Antique silver dating marks
With silver marks, it's a tiny world, so it's best to come prepared. Electroplated nickel silver, or EPNS, is an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc that's covered with a layer of pure silver in an electrochemical process.Nickel's resemblance to silver helps disguise any worn spots in the plating. (top), located in Birmingham, was Britain's biggest plate manufacturer and the world's first producer of electroplate."Sterling" alone means solid sterling silver; if other words accompany it, beware.Learning to distinguish plate from sterling and American from European silver is a good starting point.The spoon at center is sterling, as the four hallmarks indicate.Celtic Quality Plate (bottom) is nothing more than a brand name of electroplated wares.
Until the 1500s, the symbol for the silversmith was often a plant or an animal suggesting the family name. American marks weren't enforced as systematically and were therefore never as elaborate.By industry practice, AA has one-third again as much silver used in the plating as does A1.Like faux hallmarks, the terms "sterling inlaid" and "silver soldered" attempt to improve their status by association, here, with sterling silver.The question I hear most often at antiques shows is, How do you know whether something is silver?
People aren't necessarily looking only for sterling; they just want to know what they're buying.
This applies to hollowware -- such as cups, bowls, teapots, and vases -- too.