Collecting Antique Sterling Silver
By Grant Copland
To begin getting into collecting antique sterling silver, you need to know that if it does not say “sterling” then it probably isn't—it is merely silver plating. This labelling of “sterling” on silver items begins after 1860. In earlier times, American silver was quite rare, and was typically marked only with the maker's initials or name. So, knowing these facts lets you distinguish whether or not you are looking at or holding authentic antique sterling silver.
You want to educate yourself about antique sterling silver before trying to collect it. There are many good books that have been written about it, and one of the most highly recommended ones is Seymour B. Wyler's The Book of Old Silver.  Make sure you have at least your basic education before you start putting out money for antique sterling silver pieces, and you should try to own rather than merely borrowing the books you get so that you always have them to refer to.
Once you are educated, you want to make your collecting more organized and more fun by choosing an era, maker, or style and trying to assemble a specialized collection of those pieces of antique sterling silver that fit into your choice. Another thing to consider is if you're going to be using your sterling silver pieces, and if you are is it going to be a once in a while thing or is it going to be a regular occurrence?  This will impact your choice of what to collect; for example, if you are going to want to use your antique sterling silver on holidays then you'll want to collect items with holiday or festive themes. Consider your tastes, your lifestyle, and your home's décor when deciding what group or groups to collect.
Look for the ravishing of time on whatever pieces you are thinking about buying. Signs that an item has seen a lot of use do not necessarily detract from its value. However, actual damage can detract from its value. Be very wary about buying tarnished antique sterling silver items because the tarnish can hide other marks and actual damage. Buying tarnished antique sterling silver can be an economical way of approaching your collecting but at once you want to have your wits about you.
It is perfectly acceptable to match up mixed patterns in your personal antique sterling silver collection. This can give a lot of variation to your collection and make yours truly one of a kind. It also, if done artfully, is very appealing to the eye and can be very interesting.
Copyright 2007,Lemur Holdings Pty Ltd, All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or published without our written permission.
Grant Copland is the owner of


Sponsored Links