Tips to Value Gold Plated and Silver Plated Antiques

Marks to Know for Antique Silver-plate and Gold-plate

If you have been trying to sell antique jewelry, you probably have come across terms such as gold-plate and silver-plate. These terms also will be used for other antiques, especially silver-plate as it is quite common. It is important that you know a few things about gold plating and silver plating, and the marks to identify them, as this will help you to know your pieces and assess the value of them before taking them to a dealer for a professional opinion.

Antique Silver-plate and Gold-plate

Plating is a method by which thin layers of fine metals, including gold and silver, are transferred to an object made from another less expensive metal. This is nowadays done by electroplating, although traditionally other methods were used on early antiques.

Understanding Gold Plating Marks

Karats are a way of measuring how much gold there is in a particular item. While it is possible for a piece of fine jewelry to contain less than 10 karats gold, it is lowest amount any jeweler would be willing to accept. A piece of fine gold will have a karat mark on it, if your jewelry does not feature a gold mark stating its weight in karats, it is likely your item is plated or gold filled. These two terms themselves may be impressed upon the jewelry.

How Much is Gold Plate Worth?

Generally, gold-plated pieces are of less interest to buyers, as they have little worth of gold content. However, this does not mean gold plated jewelry should be considered not valuable. Countless vintage and gold-plated pieces jewelry available in the market are desirable. You can know more about the pieces with these marks:

10 KGP: The number 10 states the karat of the plating gold, it may read 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22. KGP is short for Karat Gold Plated.

10 HGE: Again the number states the karat of the plating gold and may read 10, 12, 14, etc. This gold is plated with the help of electrolysis and stands for Karat Gold Electroplated.

24 K Gold Plated: This gold mark indicates the plating layer is of 24K gold.

RGP: Rolled Gold Plated, this is a common mark in antique and vintage jewelry. Rolled plated is similar to gold filled, and these both denote thicker layers of gold plating.

Other marks include the word ‘gold plated’ or ‘gold-plated’ or possibly gold filled, among many additional ones. 

Understanding Silver-Plate

Silver-plate, like gold-plate, has been covered with thin layers of fine silver. Silver-plate has less value than fine silver, but certain antique pieces are still collectible and may have value due to their age, rarity or provenance. Some silver plating marks to watch out for are different because like fine silver, each antique piece would have different marks based on maker, area, and varied by countries.

electroplated Britannia metal.

Electroplated materials might have a mark of EPNS (which stands for electroplated nickel silver, or EPBM (stands for electroplated Britannia metal.)

Other marks to look out for include well-known maker names, cities that these makers would have been in (New York, Hartford, Boston) during the late 19th century or past. Each maker would also have their own hallmark icon, used for fine silver as well, a design around their name mark or a picture that represented them as a trademark. However for silver-plate manufacturers also used generic marks that merely imitated a sterling silver hallmark. A crown is the most common, from the English marks, and other common generic marks include clovers, lions and of course initials to refer to the maker’s name.

Due to the high quantity of reproductions, both over the last 30 years and today, silver plated antique pieces should always be brought to a knowledgeable dealer for valuation. In addition, a dealer can assess gold-plate antique jewelry and tell you their value for reselling. At Sarasota Antique Buyers, we can give you a free consultation.

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