Your Guide to Buying a 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

Views 1 Like Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Your Guide to Buying a 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

A 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set can be both beautiful and useful, as it can be used for everyday use, formal dining or display purposes at home. A set, or canteen,, has 16 cutlery pieces to provide a table setting for 4 people with 4 pieces of cutlery each. Typically, an antique solid silver cutlery set should be over 100 years old to qualify as an antique. As such, a 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set is rich in tradition, history and decorative elements. This is an informative guide to help towards purchasing the right set of 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery.

A History of 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery

Cutlery in its oldest form - flint, slate and bone - has been used since the Stone Age. Similarly, silver has been a valued precious metal for about three millennia. A soft and pliable metal, it requires a stronger metal alloy to increase its durability. In twelfth century England, silver was set at a standard 92.5 percent and enforced by government-run 'assay offices'. This standardised silver alloy was called sterling silver, which remained the premium choice for high-quality, lustrous cutlery leading into the modern age.

The 1800s marked the peak of solid silver cutlery production, as Victorian households had a fondness for dining with great luxury and complexity. When World War II arrived, silver production became more expensive and tastes turned minimalist and functional, marking the end of the popularity of solid silver cutlery in most households. 

Discover 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets

A functional 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set can bring a lot to a home dining experience. Made with the highest quality materials, a solid silver cutlery set can be passed down for generations or can continue acquiring value as a collector's item. A 16 piece set is easier to maintain since it has less pieces than a larger canteen. The beauty and craftsmanship of a solid silver cutlery set is meant to be admired, whether it's behind a glass display case or being put to use at the dinner table.

The Parts of a 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

A 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set will consist of 4 eating utensils for each table setting. These components are listed here:

Piece of Cutlery

General Use

Salad fork

A smaller fork used to eat salad and other appetizers before the main course. It often has a more rounded, ornate appearance than its larger counterpart. Outwardly curved tines, the “teeth” of the utensil, are common in older sets.

Dinner fork

A larger fork with longer tines, made for holding and spearing the main course. While the handle may be ornate, the tines are commonly straight and simple.

Dinner knife

A multipurpose table knife that is both sharp enough to cut meat but dull enough to spread butter or sauces.

Teaspoon

A small spoon that would often accompany tea service or be used to enjoy dessert or pastries.

Types of 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets

A 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set is also known as a canteen. There are a few different varieties of canteens available, which are listed here.

Type

Description

Advantages

Considerations

Straight canteen

All components follow the same pattern, are made by the same maker on generally the same date.

Consistent table setting and high value for resale.

More expensive.

Mixed canteen

All components follow the same pattern, although not necessarily the same maker or date.

Consistency for each table setting and cheaper to acquire.

Not a traditional collector's item and won't resell as for as high as a straight canteen.

Eclectic canteen

Anything goes - although usually the main eaters match each other

Variety for the table and lots of history to the cutlery set.

Lacks consistency for each table setting and won't resell together as a set.

Factors to Consider When Buying a 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

There are many things to be considered when buying an antique cutlery set, to make sure it meets the buyer’s needs and expectations. These include:

  • Pattern - if additional pieces are to be added to the 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set, it is best to choose a simpler, more popular cutlery pattern to match up later. More ornate cutlery patterns tend to be harder to find and won't look as consistent on the table.
  • Serving pieces - the table service can be supplemented with some beautiful antique solid silver serving pieces, especially salad and main course servers, which can also be useful.
  • Weight and comfort - a good set of silver cutlery should feel solid, strong and comfortable in the hand, although the perfect weight of cutlery will vary with personal preference.
  • Size - solid silver cutlery may come in Continental, American, or luncheon sizes. Continental is the longest, while luncheon is the shortest.

Some Typical Features of 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets

Cutlery sets will often have defining features. These include:

  1. Case or cutlery roll. A 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set may come in a decorative wooden case, or a tarnish-minimising cloth roll.
  2. Ornate or decorative handles. The design on the handles of a 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set will vary depending on the style period and maker. They can range from very simple to intricately detailed in style. 
  3. Hallmarks. Check the hallmarks on antique solid silver cutlery set for the maker's mark, date and place of manufacture, and silver purity. An antique canteen usually has these 4 stamps or engravings on the handle of each piece. A hallmark guide can be consulted to ensure the authenticity of your antique solid silver cutlery, and avoid replicas that use dies or punches.

How to Care for a 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

Antique solid silver cutlery is often subject to tarnishing over time. The best way to prevent tarnishing is to use, wash and dry the 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set regularly. Storing the cutlery will help reduce the risk, and ideally it should be kept  in a moisture-free drawer, wrapped in a tarnish-minimising cutlery cloth. Silver can be polished by using silver polish on a soft cloth and rubbing to remove the tarnish to restore the silver's lustre. Wash and dry as soon as possible because moisture accelerates tarnishing. Try heavy-duty silver dip on the tines (prongs) of the forks and on intricate handle patterns to remove heavy dirt. Use silver cleaning products in moderation, as it can strip the patina from your 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set.  Use all cleaning products according to their instructions to lessen the risk of damage to the silverware.

Popular Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets Manufacturers

Many makes of antique cutlery are available, here are a few of the more renowned names :

  • Birch and Gaydon
  • Charles Boyton and Sons
  • Atkin Bros
  • Carrington and Co
  • William Hutton and Sons Ltd
  • Thomas Bradbury and Sons Ltd
  • Robert and Belk
  • Mappin and Webb
  • Josiah Williams and Company
  • John Round and Son Ltd
  • John Nowill & Sons

Accessories and Add-ons for a 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

Additional items can be purchased to help maintain or revive antique silver cutlery. These include:

  • Silver polish to restore the luster of silver
  • Silver dip to remove heavy dirt
  • Cutlery storage cloth or bag to store cutlery when it's not in use
  • Soft cloth or cellulose sponge to polish silver

Finding 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets on eBay

Once you determine the type of 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set you want to purchase, visit the Antiques portal on eBay, click on Silver, then Cutlery Sets and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for 16 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for a 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set. For example, to find an antique solid silver cutlery set in King's pattern, type King's pattern 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set’ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tipsppage for more advice on searching for antique solid silver cutlery sets with keywords. If you can’t find the 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set you want, try shopping eBay Stores..

Conclusion

A dining table can be enhanced with the refinement and long-lasting construction of a 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set. A gift for generations to come, solid silver cutlery remains a beautiful addition to any display case or table setting. Considering the various style and manufacturing elements will help the buyer make the correct purchase. Once you have collected this information, you can buy a 16 piece antique solid silver cutlery set safely and securely on eBay..

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