We love to buy silver items. We are experts in silver and are happy to purchase antique or modern English hallmarked items, as well as other sterling silver and continental silver pieces.
English silver, with very few exceptions, will be hallmarked. You should expect to see four or sometimes five stamps. There will always be a lion passant (see below), an assay office stamp, a date letter, and, usually, a maker’s mark; there may also be a monarch’s head. Very few people can remember all date letters for each assay office (they have thankfully now started using the same date letter as a uniform code), but we can usually tell the age of your piece(s) if we can view them or if you send us photographs or we can look up the exact year of manufacture from the date letter.
Here is a typical hallmark (on a cigarette case), it shows the lion passant sterling mark (denoting a silver content of 925 parts in 1000); the leopard’s head mark for the London assay office; the date letter C for 1977; the maker’s mark SJR for S J Rose & Son; and, in this case, Queen Elizabeth II head since it was the silver jubilee year.
Other marks to silver may include the stamp STERLING or STERLING SILVER or 925 (or 9.25) these are usually later pieces or sometimes American but have the same silver content as the hallmarked items. European silver is usually slightly lower grade and may be marked 900 or 800 (indicating 900 and 800 parts of silver in every 1000) and some countries have their own specific hallmark stamps.
Be careful! Over the years, many items of silver plate have been stamped with cartouches that have been made to look like those of the hallmark. You must always look for the lion passant, and the assay office mark. The letters EPNS (even if fancily stamped in beautiful little chamferred boxes) ALWAYS means the item is silver plated (electro-plated nickle silver). Silverplate would never have the same value as a solid silver piece of the same magnitude and often has little or no value. This is a bit of a minefield and, if you’re in any doubt, get in touch with us via one of the ‘contact us’ methods on our website postscriptantiques.co.uk
That said, this stunning inkwell in the shape of Queen Victoria, made to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 is silver plate. When we bought it, the plating was very worn and the crown (which lifts to reveal the inkwell itself) had a broken hinge. We had it repaired and re-plated and it ended up in this, quite stunning condition!
We have bought tens of thousands of silver items including several complete and important collections from private estates. We are well placed to help you sort the wheat from the chaff and make serious offers on any quantity.
Of course, silver, in common with all precious metals, has intrinsic metal value and we are happy to buy broken silver, gold and platinum items at the best possible scrap prices.
Here are some items we have purchased in the past – if you have anything similar, you could be sitting on some treasure!
Here is a superb, large Freedom Casket. Notice the gold colour; this is because the whole thing has been gilded (electroplated) with real gold. It is a substantial item weighing 48 ounces and dating from 1879.
Freedom caskets were made to house the papers presented to those given freedom of a particular city and are widely collected. (This one has probably had the original owner’s name removed by polishing or else was never presented as they are rarely found without engraving.)
This is a supremely exquisite and rare Art Nouveau silver tea caddy spoon by the famous designer Archibald Knox and produced by Liberty & Co in his well loved Cymric range and hallmarked for 1901 at the Birmingham assay office. We sold this small spoon for a sum in excess of £500 so keep your eyes open!
Caddy spoons were used to blend tea in mixing bowls kept in tea caddies. Tea was so highly prized that it was kept in locked caddies to keep the servants from stealing it! Many tea making items – caddy spoons, caddies, tea services etc were produced in silver and are all highly sought by collectors.
A superb hallmarked English silver cream jug modeled as a Chinaman with his ponytail forming the handle and his hat the spout.
A silver guilloche green enameled powder compact dating from the 1920s. The silver is repetitively engine turned to create the pattern and the enamel is applied afterwards.
A beautiful C J Vander silver gilt honey pot. While it only dates from 1976, it is by a leading silversmith and of exquisite quality.
Here is part of a large collection of silver (and other items) purchased from an estate in Cornwall. Post Script Antiques was very pleased to pay a five figure sum for this collection which enabled the beneficiaries to release some money before the sale of the property.