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What are some of basic things that we should look for in determing whether an item is actually Antique Silver?

How can we know when an item is actually antique silver? What are some of the best ways to determine the actual age of such items?
Why is it not a good idea to invest in antique silver before you have done your home work on the item?
Finally, tell us your approach to understanding antiques silver that is of value and that which is not.
We want get as much input this question as possible, please feel free to tell what you know!

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Replies to This Discussion

I always start with the marks, Of course if it is British or European that is the easy one.
My approach to understanding the value of silver starts with the knowledge that I have retained over the years, also what is hot and what is not, maker, Designer, age, and foremost Quality of the piece.For example ,Amount of silver used for the size of the item..
Hi Carolyn! Your approach to uncovering information on silver is just wonderful. You say more in just a few words than many are able to say with whole pages of instructions. I'm sure that many who read this post will benefit from it.
I anything else comes to mind about how you deal with researching silver, please feel free to come back and put it on the wall.
It seems logical to never stop studying the things we love. For me, antique silver is truely a pleasure to collect and to study. Thank you for your response. Rescuelife.
Rescue, click on this site. Visit it. Bookmark it for future use. Enjoy.http://www.925-1000.com/americansilver__Unk.html
Thank you for that wonderful suggestion to view that site. I collect over 2000 pieces of silver over the last 10 years and you should see some of them. they are hallmarked .
I have collected silver as well. It is the feel of the piece and the overall "look" that usually determines if I like or buy. Everything else is secondary.

However I am not an expert and it will be fun to see just how well I did or didn't do. I find photographing silver to be difficult. I will save most of my silver for last but I have a recent find from a box lot that will need cleaning. I think I'll put up a before and after picture whenever I can to share. It will be fun to let everyone tell me how they think I did. Blessings be yours everyone!
You and others like you who are willing to take some timeout to share what you can find out is what makes this website so great. Thank you for your reply and If you have any questions that relate to anything that I may help you with, please feel free to ask.
I seek and appreciate any and all input that you might supply. thank you again.
I should have replied a long time ago.
I got started in antique research by studying silver hallmark and I can never veiw enough of these mark in my quest.
Your help is certainly welcomed.
OK, not my best stuff but one that was mixed in a box of old things I picked up recently. I haven't had time to look at it to closely so hopefully we can do it together. Later I will try and clean (It really needs it!) and repost the after picture. This is probably old news for most everyone here but there are new people looking as well.

I found the feet or legs a bit odd. Anyone notice anything?
Not much closer to mark but a little bit.
Intenational Silver Co
7253 Joanna

My guess is plate since quick search on net has alot of wilcox plate. need more time.
You are certainly right! This photo demonstrates the best starting point for antique study. Congredulation on a job well done.
I would also add, You should become arware of patterns use on the outer top sections as well.


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