Silver Hallmarks & other Identifiers – 3 Tips for Reading Hallmarks on Silver

In order to properly identify your antique silver pieces, you need to know how to read the hallmark on the item. These stamps indicate the year the item was made, where it was made, and who made it. It can also include a few other pieces, such as a duty mark, although that’s not always the case. If you’re not certain how to tell what these silver hallmarks are, these tips will help you.

Antique Hallmark

How to Make the Mark Easier to Read

Reading the hallmarks of a piece is essential to identify it, but it’s not always that simple. The silver hallmarks identification process is much more difficult on older pieces because the hallmark may not be as clear as it once was due to age or damage. One trick to making it a bit easier to read is to gently blow on it. The warmth from your breath will cause condensation, making the mark clearer.

Know the Common Marks

There are a number of common marks that appear on many silver pieces. For example, the lion passant is standard to identify a piece as sterling silver. If this mark isn’t there, it means the piece is most likely silver plated. You can find a list of the common town marks, date letters, and other hallmarks online or in a number of different guide books. If you’re going to deal in silver, you’ll need to become familiar with them.

lion passant marking

Understand the History of Silver

Knowing the history of silver flatware and other items can be very helpful for reading hallmarks. For example, if you see a duty mark on a piece, you’ll know that it was made between 1784 and 1890. You can narrow it down even more if you know when that mark was the king’s head and when it was the queen’s. All of this is vital information that can be used in antique silver appraisal and in your own personal identification of items.

How to Sell Your Silver Bowl for More Than It Is Worth?

Selling your antique sterling silver bowls may seem like a great way to make some extra money, but you want to make sure you’re getting a good price for them. In fact, if at all possible, you want to get more for these bowls than what they’re actually worth. Otherwise, it might seem like a waste of time to find a buyer and sell the bowls. If you’re considering selling any silver bowls, here are a few tips for getting the maximum amount of money from the sale.

Clean Them Up

As with any silver pieces, before you can sell antique silver bowls, you need to make sure they’re completely tarnish-free. There are a number of different DIY methods you can use to get tarnish off of silver. You can also purchase special silver polishing cloths and other products designed to remove tarnish. Always give your silver a nice polish before you take photos of it, take it to appraisers, or show it off to potential buyers. You want to make sure it looks amazing, even if you know the buyer is simply going to melt it down.

Clean your silver

Learn What You Have

Do you know who made your silver bowls? Do you know when they were made? All of this information plays into the value of the bowl. If you want to sell it for more than it’s worth, you need to know as much about the history of the piece as possible. Learn if it’s silver plated or sterling silver—that’s very important since items that are silver plated don’t sell for as much. Determine if the silver is 92.5% silver. If it is, it’s considered sterling, and it’s much more valuable.

Who Are You Selling To?

If you do a search for “where can I sell silver bowls” online, you’ll get a lot of hits. Remember, though, that not all of these buyers are going to offer you the same amount of money. Companies that buy and sell silver will always try to buy for as low as they can. That’s because they expect to resell the items at a profit. The same is true for companies that plan on melting down the silver. They have less interest in the piece itself and are just looking for items that are sterling.

Antique Silver Collector

If you’re selling to a collector, though, that’s where you can get top dollar. This is especially true if the silver bowls you have are fairly old and rare. You may be surprised at how much a collector will pay for bowls that complete their set.

Look at What Sellers Want

Look at websites created for and by silver bowls collectors online. Here, you’ll be able to get an idea of what silver bowls are currently selling for and which ones are among the rarest. You can use these websites to determine if what you have is truly special or if you’re better off selling it to someone who wants it just for the silver. Be sure you do your research—the last thing you want to do is let something go for much less than what it’s worth.

Cleaning Silver Trays – Basic Guide to Cleaning and Caring for Silver Trays with Stuff from Your Kitchen

Silver trays can look gorgeous. The finely etched pattern makes them the centerpiece of almost any table setting. But what do you do when these silver trays get tarnished? You can either run out and buy expensive silver cleaning products, or you can use a few things you likely already have in your own kitchen. Silver trays dealers around the world use these little DIY tips and tricks to keep their silver looking great without spending a lot of money.

Dish Soap

You may be able to remove some light tarnish simply by dipping the tray into warm (not hot) water combined with standard dish soap. You only need a few drops, so don’t go overboard or you may risk damaging the tray. Make sure that the soap is fully diluted in the water, too. Then dip your tray in, pull it out, and dry it off with a soft cloth.

Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda

One of the easiest methods for cleaning antique silver plated trays involves four basic ingredients from your kitchen. All you need is a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of salt, a sheet of aluminum foil, and two cups boiling water. Line a pot, baking dish, or even your sink with the aluminum foil. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and hot water. Then add in your silver tray. Let it sit for a minute or two, then carefully pull it out with kitchen tongs. A very large amount, if not all, of the tarnish will have transferred from the tray to the aluminum foil!

image of baking soda


While some people aren’t as fond of this method, others swear by ketchup. Just squirt some of this condiment onto a paper towel and gently rub at the tarnished areas of your antique sterling silver trays. You might be surprised at how much of the tarnish comes off! For trays that are heavily tarnished, you can leave the ketchup on for about 15 minutes. You can also use a soft bristle toothbrush to clean tarnish out of crevices. Rinse the tray off with warm water and dry with a soft cloth once you’ve got the tarnish off.


Another common kitchen ingredient you can use to clean tarnished silver trays is cornstarch. Mix a little cornstarch with water to create a paste. Then apply that paste to the tarnished area and let it sit until it’s dry. Once it is, rub it off with a towel or cheesecloth. If you don’t have any cornstarch handy, you can use cream of tartar.

Lemon-Lime Soda

image of generic lemon lime soda

Another common item you can use to clean your items before showing them to potential silver trays buyers is any type of lemon-lime soda. You can let your trays sit in a bowl of this soda for about an hour. Then remove the tray and rinse it clean. A good amount of the tarnish will rinse right off. Pat the tray dry with a soft cloth and you’re ready to sell it.

Antique Dealers Advice – 5 Must Look Into Considerations when Buying and Selling Antique Silverware

If you’re thinking about buying or selling antique silver, there are some things you should consider before you jump right in. If you’ve never purchased antique silver before, you may not know all of the little tips and tricks there are to making sure you get the best deal. It doesn’t matter if you plan on becoming one of the many full-time antique silver buyers or if you’re simply looking to sell some silverware that you’ve inherited—knowing how to get the most out of your silver is important.

Get an Appraisal

You can learn about your silver pieces online and estimate what they’re worth, but having a professional antique silver appraisal is much easier. The professionals who do this will be able to give you an estimate for your specific pieces, taking into account damage and whether or not you have a complete set of silverware. It’s a good idea to get an appraisal even if you have an idea of what your items are worth.

Are You Attached to the Pieces?

Before you decide on if you want to sell your silverware or not, decide if you have any sentimental attachment to it. There’s no reason to sell it if you have any kind of sentimental attachment. Even if you don’t, would someone else in your family want it? Silverware is very durable, and many families do pass down full sets of it. Make sure no one would want your collection before you sell it, especially if you sell it to a smelter who is going to melt it down.

image of someone looking at a piece of antique silver

Is It Sterling?

One of the things many antique silverware buyers are going to want to know up front is if the pieces you’re selling are sterling. Look on the back of the flatware for “sterling” or “ster.” This indicates that the silverware is at least 92.5% silver. It may even have 925 on it to indicate that it’s 925 out of 1,000 parts silver. Anything that’s silver-plated isn’t going to be worth nearly as much. If you see “coin” stamped on your silverware, that means it was created by melting down silver coins. It’s more likely to be about 90% silver. It won’t be worth quite as much as sterling silver.

Are the Pieces Historic?

An antique silver dealer will pay much more for older pieces that are rarely found on the market. Do some research into the pieces you have to make sure they’re not rare or hard to come by. Those that are can be sold for more than most other pieces. You’ll definitely not want to sell these items to smelters since they have some historic value.

image of historic silver

Look Online

Before you buy or sell any silver pieces, go online and see what the items are selling for. You may find that you have a rare replacement piece that someone needs to complete their set or that you have a pattern that is fairly popular. On the other hand, you might find that what you have to sell isn’t really worth that much. Either way, it’s important to know what you have or what you’re thinking about buying before you do so.

Antique Silver Tea Sets – Best Tips for Prolonged Use and Beauty Retention of the Set

One of the most beautiful pieces of silver you can have is a sterling silver tea set. These sets are elegant but also quite functional. Antique silver tea sets are often passed down through families and come to be known as treasured heirlooms. Unfortunately, as with any silver, these tea sets need to be kept in good condition in order for them to remain looking as great as they do. If you have an antique silver tea set, here are some tips for keeping it looking beautiful and functional.

Use It

One of the best ways to keep your silver tea set looking great is to use it regularly. While some antique silver tea set collectors are concerned that regular use will result in the set tarnishing, the opposite is actually true. When you frequently use your silver tea set and clean it properly, it will actually remain looking as elegant and beautiful as the day you inherited it.

Polish It Regularly

Whether you use it frequently or infrequently, you do need to make certain that you polish the tea set at least yearly. If you use it more often, you may want to polish it after each use or at least every few months. When you see spots on your tea set that look brown or light gold, you know it’s time to give it a polish. The best way to do so is to use standard silver polish and a soft cloth.

You can use some basic household items such as toothpaste or cornstarch to polish your silver, but you can also buy specific silver polishes. Just make sure the polish is designed for use on silver. This is the safest option to keep your silver tea set looking amazing. For tea sets that have very intricate etched designs or have areas that are hard to get into, you can use a cotton swab or even a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it.

Rinse Out the Set After Use

Many silver tea set buyers look inside the tea pot and carefully inspect each item to make certain they were cleaned after use. Always rinse out your tea set before you put it up, but also be sure that no water is left. Wipe out all of the water before you put your tea set up since it can cause spots to appear. Make certain you clean your tea set if it comes into contact with anything that contains citrus, vinegar, or other corrosive foods. These foods can quickly cause damage if left in contact with the silver.


If you’re looking to buy sterling silver tea sets online, always ask how the tea set has been stored. Silver needs to be kept away from excessive heat and air. Ideally, it will be kept in an airtight chest or drawer. Many silver sets designed for use with hot beverages actually come with some kind of airtight container to store them in. Again, make sure that the tea set is completely dry before you store it in any of these containers. You should also wrap each piece in felt, cotton, or an acid-free paper before storing it.

A Great Way to Sell the Family Silver Flatware for Big Bucks with Some Easy DIY Solutions

Selling your antique silver flatware can be a source of extra money when you really need it, but you want to make certain that you maximize your profits. You can only sell your flatware once, of course, so you want to be sure you get as much for it as you can. Before you begin the selling process, there are a few DIY solutions you can do to make sure you truly get the most out of your silver.

A Great Way to Sell the Family Silver Flatware for Big Bucks with Some Easy DIY Solutions

Know Its Worth

Before you post your antique silver flatware for sale, it’s a good idea to have a rough estimate of what it’s really worth. That way, you won’t sell it for less than you should. This means doing some research into any markings on the pieces to determine the manufacturer, the year of manufacture, and if the items are sterling (92.5% silver) or simply silver plated. You can find some of this information online, or you can take your items to a silver appraiser. Either way, learn as much as you can about your set as possible since you may also need to answer questions potential buyers will have.

Clean Up Your Silver

Before you start looking for antique silver flatware buyers, you want to make sure your silver items look their best. There are a number of different DIY methods you can use to make your pieces shine. One of the most common recipes used to clean silver without spending a lot of money on expensive silver cleaner involves aluminum foil, water, and baking soda. Simply boil the water, add in a tablespoon of your baking soda, and then place some aluminum foil in the pot. Drop the piece of silver in so that it comes into contact with the aluminum foil. After about ten seconds or so, pull it out using a pair of kitchen tongs. You should see that most of the tarnish is gone!

If you have a piece that has more tarnish on it, you may need to create a paste out of two tablespoons of water and about a fourth of a cup of baking soda. Apply this mixture using a damp sponge. Let it set for a few seconds, then rinse it off and pat the piece dry. Your sterling silver flatware sets should be tarnish-free in no time with these simple DIY cleaners.

A Few Other DIY Polishers

If you want to polish up your silverware before you try to sell it, you can use a few common household items. Toothpaste and hand sanitizer can both help. Add a few drops of either, then use a soft rag to polish up the pieces. Window cleaner also works. Just be sure you don’t scrub too hard, and never use anything abrasive. A cloth is all you should need.

DIY Selling

Some people do take their antique silverware to auction or sell it through a middleman, but you do have to pay a commission on that. Instead, you can sell it yourself online. There are a number of auction sites dedicated to selling silver, plus you can always turn to sites such as eBay.

Selling the Family Silver: Beware of Smelters Who Can Smelt Your Treasure into Trash

When you start looking for antique buyers for your silver, you’re likely to come across some people who offer to purchase your items sight unseen. If pushed, they may admit to buying silver by the ounce simply to melt it down. These companies often advertise that they buy gold, silver, and other specialty metals to recycle them. They will buy your family silver flatware along with silver coins, jewelry, and much more. They don’t really care what state it’s in, they simply want to melt it down and sell it as silver.

That might seem like a great deal. After all, you don’t have to do any research on the items. You just take in the family silver and walk out with a nice amount of money. But there are some reasons why these smelters may not be the best deal for you. In fact, they may turn your family treasures into trash.

antiques sale

They Don’t Care About the Pieces

If you’re selling to antique silver collectors, they’re going to value the age and rarity of the pieces. You’re likely to get more money for older items, especially if they’re items that the collectors have been looking for or that complete their sets. With smelters, that’s not the case. They don’t care if something is hundreds of years old or if it was made yesterday. If you’re offering them something that’s sterling silver (at least 92.5% pure silver), that’s all they care about. They pay the same no matter how old or how rare the item is.

They Don’t Look at History

That can be disastrous if you’ve got a rare piece that’s worth much more than the silver it’s made from. You could get a lot of money from the right collector. There’s also the fact that you may have a piece of history that is quite rare. In some cases, a museum may pay a nice amount for your silver. It’s always best that you do some research and learn about the history of the pieces you have before selling to smelters. Otherwise, you could not only accidentally lose a good amount of money, but you could also help destroy something that’s priceless.

antique silver item

They Don’t Pay Well

If you search for the best place to sell antiques, you won’t find smelters on the list. That’s because they don’t pay that well. That’s because they will likely resell any silver they buy from you after the melt it down. This means they have to have some room in the price to make a profit. If you’re looking to get top dollar for your silver, smelters and anyone else who plans on reselling the silver later is not the place to go.

If you know the silver items you have aren’t worth very much, smelters may offer you the best price you’re going to find. However, make certain that you’ve done some research on the items and even had them appraised by a silver expert first. The last thing you want to do is sell valuable silver items to a smelter for next to nothing.

The Most Notable Bronze Arts by Salvador Dali

When it comes to Salvador Dali artwork, chances are you are most familiar with his surreal pieces. Dali was extremely famous for his dreamlike landscapes, such as is seen in The Persistence of Memory, commonly called “the melting clocks,” or his Ship with Butterfly Sails. His paintings have the ability to transport viewers from an ordinary world to a far more intriguing one usually not seen outside of your subconscious in the dead of night. However, while we all love his paintings, not as many know about his bronze arts. Salvador Dali sculptures are just as magnificent in a whole different light as his work with a brush.

Bronze Arts

Salvador Dali’s Bronze Sculptures are Continuously Sought After

Like many of his paintings, Salvador Dali’s famous sculptures can carry a viewer away. While some of his pieces are more basic, such as his Man with a Butterfly, which depicts a nude man holding a butterfly on the end of what appears to be a stick, they have a much deeper meaning. This piece, for example, carries the deeper message of the man leaving this world to move to a different physical plane in which he can live freely and happily. Others, though, are surrealist arts through and through. For example, there are a wide range of different clocks that appear to be melting, much like we saw within the Persistence of Memory. In fact, there is a sculpture based off the painting with the same name. Other clocks include Persistence of Time and Nobility of Time. Dali went through various phases when working on his bronze sculptures, each with a different name, theme, style, and deeper meaning.

Salvador Dali artwork

Dali’s Art Collections

Dali has a great number of fantastic quality bronze sculptures and they can be divided into two main categories- museum size and monument size. Each collection has 29 pieces and 15 pieces respectively. These were, for the most part, created using the same lost wax method that has transcended through the years as this art style has progressed.

Persistence of Memory

• Museum Size

Museum size sculptures are some of his more famous works. These are exactly what they sound like. These pieces are medium sized pieces that travel to different museums along with different exhibits. They have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide and provide a large emotional impact. These pieces are primarily based on items that were prominent throughout Dali’s life, particularly in childhood, and became icons throughout his work. Some of his museum pieces that you may recognize include Adam and Eve, Danilian Dancer, and Dance of Time I, II, and III. Clocks are still prominent, as well as surreal views of people, animals, and landscapes.

• Monument Size

Dali’s monument sized collection also travels the world and has been moving around since 1989. These pieces have been showcased in Rome, Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Singapore, and countless other important or tourist heavy cities. Some of these share names and images with museum sized pieces, such as Dance of Time II and Persistence of Memory. Others, though, are exclusively large-scale outdoor statues, such as Woman Aflame and Saint George and the Dragon. These timeless pieces bring in tourists and business for the companies surrounding the pieces, but also reveal a transcendent emotional value as with any classic art piece.

Rare Sculptural Bronze Cube by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne

Philip and Kelvin LaVerne sculptures are highly unique pieces, not only compared to others, but within themselves. The pair worked together creating artistic furniture, such as coffee tables, cocktail tables, chairs, and more. Philip was born in 1907 and Kelvin in 1937. The father and son duo worked together for many years. Each and every one of their pieces combine functionality with beautiful décor. These pieces have lasted years and some of the best sculptures by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne can cost a prospective consumer tens of thousands of dollars.

Antique Silver Dealers in Largo


The Family Artists Were Revolutionary

Artworks by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne changed the way people saw furniture. What was simply a tool before suddenly became opportunity. However, they did not do so easily. The pair was far ahead of their time. Many of their works mirror designers in today’s era far more than they do works created within the same time frame those men were working. Philip and Kelvin LaVerne art was not as highly appreciated at the time of construction as it is today. The goals that they strived for (and ultimately achieved) and their means of production were far different than those which others used at that time. This made them revolutionary, but also made them different. That was frequently frowned upon.

Antique Silver Masterpiece

How Did They Create Their Masterpieces?

The basis of most of Philip and Kelvin LaVerne’s art was bronze casting. Though that practice itself was hundreds of years old, it was not as commonly used in furniture as it was in sculpture and statues. In furniture, though, it was tweaked just a tad. This gave the artists the ability to give each piece a distinct and different patina. They also utilized direct carving techniques. Taking a slab of bronze, the men would then slowly work with it over the course of six or more weeks. Using a special soil, they were able to control the oxidation process and get the exact color shades they sought.

The process was truly remarkable and new. It also led to new ideas, such as a simple bronze cube. Their designs were generally conservative. This meant that each piece could be used in nearly any setting, no matter how traditional or modern. Each piece had the engraved signature of both men and was truly an investment that would last for years to come.

Antique Bronze Cube

The Sculptural Bronze Cube

In the Tennessee Museum of Art as a permanent collection item, there is a signed cube of bronze. This piece maintains the general integrity of the original slab of bronze, but carries some changes as well. Philip and Kelvin LaVerne used a torch to create various small cutouts across the surface of the piece. There are variations in color, texture, and edging. It has a very natural look, almost untouched by man, but not quite. The edges are not sharp and defined, but flow naturally as the slab may have come. This is a rare piece, as it is the only piece like it in their collection. Because it is a permanent item in Tennessee, it is not as well-known as some of the pair’s other works.

Regardless of whether it is a slab of bronze or an intricate cabinet that took many weeks or months to create, Philip and Kelvin LaVerne’s work is immortalized and lives in the hearts of those who appreciate it for many more years to come.
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New and Abstract Forms of Bronze Sculptures in the 20 th Century

For centuries, bronze has been (and continues to be) the most popular metal for casting artistic sculptures. It can be used in any shape or size, can be colored as the artist likes, and can be used for relief sculptures or sculptures in the round. Many artists have tried their hand at working with the metal, but the game changed in the 20 th century when new artists began creating new and more abstract statues. One of these artists was Henry Moore, a revolutionary who changed the face of bronze sculpting for years to come. In fact, Henry Moore’s first sculpture, West Wind (commissioned by the school he had been working for), is still a recognizable figure today.

Bronze Sculptures

Who Was Henry Moore?

Henry Moore sculptures highly influenced the development of bronze sculptures, but to understand what he created, you need to understand him as a person. Henry Moore was born and raised in Yorkshire to a non-artistic family as the 7 th of 8 children. In fact, his parents originally did not want him training to be a sculptor at all. Moore was a humanitarian who was a soldier, a physical therapy instructor, a teacher, and finally an artist. He saw all kinds of walks of life and experienced many art forms. Moore spent years working with bronze sculpting, but eventually moved on to more modern methods when creating sculptures, such as direct carving. Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture period, though, had many influences and proceeded to influence many others.


What Impacted Moore?

Every artist gets their “spark” so to speak from somewhere. For Moore, he found a large part of his inspiration from the people around him. He had a deep sense of humanitarianism and found many of his ideas through visuals of mothers with children along with analogies he created, combining someone with the landscape around them. He also drew inspiration largely from non-western art he saw at the British Museum. He took inspiration from predominantly Latin American art as well as Egyptian and African. Many bronze workers at this time focused on very detail oriented and realistic creations. Moore introduced a new element.

Bird Basket

While working with Bird Basket, Helmet, and other antique bronze pieces, Moore spread the idea of semi-abstract art. Many of his pieces had a basic shape that one could see clearly and put a name to. However, they did not follow precisely what you would expect to see. They involved elements of internal and external forms. They also used different details than you would traditionally expect, or neglected them entirely.

His Legacy


As his work progressed, many found faults because of just how nontraditional it was. After his death, his work became even less well-known, liked, or reputable. His bronze work is also often overshadowed by his other means of production. However, these new ideas and concepts that he introduced prevailed, inspiring others to continue with the forms where he left off. Those who worked closely with him, such as Anthony Caro and Phillip King, were highly influenced by his artistic mind and undoubtedly learned from his work.