What Is It?
At Sarasota Antique Buyers, we believe all of our customers need to understand silver hallmarks, because we want to make the sale and purchase of silver as easy as possible. These small, esoteric marks are used to indicate the quality of the object; they will also sometimes refer to the maker and place of manufacture. Pure silver is easily bent, so in order to strengthen pieces, the makers would add lesser precious metals into their mixture.
The international standard of silver is 925/1000. Glasgow .925 – Dublin .925 – Edinburgh .925 – Britannia .958. Some European countries like England, France, and Ireland have national standards of what is to be included in silver hallmarks; including when and where they were made, their purity, and in what period they were made. In the United States many different hallmarks and dates were used in some of the larger companies such as:
- Reed and Barton
In addition to these the federal government also dictates the purity standards for coins.
Why are Silver Hallmarks Important?
Using a professional antique buying company is important since they have experience with the many hallmarks used by American makers. Original 17th and 18th century pieces will always have authentic hallmarks, but to the untrained eye, it’s often difficult to differentiate a 19th century copy. We’re here to help you become more knowledgeable!
Knowing how to read hallmarks is imperative in determining the true value of a piece of silver. A professional will be able to read these nebulous symbols and tell you exactly when and where it was made, and by whom.
Here at Sarasota Antique Buyers, we have over 20 years of experience of buying and selling antique silver, for single items or whole collections, both in America and Europe. This affords us a distinct advantage, because we have the in-depth experience needed to read the many antique European hallmarks.
How Hallmarks Will Help You
Whenever you want to buy or sell sterling silver, you have two options to determine the value- work with a professional, or rely on the internet. Obviously, it is always a better idea to work with a licensed professional, since they will be both reliable and accurate. Silver hallmarks can vary greatly from piece to piece, and are frequently difficult to decipher. If you depend on the internet for your information, it may be right, but you lack that guarantee. Also, finding buyers and sellers on the internet that cannot meet with you in person can be a disadvantage, since it is much easier to miss out on the full value, or you may receive a 19th century copy, rather than the 18th century older original. Understanding the difference between English, American, Scottish, Irish and Danish Silver Hallmarks or Silver Maker Marks for example, can make a marked affect on what you put in your pocket.
As stated before, sterling is 92.5% pure silver, with the other 7.5% usually consisting of copper for increased durability. A mark of “925”, “950” or “sterling” on your silver will mean that it is sterling, and therefore, truly valuable. Do not let someone talk you into purchasing an “original” antique if you do not see a hallmark on it, as it will most likely have a higher percentage of non-precious metal compared to the percentage of silver.
How to Get Started in the Tampa Bay Area
For more information on silver hallmarks, or on buying and selling silver antiques, contact us using the form on the right hand side of all of our pages. We purchase both single items and complete collections, and offer a free verbal evaluation on your antiques. We purchase not only around the Tampa area, but within the entire state of Florida.
For a fast and easy verbal appraisal free of charge, contact us today or set up an Appointment!