Sampling American Antique Sterling Silver
By Grant Copland
 
Lets imagine that we are going over samples of American antique sterling silver pieces. Picture these items in your minds eye. Picture yourself picking them up and turning them around and over...
 
Finding American antique sterling silver pieces is no easy task. There is not a lot of it as compared to UK sterling silver and European sterling silver. So, we have come upon some true gems here in our imaginary American sterling silver auction house. But this place does give us a good sampling of what we can find with diligent searching.
 
First we come across a piece that is relatively new for being an antique, but it is nonetheless beautiful. It is a childs porringer. The card says it measures 4 inches in diameter by 6 inches long. Made by the company Reed & Barton in 1941, the handle has a low relief engraving showing a dancing pig performing with a jelly-bellied clown. Very charming. Sterling silver making was about to go out of style around this time because of greatly increased labor costs due to the war.
 
Next we come upon a piece that is far older. A pair of saltcellars hallmarked 1825 by William Adams of New York. These are of 2 inches in diameter. Sitting on three legs, they have gilded interiors and are engraved with Repoussé floral patterns. There are in addition to the hallmarks and dating two monograms on each member of the pair. One is an H and it sits over a JB on one side. These pieces could be very useful as tableware.
 
Next we come upon something a little more recent but absolutely gorgeous. It is a water ewer, a quite large one. The card says it is in fact 14 inches tall. This one is hallmarked Stieff and dated to 1916, and monogrammed under the lip of the spout. The decorations are elaborate. A Repoussé floral design covers the entire body of the ewer. Apparently this particular engraving work is called a Baltimore Rose. This example of American antique sterling silver is quite dramatic and technically very impressive. We are told that this piece has a Troy weight of 43 ounces, making it worth a great deal of money.
 
We walk along and next come to something once again on the older (for America) side. It is a 3 inch-high mustard pot. Turning it over it is hallmarked J.E. Caldwell & Son of Philadelphia and dated to 1848. More Repoussé floral designs like with the previous pieces crawl across the entire oval form of the body, playing across a fine hammered ground. The pot has a hinged dome lid. There is a monogram on this piece, too, from a later period, a Gothic script with 1880 beside it on the bottom. This piece has a Troy weight of four ounces.
 
These are just a few of the examples of American antique sterling silver that one can add to ones collection.
 
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