Silver Tea Sets

My grandmother loved her silver tea service I think sometimes better than us kids. She kept it polished and tarnish free and could tell you the services complete history. I don't know how much it was worth but Ill be it was a bundle. I learned a lot about antiques from my grandmother and one thing she always said was "caveat emptor" or let the buyer beware. Silver tea sets are one of the most commonly re-reproduced "antique" and it is hard for anyone but an expert to spot the differences.

There are a number of things that you can look for however to help you spot a reproduction. The first thing you have to do is to find out if the piece is really silver. If it is the number 925 should be stamped somewhere on the plate indicating that the silver content is 92.5. If there is a manufacturers named stamped on it then it is probably silver plate. Be aware that some unscrupulous reproducers will stamp a 925 on the plate to fool the unsuspecting customers.

If you're looking for a hallmark to determine if it is a genuine antique don't bother. In the first place most of the silver tea sets made in North America do not have hallmarks and some forgers will actually stamp a hallmark on to fake its genuineness. The presence or lack of a hallmark means relatively nothing.

One thing that is vital to understand is that silver tea sets have altered over time. If you know the particular style of lettering and decorations of the period that the piece claims to be from it will make identifying a fraud much easier. Reproductions are different matter as they can and do copy certain styles. Silver tea sets are almost always kept in set simply because the entire sets value is much more than the individual pieces are collectively.

Once you have determined the authenticity of the silver tea set, you will have to determine what it is worth. Even if the seller tells you it has been appraised it is always best to hire you own appraiser and someone who has been certified by the American Society of Appraisers, which is the organization that trains and sets the standards for professional appraisers. Two things to be aware of when dealing with appraisers however. If you are dealing with an internet appraiser, stop. An appraisal is nearly impossible to make from just a photo, no matter how detailed. The second thing is to make sure your appraiser is not a dealer in silver or even antiques.