for Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

To keep vintage solid silver cutlery looking its best, reduce tarnishing through proper storage. A few simple steps can help remove tarnish from vintage solid silver cutlery.

1.  Examine cutlery for a yellow or golden tinge. In this case, a light polishing should be all that is required to return it to its former glory.

2.  Take care not to use any abrasive materials on cutlery as this could scratch it.

3.  If a more thorough clean is needed, it is best to gently clean vintage solid silver cutlery by hand in warm soapy water.

4.  Any minor tarnishing can be easily removed with the application of either a silver dip (sometimes referred to as hotel dip) or a gentle silver polish.

5.  If cleaning solutions are to be used, take care as improper usage can result in the need to have it professionally restored.

Popular Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery Manufacturers

Some of well-known and most manufactures of vintage solid silver cutlery are:

  • 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.
  • Charles Boyton and Sons, founded in 1825 - known for the marking CB.
  • C. J. Vander Ltd., founded in 1886 - known for the marking CJV.
  • Francis Higgins, founded in 1817 - known for the marking FH.
  • George Maudsley Jackson, founded in 1883 - known for the marking GMJ.
  • Henry Wilkinson and Company, founded in 1828 - known for the marking HW/and Co.
  • 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 Nowill and Sons, founded in 1700 - known for the marking JN and S.
  • Josiah Williams and Company, founded in 1832 - known for the marking JW/ and Co.
  • 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 - known for the marking EV.
  • William Hutton and Sons, founded in 1800 - known for the marking WH and S.

Accessories and Add-ons for Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery

  • Flannel Bags - These specially designed bags can help keep cutlery looking like new by storing it in tarnish-preventing fabric that keeps both fine sterling silver and silver-plated articles clean, bright, and shiny between uses.
  • Silver Cream - Also known as silver polish, this product is ideal for helping restore tarnished silver cutlery. There are various brands and guides to using silver cream that can be easily found online.

Finding Vintage Solid Silver Cutlery on eBay

Once you determine the type of vintage solid silver cutlery you want to purchase, visit the Antiquespportal on eBay, click on sub-category Silver, then on sub-category Solid Silver and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Solid Silver Cutlery on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for vintage solid silver cutlery. For example, to find a Gregorian silver table knife, type `Gregorian Silver Table Knife´ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tips page for more advice on searching for vintage solid silver cutlery with keywords. If you can’t find the exact piece of cutlery you want, try shopping eBay Stores<.


When making the decision to purchase vintage solid silver cutlery, there are a great many things to consider.  Going into such a venture with proper knowledge can help in making a very rewarding purchase. With proper research, not only can lead to authentic pieces, but can also help in finding the ideal to meet specific needs and preferences. Consider the age, hallmark, and assortment before purchasing a canteen of vintage solid silver cutlery. Once you have collected this information, you can buy a beautiful canteen of vintage solid silver cutlery safely and securely on eBay..

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides