Here are some common marks on silver or silverplate –

These marks mean the same standard as US silver prior to 1870-or 90% silver:


PURE COIN                                                             


These marks mean the same as a content of 92.5% silver:



These marks mean electroplated, developed in the US around the Civil War by William Rogers:

EPNS              Electroplate on Nickel Silver

EPC                Electroplate on Copper

EPWM           Electroplate on White Metal

EPBM            Electroplate on Britannia Metal

EPNS-WMM Electroplate on Nickel Silver with White Metal Mounts

Foreign Marks on Sterling:

Austria           Loth symbol and number 13 (813/1000) or Diana Portrait with Number 1-4

Denmark        Three Towers (82.6% or higher)

European Free Trade           Symbol of Scales with 925

Finland           813/830/916H or 925

England          Lion Passant

France            Profile with Helmet and Marked 1 or 2 (95% or 80%)

Germany        Crescent Moon and Crown (80%)-Sometimes just number 800

Italy                Profile Facing Left with Number 1,2, or 3; 925

Netherlands   Lion with Number 1 or 2 (93.4% or 83.3%)

Norway           830S (83%)

Russia             84 or 96; Sometimes Woman’s Head (Zolotnick)

Sweden           3 Crowns in Cloverleaf or letter S within a Hexagon

Non-Invasive Tests for Silver –

FLEX             Silver has a spring to it.  It will “flex.”  Silverplate does not yield as easily.  You can also dent sterling a lot easier than denting silverplate, so be careful.

RING              Silver will ring-similar to cut glass.  This works for coins, but not really good for tableware.  For coins, hold the coin in the middle with one hand and ping it with the other.  It should ring.

SMELL          Don’t count on this one.

HEFT             This is kind of like intuitive reasoning.  Once you have handled enough silver you will have an idea of what the weight should be, based on past experience.  Not very conclusive.

TOUCH         Both sterling and silverplate will have the same feel.

SEE                Markings are the best indicator of whether the object is silver or not, unless it is fake.  Then you might need an invasive test to confirm.

Tip:  Sometimes polishing an item will reveal hidden markings, repairs, wear, and other indications of metal content.

Definition of Some Unusual Terms

Alaska Silver             A base metal imitating silver-like Nevada Silver or German Silver.

Backstamping            Marking a piece of silver with the retailer’s mark-not the maker.

Britannia Silver        A silver alloy of high standard-usually 95.8%-not to be confused with Britannia Metal (pewter look).

Champleve                 Cuts into surface filled with enamel then polished

Cloisonne                   Similar to champlevé but use of wires soldiered to surface and then filled with enamel.

Diet                             A small sample scraped from a piece for purpose of assay.

Embossing                  Raising designs on silver from the reverse side by hammering (similar to repousse).

Engraving                  Cutting a design into a piece using an engraving tool.

Flatware                     Tableware items that are “flat.”

Hollowware               Items that are not flatware but hollow (bowls, vases, etc.).

Ingot                           Bar of metal.

Matting                      Punching of dots to produce a rough surface.

Niello                          Black inlay used as decorative markings in silver.

Parcel Gilt                 Only part of article is treated with gilding.

Plique-a-jour             Transparent enamel without a backing, enclosed within metal frames, imitates stained glass.

Vermeil                      Gilded silver, same as gilding.

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23 Response Comments

  • Avatar
    kat shadrix  November 14, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Silver with hallmark “Best”…valuable?

    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  November 14, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      Send me a photo of the mark. Usually if something, even silver, says “the best,” it isn’t.

    • Avatar
      Daniel B Godfrey  November 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      That’s a makers mark if it’s on jewelry

      • Brian Kathenes
        Brian Kathenes  January 3, 2020 at 3:50 pm

        You have all 5 English hallmarks identifying a piece of silver. Starting from the left to right you have the maker’s mark (Peter and Jonathan Bateman), then the lion mark (sterling), then the town mark-leopard head (London), the date mark P (1790-91), and finally the sovereign mark (King at time). The Bateman’s were a family of good London silversmiths and their work is highly desired.

  • Avatar
    Paris Loesch  December 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Hi there would you be able to give me your advice on which of my three tea sets is most valuable? One is a PNS the other two are silverplate. Thank you.

      • Avatar
        Tucker  December 27, 2019 at 3:17 am

        Can I send a picture of a silver ladle with symbols stamped on it in order to determine the value?

        • Brian Kathenes
          Brian Kathenes  December 27, 2019 at 2:47 pm

          Certainly. I can help identify it. Valuation is another matter since an appraisal involves a lot of things and takes more time, but I can let you know what the costs might be depending on the intended use.

  • Avatar
    Kris  December 14, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Silver basket marked 800wte

    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  December 14, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Silver mark 800 is generally used in Germany to denote silver (sterling). Their percentage of pureness is 80% instead of the normal 92.5%.

  • Avatar
    Spencer  December 15, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Hallmark EE anchor lion P or F

      • Avatar
        Spencer  December 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm

        How do I upload pic?

  • Avatar
    Mark Carter  December 15, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    I have small spoon and need help identifying the marks on it.

    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  December 15, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      Send photos of marks and we’ll see what we can do to help.

  • Avatar
    Leslie  December 29, 2019 at 1:04 am

    I have a large silver platter that looks to be handcrafted. Since I am in Lexington, KY and it has the marks AB, I am thinking it might be Asa Blanchard. It has AB in an oval, followed by EP, followed by NS. Above these stamps are the numbers 6 4. 4, spaced an eighth of an inch apart. What do you think?

    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  December 29, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      It would be good to see the trademark, but the markings EPNS stand for electroplated nickel silver, not silver (sterling). The AB mark is not a common one so I don’t know if it refers to Asa Blanchard, but the fact it is silverplate indicates a common company that mass produced silverplated wares. The numbers are probably a stock number. Even it was made by Asa Blanchard, EPNS is not generally collectible, unless it has unique form or age.

  • Avatar
    Maxine Simmons  December 31, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Can I send some pictures of a couple of teapots I don’t know what the symbols mean and it looks like it says silveron copper trying to find out the value

    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  December 31, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      Yes. I will assist in the identification. Valuation is a separate process which we charge for accordingly.

  • Avatar
    Josh Smith  January 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    I have a Catholic Pendant with what looks like VC stamped?

    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  January 6, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      Tell me more about the marks or send a photo.

  • Avatar
    Deborah decker  January 7, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    I have an old silver looking stand with a handle that has the number 13 on the bottom can u tell me if that has any significance. Thank you for your help


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