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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are Pieces with Old Hallmarks More Valuable?

Sometimes my answers are frustrating to readers and this one is no exception because the answer is, "It depends!" Here are some questions I ask myself when I'm considering buying a piece of sterling flatware, comparing it to other pieces in the same pattern. The questions are in order of importance to me.
  1. What is its condition?
  2. Are there any monograms or other custom engraving?
  3. What is its weight? (Some pieces have been made in different weights over the years.)
  4. 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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john said...

Dear Sir,
A friend has a number of spoons from Europe. Each has the initials f the manufacture and a two digit number. Example: BSK 50 kwb90

Can the silver content of spoons like this be determined?

Silver Jim said...

I'm sorry but I do not know the answer.

Maybe another reader does and will leave a comment.