Real antique American silverware is inscribed with the word “sterling” inscribed on it if it is made of real silver. Makers began marking the silverware with the designation “sterling” in 1860 and continued doing so from that date forward.
Silverware manufacturers usually marked silverware with the maker’s name or initials. The silverware also was marked with the inscription “925” which is the ideal alloy of silver and copper. For practical purposes, sterling silverware lasts forever.
Antique silver-plated flatware is marked with the company, or makers name and also such designations as “A-1” or “quadruple-plate” to indicate how many layers of plating are applied on it. In contrast to silverware, silver-plated flatware lasts for approximately 20 years. Silver-plated flatware has no value regardless of its age.
When collecting antique silverware the collector should identify a specific style or pattern that appeals to him personally and search for that type. It’s best to collect this silverware from only a specific era to realize maximum selling value.
Real silverware lasts forever when it is taken care of properly. The collector should plan to use silverware from his collection at any time he wishes to add historical significance, elegance and beauty to a meal.