Dating epns silver
Until the s, the symbol for the silversmith was often a plant or an animal suggesting the family name. Today, initials are used. American marks weren't enforced as systematically and were therefore never as elaborate. Early coin silver was often marked with the maker's name, and nothing else; sometimes it doesn't show even that.
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Unmarked objects, of course, present the greatest mystery. Eventually, manufacturers also started using the word coin.
With the adoption of the sterling standard after the Civil War, silversmiths continued to stamp their own names on the back, along with the word sterling or the number Some companies used symbols as a commercial logo. The Gorham company's mark was a row of three emblems: Some American silversmiths mimicked British hallmarks to lend their wares prestige -- rather than to convey specific information.
Silver plate has its own codes in the United States and abroad. The maker or company name is usually stamped on the back of the piece along with an indication that it's plated: By industry practice, AA has one-third again as much silver used in the plating as does A1. Like faux hallmarks, the terms "sterling inlaid" and "silver soldered" attempt to improve their status by association, here, with sterling silver. Learning to distinguish plate from sterling and American from European silver is a good starting point.
Beyond that, you will have to do your homework; even the experts rely on books. Three volumes cover the most ground for a beginner: It's a good idea to bring a small, cheap jeweler's loupe when you go shopping.
I need one for house sales held early in the morning or for those where the tableware has been relegated to a garage illuminated by a single lightbulb. With silver marks, it's a tiny world, so it's best to come prepared. American Solid Silver Early U. Brown manufactured this sterling piece, as indicated by the name, but the hallmarks that follow are bogus, imitating the English system because of its cachet.
On a spoon handle marked with the maker Crosby, Honnewell, and Morse is the number -- a code for sterling. Nonsterling American Marks A wide range of symbols were used by U. A1 and AA These discreet markings indicate the number of ounces of pure silver used in the plating: EPNS Electroplated nickel silver, or EPNS, is an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc that's covered with a layer of pure silver in an electrochemical process. Nickel's resemblance to silver helps disguise any worn spots in the plating. Venetian Silver This flatware made of a blend of silver and base metals is solid, not plated, but has a much lower silver content than either sterling or coin; it carries pseudo hallmarks.
Treble Plate Three layers of silver plating were applied to a base metal during manufacturing. Hotel A few big companies, such as Oneida, produced large orders of silver plate for hotels.
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Silver Soldered This is another slightly cryptic way of saying silver-plated. Sterling Inlaid Advertising itself as sterling, this mark for silver plate is perhaps the most deceptive.
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Even some dealers are fooled. Pictorial Marks The tiny diamond on this Brown and Bros.
International Silver Marks vary by country and require considerable research just to determine whether a piece is sterling. China Early Asian sterling is marked with Asian characters. This sterling spoon from the former British colony of Hong Kong, however, is obviously geared toward English speakers.
Poland This piece from Warsaw proclaims its origin but says nothing about its silver content.
Germany At top, the slash marks on the back of this spoon identify the piece as German; another clue is the shield with the eagle. At bottom, 90 is a standard marking for silver plate. England Elkington and Co.
The Language of Silver Marks
Elkington deleted the "crown" from its mark in In this case, being known the date letters of Elkington, we can date exactly the two marks. That in the left with the crown is That on the right without the crown is The "LD" indicates that the piece was made after that date. The "LTD" indicates that the piece was made after that date.
In this case the date is July 26, This is not the date of manufacture of the piece popular model continued to be manufactured for many years but signifies that it was made after this date.
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In this case the number was registered in Much of its production was exported, especially to the United States. From left to right the evolution of William Adams' mark: The piece can reasonably be dated c.