Quantcast Is It Sterling or Is It Silver Plated? or How Can I Tell If My Silver Flatware Is Sterling Silver or Plated?

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Is It Sterling or Is It Silver Plated? or How Can I Tell If My Silver Flatware Is Sterling Silver or Plated?

Sterling Silver flatware manufactured in America after 1849 is ALWAYS stamped with one or the following markings:

  • The word STERLING stamped on it
  • 925 stamped on it
  • STER stamped on it.
If, for example, your flatware is stamped "Wm & Rogers" and "IS", it is not sterling silver. The IS merely indicates "International Silver" which was the company that actually manufactured the set. Because the pieces have no stamping to indicate Sterling, they most definitely are NOT sterling. Manufacturers never neglected to mention the word Sterling on their pure silver sets, while they always "neglected" to mention the lack of purity on mere plated material.

British sterling carries 4-5 stamped hallmarks identifying the company, the location, date of manufacture, etc. These can be matched with photos in the silver hallmark database (google it). Similarly, American manufacturers employ hallmarks or sponsor's marks that can be identified by matching photos.

The first patent for silver plating was issued in 1840. Older pieces are sterling, although they may not be stamped as such.

Some of the early makers of silverplate flatware were Rogers Bros, Rogers & Bros. FB Rogers Silver, Wm Rogers, the Meriden Britannia Company, Middletown Plate Co. (Superior Silver Company) and others. Many of these names were used well into the 20th century. In 1898, this group of companies formed the International Silver Company.

Some of the silverplate manufacturers also released sterling patterns, but these are stamped "sterling," whereas the plate is not. Many of the sterling pattern numbers are recorded in a database or databases.

Some of the stamps used to distinguish silverplated tableware are: IS (International Silver), IC, Brittania, EPNS (Electical Plated Nickle Silver), A1, Triple Plate, 3x, Quadruple Plate, 4x, Silver on Copper, EP, EP on Copper, and a whole host of initial and pictorial marks that can be matched with pictures in the silverplate database.

Myth #1: Silverplate is magnetic; silver is not. In truth, neither is magnetic. Stainless steel shows varying degrees of magnetism.

Myth #2: Silverplate doesn't tarnish like genuine silver. In truth, both will tarnish, because both are genuine silver. The difference is, sterling is sterling silver all the way through; plate only has a thin skin of silver over a base metal. Stainless steel doesn't tarnish.

What's Silver-Plate Worth?

Silverplate has no scrap value. Even the thickest plate is only about .20mm (8/1000th of an inch) thick, and refineries won't buy it because the process of reclaiming silver from plate is too expensive.

This article has been read 130367 times. Last read on 9/27/2023 12:55:17 AM

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