Your Guide to Buying a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

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Your Guide to Buying a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

For those looking to give their dining experience a boost in class and refinement, nothing can match having an elegant 24-piece set of solid silver cutlery.. The long standing myth that silver cutlery is too expensive or too difficult to maintain has been receding in recent years, making this the perfect time to discover exactly what makes silver cutlery so special. Anyone wanting to buy a set of antique solid silver cutlery should carefully consider the design, make, mark, age and condition of the set to find one to suit their particular style, budget and needs. Advice on all these aspects can be found within this guide, helping buyers proceed with purchasing a 24-piece antique solid silver cutlery set with confidence.

History of 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets

The modern idea of silver cutlery including a fork,, knife and spoon was actually only adopted in Europe in the mid-17th century. The creation and popularisation of the fork can be linked to Italian nobility who then passed the custom on to France and eventually England. Until that moment, cutlery simply referred to a knife and most meals were consumed using only a spoon, knife and/or hands.

Eventually English silversmiths created a silver standard that would be strictly enforced by an Assay Office, a mixture of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent other alloys, though usually this was copper. The mixture helped offset the soft nature of silver without compromising its value with cheaper metals. Each piece now contained a unique marking, known as a hallmark, that identified the piece as being sterling while also identifying the manufacturer.

As silver cutlery developed, certain manufacturers began to create magnificent objects that reflected the wealth and prestige of their owners. Eventually handmade silver cutlery gave way to cutlery produced and stamped in dies. Most modern cutlery is produced from stainless steel, which proved to be a cheaper although far less elegant material.

Discover 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets

Perhaps the most obvious benefit a 24-piece antique silver cutlery set can offer is a combination of both style and uniformity. Matching sets, or a canteen of cutlery as it’s also known, can add elegance to a meal or to a display. As for the material of pieces, silver is often considered the best material for cutlery as it does not react to the acids in most foods and manages to maintain a beautiful exterior so long as it is cared for.

A full set of cutlery can also last for generations and can be an investment item. Handing these canteens through generations can create a sense of history, tradition and continuity within a family. A set of 24 pieces is also enough to cater for a large family meal.

Parts of a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

A set of 24 solid silver cutlery is something called a `double canteen´. The double canteen is twice the size of a full canteen and comes with three distinct mixes of pieces. These mixes often determine the true value of a canteen and can include:

Part

Description

Straight Canteen

A straight canteen is a set that contains complete uniformity in its individual pieces. This means the set has the same pattern, maker, and year. This dramatically increases its value.

Mixed Canteen

A mixed canteen is a little less uniform than a straight canteen, but still maintains a uniform pattern. In this case the marker and date can be very different.

Eclectic Canteen

An eclectic canteen Is the most jumbled option available. In this case different styles, makers and dates can be assembled together.

Types of Pieces found in a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

A standard double canteen normally has twelve knives and twelve matching forks. However if additional pieces are desired, there are a great deal of beautiful and unique pieces that can give a canteen a touch of originality.

Type

Description

Table Fork

A simple four pronged fork that comes in many different styles.

Table Knife

Table knives were originally produced separately from forks and spoons, and had handles made from ivory or bone.

Serving Spoons

These large spoons were common serving instruments and are also known as `tablespoons´.

Serving instruments

These pieces ranged from cake servers to salad claws and are some of the more opulent and expensive pieces.

Dessert Cutlery

The desert spoon, knife and fork were all smaller scaled versions of their table versions that were ideal for desserts, tea-time treats and soft pastries.

Factors to Consider When Buying 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Sets

There are many factors to consider when buying a cutlery set, primarily whether it suits particular tastes and styles.  As a set can be an investment it is important to get the decision right, and these are some factors that should be considered:

  • Time – Buying a double canteen can be a very expensive proposition; another option is to collect pieces over a long period of time. Although more time consuming and risky as all the pieces will need to be found, it can be rewarding and more economical.
  • Cost – This is down to the individual buyer. The more rare pieces will be more expensive, and items can be found to suit all budgets.
  • Style – There are a great deal of styles of double canteen available. Personal taste and the environment the canteen will be used in will probably dictate the decision to purchase a very ornate or simple set, or something in-between.
  • Straight, mixed or eclectic - Buyers must consider whether they want complete uniformity in their collection or if irregularities in hallmarks, dates and even styles would have its own appeal.

Typical Features of a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

Each canteen of solid silver cutlery contains a variety of features that enhance its value and beauty. Learning to discern the difference between these features can go a long way in helping determine the true value of any prospective set.

Pattern

A unique pattern can help a silver cutlery set stand out, giving it unique character through skilled craftsmanship. Likewise something plain and simple might showcase the elegance and simplicity of a truly well-made piece. Everything from the handle to the style of the blade or the indent in the spoon can help create a sense of cohesion to a canteen.

Hallmark

A unique hallmark can be worth its weight in silver. Certain manufacturers are much more sought after for their exclusivity and attention to detail. Certain straight sets are sure to lend a canteen prestige that might otherwise be missing. Other hallmarks may have an interesting crest that can add to the style of a piece.

Age

A well-aged, but well-maintained, piece of silver cutlery can add a certain level of value to a canteen. When searching for antiques, the difference between an 18th century and 20th century canteen can be quite costly, although an older set may provide a greater sense of history.

How to Care for a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set

Frequent use can help cutlery avoid tarnishing, as handling the cutlery inadvertently polishes it. However with a set of this size, frequent use is probably rare so more hands-on methods may be needed to keep silver cutlery looking its best. Safe and dry storage is advised, although the canteen itself may provide this.

If cutlery appears to be yellow or golden, it requires a simple polishing to return it to its natural colour. General examination and upkeep of cutlery will ensure that more serious damage does not occur. Even when it is not in use, silver cutlery needs to be cleaned and polished to avoid slow deterioration through oxidation.

It is best to gently clean silver cutlery by hand in warm soapy water. If that proves insufficient, a quick application of silver dip can easily return tarnished cutlery to a more gleaming state. Any cleaning cloths used should be non-abrasive and any cleaning solutions should be only used with careful consideration and attention, as incorrect use can damage the cutlery and may also prove hazardous.

Local repair companies are best contacted for more serious damage. If the plating is damaged or if serious dents, scratches, and bends occur, it is best to leave such repairs up to a professional. Many of these companies can be easily found online.

Popular 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set Manufacturers

The thing that differentiates the many manufacturers of solid silver cutlery is their unique hallmark. The hallmark can help in discovering if a set is a rare gem or more common. Some of the most well-known and manufactures 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

For those looking to keep silver cutlery looking like new, there are several options that can help prevent it from tarnishing:

  • Flannel Bags. This specially designed bag is a cheaper alternative to a canteen case. Made from a unique fabric that keeps silver safe, this bag can help protect from tarnishing.
  • Silver cream, also known as silver polish, is a product that can help keep minor tarnishing from ruining silver cutlery. This product is simple enough to find and easily keeps silver sparkling without too much effort.
  • Canteen cases are solid wooden cases that can hold an entire double canteen, keeping them sealed and safe for future use, with every piece held securely. Some of these cases are quite valuable and can add significantly to the cost of a canteen.

Finding a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set on eBay

Once you determine the type of 24 piece antique solid silver cutlery you want to purchase, visit the Antiques portal on eBay, click on sub-category `silver´ then the 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 a 24 Piece Antique Solid Silver Cutlery Set on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for solid silver cutlery. For example, to find a 24 piece dognose pattern cutlery set, type `24 piece dognose pattern cutlery set´ 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 24 piece antique solid silver cutlery with keywords. If you can’t find the exact piece of cutlery you want, try shopping eBay Stores..

Conclusion

The decision to purchase a 24 piece set of antique solid silver cutlery is something that should be done with careful consideration. The sheer volume of different kinds of silver cutlery can seem daunting at first, but with careful research buyers can easily gain a strong grasp of exactly what suits their needs. Understanding the various hallmarks, patterns, and methods of care for antique solid silver will help make the purchasing process easier. Once you have collected this information, you can buy a 24 piece set of antique solid silver cutlery safely and securely on eBay..

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