- What is its condition?
- Are there any monograms or other custom engraving?
- What is its weight? (Some pieces have been made in different weights over the years.)
- What is its age? (This is linked to the hallmarks question.)
To me, questions 1 and 2 are extremely important. Questions 3 and 4 are somewhat important. If the piece is in excellent condition with no custom engraving, I won't worry about answers to the last two questions very much.
There are situations where the manufacturing process for a particular pattern changed significantly at some point. I hear this from time to time regarding the purchase of an old line company by a conglomerate. I hear that the quality of some patterns deteriorated at this point. If this is the case, question 4 becomes more important.
Keep in mind that I am in the business of buying and selling sterling flatware. If I was a collector of antique pieces, question 4 might move to the top.
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