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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Silver Content in Silver Plate Flatware

I recently had some silver plate flatware melted down just to see what the silver content was. Here's a link to the article that summarizes the results: Case Study: How much silver is in silver plate flatware?

Click on any picture to see a larger version. By clicking on "Comments/Questions" below, you can see posted comments and add your own questions and comments. Or, you can send us an email by clicking on "Email Silver Jim" in the right column.


Sharon said...

That is actually more than I would have thought! Of course, most of my silver plate is pretty well worn. I bought some knives (for the handles) and someone had actually tried to scrape the silver off the blades! (Old SS Cambridge)

DC said...

I have a complete set of 1847 Rogers Bros silver plated-? flatware 1S that was bought by my deceased wife in 1971; she passed away in 1982. I have remarried since, in 2003; and I no longer use the silver or have anyone to pass it along to, so I'm trying to determine if it's worth anything....
I took a couple of photos of the set in its' original box & was going to post them on any pertinent website I could find; but I don't see that option on this page.
Could you give me some idea of its' possible value?

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to DC's comment.

I can't say exactly without knowing the pattern. However, most silver plate flatware pieces are worth between fifty cents and two dollars each on the used market. Serving pieces may fetch a bit more.

The "IS" on your pieces means "International Silver" which took over this brand in 1898.

Randy Hitt said...

I have a few nice pieces marked Quadruple plate. I have learned that these pieces are at least 113 years old, one is a gravy bowl, made by Barbour silver co., style #63. The other two are a set, style #173 Forbes quadruple plate.

Would your analysis put the Ag content of Quadruple plate @ a higher %, like 16%? And are these older pieces more valuable than their silver content based on their rarity and quality of craftsmanship?

And one last question is the plated silver recoverable through acid leaching?

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to Randy.

I'm not an expert on silver plate but the following definition is more or less consistent from several sources:

Quadruple plate contains 2 Troy ounces of pure silver per 144 teaspoons. That's 0.0139 Troy ounces per teaspoon. Given that a typical teaspoon weighs about 28 grams, this means that a quadruple plate teaspoon is about 1.5% silver by weight.

The silver plate pieces mentioned in the original post probably had extra plate becaue they were of high quality from Reed and Barton.

Yes, sometimes older pieces are more valuable if they are in excellent condition. However, this is not the case very often.

I don't know the answer to the question about acid leaching.

BTomes said...

I have a set of silver flatware that was passed down to me and I want to know if its worth anything before I try to sell it. The flatware box and on the back of the pieces it reads Nobility Plate. Would this be worth anything?
Thank You,

Silver Jim said...

This is a response t BTomes.

Generally, silver plate pieces are worth a dollar or so on the used market. Hoever, certain patterns might be worth a little more.

I believe Oneida had several "Nobility Plate" patterns so I can't tell for sure.

Ann said...


I have a full set of silver flatware marked with "National Silver A 1". Do you have any information on the value of this set?


Silver Jim said...

This is in response to Ann.

The "A1" indicates that the set is made of silver plate. This is in line with most of the products made by National Silver. Although you haven't stated what the pattern is, there is a good chance that the set does not have a great value, maybe a dollar or two per piece on the resale market. That's the case with most silver plate flatware.

Anonymous said...

I have my grandmother's silverplated silverware that I would love to use but can't because of a strong metal taste to them. Does anyone know how to get the taste out? I have googled it but can't find the answer. thank you in advance.

Silver Jim said...

The only time we have heard of a metallic taste is when a cleaner like Tarn-X has been used.

Maybe others know of other reasons and will leave comments.

lindylou said...

I also inherited a set of silverplate (Wm. Rogers, Deluxe Plate) I can't use because of the metallic taste. I checked with a friend who remember Tarnex being used to clean the whole set on at least one occasion. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the metallic taste?

Silver Jim said...

I don't know what can clean up the metal taste except for repeated hand washing with a mild soap. You might also let it sit out in the air for a while between washings. Whatever it's stored in might need cleaning or airing out.

tom said...

Silver Jim--I have a Poole E.P.C. Old English serving tray with the common 5000 marking but it is followed by a 22. What does the 22 mean or signify? thank yoy, tom

Silver Jim said...

I'm sorry but I don't know what the "22" means.

Maybe someone who knows will see this post and comment.

tom said...

Silver Jim--I have a Poole E.P.C. Old English serving tray with the common 5000 marking but it is followed by a 22. What does the 22 mean or signify? thank yoy, tom

Anonymous said...

i have a set of 1926 elaine pattern tudor plate oneida flateware it is stored in the oneida silver chest that hase three legs is it worth anything

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the question about the "Elaine" set.

Unfortunately, silver plate flatware does not hold its value very well. When sold by an individual, this pattern will probably bring about one dollar per piece, a bit more for serving pieces. This assumes the set is in very good condition.

Janet Schmidtlein said...

Hi I am Janet,

I have a piece that says National silver plate I just googled images of it and found that it is from the King Edward pattern, I just was wanting to know if it is real silver or just plated.

Silver Jim said...

This is a response to the question about National Silver King Edward.

This is a silver plate pattern. A key test is to look for the word, "Sterling", on the backs of forks and spoons. If it's not there, it's highly likely the set is made of silver plate.

Silver Jim said...

This is in response to the question regarding a broken website link. Unfortunately, the site where this link headed,, has gone out of business. I'll come up with something else for referral. Sorry for the problem. Jim