Silver Collectibles

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Antique silver collectibles always carry clues of its past. These clues are called "hallmarks." Hallmarks are a silversmith's literal stamp of approval. Hallmarks can tell you the country of origin, often the region, sometimes the date, and occasionally even the name of the silversmith

Silver Collectibles: Hallmarks and Value

Most every piece of antique sterling silver flatware has at least one of these hallmarks. If an item you're interested in does not have a hallmark, it most likely means one of three things: one, it was made outside of England or the United States; two, it's not real silver; or three, the object may be European or American coin silver.

Coin silver, simply put, is that which has as much silver as did coins of the period (900 parts per thousand). Although both European and American silversmiths practiced the art of melting coins to make silverware--from at least the middle of the 16th through to the end of the 19th centuries--only American silver is referred to as "coin silver." European silver, or silver from other countries that meet these specifications, is referred to as .900 silver.

Coin silver collectibles, as stated above, may be authentic, yet carry no hallmark. However, many coin silver pieces do. For most collectors of both coin silver and sterling silver, the more information that's stamped into the object, the better. Without a hallmark, the silver collectibe may just be a pretty piece; with a hallmark, it's a piece of history with a pedigree.


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