Antique silver is gorgeous, boasting a spectacular sheen and fine craftsmanship. There are various pieces available, from silver-plated teapots and sterling flatware to dresser sets and antique jewellery.
If you want to start building your antique silver collection, here are some tips for you.
1. Be Familiar with Your Options
Over the years, thousands of silver and silver plate objects have been manufactured. Starting a collection can be overwhelming, but understanding what’s out there will help you in your search.
2. Focus Your Collection
Rules are non-existent when collecting antique silver, but it is helpful to focus your collection. Choose an object that comes in many variations, such as silver salt cellars from France, Russia, or the Netherlands.
3. Set Your Budget
Your budget may affect your ability to collect silver-plated antiques. Silver-plated items usually cost less than their sterling counterparts due to the value of the silver coating. Rare antique silverware pieces can retail for thousands of dollars.
4. Know the Difference between Silver Content and Silver Plating
There are different types of silver. Antique silvers are solid silver objects, which are uncommon items because of their silver. Therefore, they can be more expensive. The most common silver types today are silver plate and sterling silver. Sterling silver is an alloy with 92.5 per cent silver, while silver plate only has a thin silver coating.
5. Educate Yourself about Silver Marks, Initials, and Symbols
A makers’ mark, also known as a silver hallmark or antique hallmark, is a small stamp or mark on the underside or backside of a piece of silver. This mark was placed on antique jewellery or other precious metal items to indicate who made the piece. Some marks also include a date or location to identify the piece further.
6. Research on Antique Silver
There are several methods to tell if silver is antique. For the most part, older silver objects are more valuable because they’re rarer. However, looking at an item to date can be challenging, to say the least. Sometimes identifying a piece’s hallmark and comparing it to other known marks of the producer is the easiest way to tell how old an item is.
7. Inspect the Item’s Condition
If you’re considering an antique silver piece for your collection, take some time to examine its condition. Things like dents or heavy corrosion can detract from the value of your item. This is why you should avoid them as much as possible. If the item is especially old or rare, it may be worth it to overlook some damage.
8. Look for Monogram Removal Options
Some pieces of jewellery will contain monograms. These engraving can be the original owner’s initials or a significant date for them. Monograms typically bring down the value of an item. That is why you should look for ways to remove the monogram or steer clear away from it.
9. Stay Away from Frankenstein Antique Silver Pieces
Frankenstein or marriage pieces are silver items that use at least two different types of metal. These metals are fused to produce an authentic-looking piece. The combination of metals makes Frankenstein pieces less valuable than real silver pieces.
Start Collecting Antique Silver Pieces
Antique silver is a wonderful collection and one that can last through many generations. It’s expensive, of course, but a worthwhile investment that can be enjoyed and handed down throughout the years.
Regardless of whether you collect antique jewellery or salt shakers, it is important to conduct some research and educate yourself about antique silver. There is a lot to know, but it’s all worth it.
Cavalier Antiques and Restorations is a premier antique shop in Adelaide. We proudly offer premium-quality antique furniture, silverware, jewellery, and more. Browse our shop today!