A Masterpiece In Silverplate

Often people mistake silverplate for “real” silver. The quality of  silverplate can come in a range. Some items are simply white metal and not silver at all. Some pieces are light electroplate. But many are old, very heavy electroplate that is not discernible from silver to the eye of a non-expert.

When a local retired couple came into our office carrying a monstrous hot water kettle the size of a 3 year old child,
our eyes lit up. Done in beautiful repoussé, this is one of the largest hot water kettles we have ever seen. It even had the original tilting mechanism and the original burner beneath!

Is It Sterling Or Silverplate?

At first glance it looks like sterling silver (real silver), but it seemed a bit too “stiff,” since solid silver is rather soft. We noticed some copper bleed on the high spots that indicated some slight reddish hues. (This is actually something that  is sought after by a certain subset of collectors of silverplate.)

masterpiece kettle

Our final confirmation was the British hallmarks. British hallmarks (look them up online) are very specific as
to composition, year, city and maker; and the hallmarks, while worn out on the main large bottom piece were quite
clear on the lid portion (British law insists on each piece being marked).

While 99% of silverplate is worth a few cents to a few dollars per item, a piece such as this (because it was made circa 1899 and incredibly large) would bring $800 to $1,000 at auction.

Since the entire bottom of this piece had been replaced, due to constant use and heavy heat, we offered a mere $350 for it. The family decided to keep it as a decorative item due to that small amount.

Go ahead, Google us: see why the U.S. Bankruptcy Court,
USF, the Shriners, The St. Petersburg Museum of History
and MOSI have trusted us to liquidate fine art and antiques.
Always buying rare and valuable items.
Cash or auction. We make house calls statewide.

This is an archival article formerly written and is for informational purposes only. The valuations in this article have likely changed since it was first written.

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