How To Pick Out Silverplate Flatware

Friday, March 15, 2013

Silverplate Treasure Hunt
So you come across a pile of silverware with a sign saying $1 each.
At first glance it's old and dirty ~ yuck!  But don't let first impressions fool you!  
More than likely it may be more than what meets the eye.  
*   *   *
Pick one up, turn it upside down and read the engraving on the back.  
If it's STAINLESS it will say Stainless
If it's STERLING SILVER it will say Sterling (90% of the time)
*If you come across Sterling , BUY IT *
SILVERPLATE can be a little trickier, there are many different halmarks for silver and silverplate.  Some silverplate won't distinguish what it is and you can bet if it doesn't say Sterling or Stainless, more than likely it will be silverplate ~ or coin plate.  Other indicators of silverplate include engravings marked silverplate, plated and e.p.n.s.
*   *   *
OK, now that you know you've got silverplate, 
how do you determine what pieces are good when all of them are so tarnished?
Look at the pieces below, can you determine which piece has it's silver plate worn off?
 Yah!  If you picked the left serving piece you're correct!  
The other pieces are just tarnished and in need of some major TLC!
There are a couple key features to look for when picking out silver plate.
 The white arrows above show where the silver has worn off and now is exposing the core metal.  Polishing these won't get them back to their silver luster.  Pieces this worn are easy to expose ~ it's the ones with subtle wear that are harder to see when they're black from tarnish.  Focus on surface areas most used, for example the handles.  Another key area is highlighted by the dotted line above ~ the surface area that sits on the ground when the utensil is at rest.  Also look for heavy scratching and major dents. 
 And After:

 Happy Hunting!


  1. Michelle, thanks for the concise information about recognizing what to look for when buying old silver. I'm fascinated with the picture of ALL that silver on the table. Where was that? Did you find very many good pieces? Jane

  2. Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts. This site seems to get a good amount of visitors. gold flatware


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