SILVER CANTEENS- AN INTRODUCTION

The age of dinner parties and formal dining at home may not be as popular as it once was.  However, services of silver cutlery (also known as flatware) are much in demand.  Some services can sell for over £10,000 and most 12 place setting services are worth many £1000’s.

The recent rise in price is partly a result of the recession.  This may sound odd, but during the recession, the price of silver increased so much that many services of silver cutlery were melted down as they were worth almost double their ‘object value’ as scrap.

If you have a service of flatware or collection of silver cutlery that you would like to sell or have valued then we can help.  This guide will act as a good starting point, helping you understand what to look for and why prices can vary so much.

The age of dinner parties and formal dining at home may not be as popular as it once was.  However, services of silver cutlery (also known as flatware) are much in demand.  Some services can sell for over £10,000 and most 12 place setting services are worth many £1000’s.

The recent rise in price is partly a result of the recession.  This may sound odd, but during the recession, the price of silver increased so much that many services of silver cutlery were melted down as they were worth almost double their ‘object value’ as scrap.

If you have a service of flatware or collection of silver cutlery that you would like to sell or have valued then we can help.  This guide will act as a good starting point, helping you understand what to look for and why prices can vary so much.

What affects the value of your silver canteen?

What affects the value of your silver canteen?

silver hallmark

Hallmarks

The first and most important matter is to understand if you silver cultery is indeed sterling silver or if it is silver plate.  Silver plated flatware or cultery is very low in value no matter what the quality or quantity.

If you don’t know whether or not your service is made of sterling silread about how to read a hallmark here.  You can also email images of the marks on your silver cutlery and we will be happy to advise you.

Straight service or harlequin service?

The next important factor is whether or not you have what is know as a ‘straight service’ or a ‘harlequin service.  

A straight service means that every piece of your silver cutlery has the same marks.  This implies that it has always been together and has not been added to over the years.  

A harlequin service is a service of silver cutlery which has been made up over the years and contains various dates and makers despite all being the same pattern.

silver hallmark

Hallmarks

The first and most important matter is to understand if you silver cultery is indeed sterling silver or if it is silver plate.  Silver plated flatware or cultery is very low in value no matter what the quality or quantity.

If you don’t know whether or not your service is made of sterling silread about how to read a hallmark here.  You can also email images of the marks on your silver cutlery and we will be happy to advise you.

Straight service or harlequin service?

The next important factor is whether or not you have what is know as a ‘straight service’ or a ‘harlequin service.  

A straight service means that every piece of your silver cutlery has the same marks.  This implies that it has always been together and has not been added to over the years.  

A harlequin service is a service of silver cutlery which has been made up over the years and contains various dates and makers despite all being the same pattern.

Pattern

The pattern of your silver cutlery is also an important factor as some designs are rarer than others.  The most common patterns are:

Kings Pattern
Queens Pattern
Old English Pattern
Hanoverian Pattern
Fiddle Pattern
Fiddle Thread and Shell Pattern
Fiddle and Thread Pattern

Art Deco style services like this are now very sought after by collectors.
Art Deco style services like this are now very sought after by collectors.

Pattern

The pattern of your silver cutlery is also an important factor as some designs are rarer than others.  The most common patterns are:

Kings Pattern
Queens Pattern
Old English Pattern
Hanoverian Pattern
Fiddle Pattern
Fiddle Thread and Shell Pattern
Fiddle and Thread Pattern

Art Deco style services like this are now very sought after by collectors.
Art Deco style services like this are now very sought after by collectors.
A very extensive place setting of silver cutlery - note how many different types of knife, fork and spoon there are.  Some of the items are serving implments and the inclusion of such pieces is a good selling point.
A very extensive place setting of silver cutlery – note how many different types of knife, fork and spoon there are. Some of the items are serving implments and the inclusion of such pieces is a good selling point.

Number of Place Settings

The number of place settings is the next factor to look for.  As a general rule the minimum number of place settings is 6 – this means that there is a service of silver cutlery for 6 people.  As the number increases the value also increases.  We have sold 36 place services of silver cutlery for customers in the past, but such high numbers are not common.  The most common, and also most popular, is a 12 place setting.

Number of pieces

A basic service of silver cutlery may only contain a table fork, table knife and dessert spoon.  However, some services contain up to 20 items per place setting and may contain:

Table knives
Dessert forks
Dessert knives
Dessert spoons
Soup spoons
Fish forks

Fish knives
Butter knives
Teaspoons
Coffeespoons

A very extensive place setting of silver cutlery - note how many different types of knife, fork and spoon there are.  Some of the items are serving implments and the inclusion of such pieces is a good selling point.
A very extensive place setting of silver cutlery – note how many different types of knife, fork and spoon there are. Some of the items are serving implments and the inclusion of such pieces is a good selling point.

Number of Place Settings

The number of place settings is the next factor to look for.  As a general rule the minimum number of place settings is 6 – this means that there is a service of silver cutlery for 6 people.  As the number increases the value also increases.  We have sold 36 place services of silver cutlery for customers in the past, but such high numbers are not common.  The most common, and also most popular, is a 12 place setting.

Number of pieces

A basic service of silver cutlery may only contain a table fork, table knife and dessert spoon.  However, some services contain up to 20 items per place setting and may contain:

Table knives
Dessert forks
Dessert knives
Dessert spoons
Soup spoons
Fish forks

Fish knives
Butter knives
Teaspoons
Coffeespoons

Weight

The weight of the service is also important as silver has an intrinsic value in itself.  We ask for the weight so we can ascertain the quality or gauge of the items.  Some table forks may weigh as little as 50g, some may weigh over 400g!

If you can provide a weight of just one item then we would ask for the weight of the table fork as this is normally the heaviest item.  

In an ideal world we would ask for the weight of one place setting.  This means the combined weight in grams of one of each item from the service.

Canteen

Technically a canteen is a container for a service of silver flatware or silver cutlery.  If your service of silver cutlery is contained within a canteen then it may add a slight premium depending on the quality of the canteen.  You can always provide an image of the canteen for us to asses if you like.

A wonderful Queen Anee style canteen containing an extensive service of silver flatware.
A wonderful Queen Anee style canteen containing an extensive service of silver flatware.

Weight

The weight of the service is also important as silver has an intrinsic value in itself.  We ask for the weight so we can ascertain the quality or gauge of the items.  Some table forks may weigh as little as 50g, some may weigh over 400g!

If you can provide a weight of just one item then we would ask for the weight of the table fork as this is normally the heaviest item.  

In an ideal world we would ask for the weight of one place setting.  This means the combined weight in grams of one of each item from the service.

Canteen

Technically a canteen is a container for a service of silver flatware or silver cutlery.  If your service of silver cutlery is contained within a canteen then it may add a slight premium depending on the quality of the canteen.  You can always provide an image of the canteen for us to asses if you like.

A wonderful Queen Anee style canteen containing an extensive service of silver flatware.
A wonderful Queen Anee style canteen containing an extensive service of silver flatware.
Silver Cutlery

Condition

Once all of the above factors have been taken into account condition is the final factor to be taken into account.

The most important items to look at are the forks.  The tines should be level and even – if they have been used excessively then the tines may appear on an angle and this is not good news unfortunately as they cannot be restored.

Surface scratches and marks are not so much of a problem and are to be expected with normal use and wear. 

Silver Cutlery

Condition

Once all of the above factors have been taken into account condition is the final factor to be taken into account.

The most important items to look at are the forks.  The tines should be level and even – if they have been used excessively then the tines may appear on an angle and this is not good news unfortunately as they cannot be restored.

Surface scratches and marks are not so much of a problem and are to be expected with normal use and wear. 

How to get a valuation

We can provide you with a valuation of your service of silver cutlery and advice on how to sell it.

In order to help we just need a simple photo showing one place setting and a photograph of the hallmarks.

You can also call us on 01270 44357 and we can make notes and report back if you are unable to send images via email.  

Auction or private sale?

Auction houses typically charge the seller 20% commission and the buyer 25% commission.  This means you only get back 65% of what the buyer was prepared to pay.

We only charge 10% commission if we sell it privately.  This means you get back 90% of what the buyer was prepared to pay.

An elegant Dognose pattern service of cutlery.
An elegant Dognose pattern service of cutlery.
Even odd silver has a good value.
Even odd silver has a good value.

How to get a valuation

We can provide you with a valuation of your service of silver cutlery and advice on how to sell it.

In order to help we just need a simple photo showing one place setting and a photograph of the hallmarks.

You can also call us on 01270 44357 and we can make notes and report back if you are unable to send images via email.  

Auction or private sale?

Auction houses typically charge the seller 20% commission and the buyer 25% commission.  This means you only get back 65% of what the buyer was prepared to pay.

We only charge 10% commission if we sell it privately.  This means you get back 90% of what the buyer was prepared to pay.

An elegant Dognose pattern service of cutlery.
An elegant Dognose pattern service of cutlery.
Even odd silver has a good value.
Even odd silver has a good value.

FREE SILVER FLATWARE VALUATIONS

If you would like a free, no obligation valuation of your silver cutlery please use the form below.

You can also email details about your silver canteen to [email protected] or call us on 01477 410893

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Free Online Antique Valuation Form