~SILVER MARKS & WHAT THEY MEAN~

Here are some common marks on silver or silverplate –

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

COIN

PURE COIN                                                             

.900

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

STERLING

925

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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49 Response Comments

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

    Silver with hallmark “Best”…valuable?

    Reply
    • 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.
      Leon

      Reply
      • Avatar
        brenda strickland  January 22, 2020 at 6:43 pm

        Do you provide silverplate identification and what is the charge per mark. I have 2 pieces by different makers that I would like to determine if they are sterling or plate. One is English and one possibly Russian.

        Reply
        • Brian Kathenes
          Brian Kathenes  January 22, 2020 at 7:19 pm

          We are professional appraisers and charge for our services. However, this platform is available for us to answer your questions without charge, particularly about identification. If you need a valuation, we will charge separately, after we have talked with you. Send photos of the pi0eces and marks and we’ll do what we can to help.

          Reply
      • Avatar
        Dixie s  March 3, 2020 at 7:38 pm

        I have a silver ring with green amethyst quartz in it. But I can’t find the maker. The makers mark is cha stamped in it. What company is that?

        Reply
        • Brian Kathenes
          Brian Kathenes  March 3, 2020 at 9:11 pm

          Not sure what the mark looks like. If you could send a photo it might help. I will send you a private email.
          LC

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

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

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
      • Avatar
        Dixie s  March 3, 2020 at 7:41 pm

        It is on jewelry.

        Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
      • 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?

        Reply
        • 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.

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

    Silver basket marked 800wte

    Reply
    • 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%.

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

    Hallmark EE anchor lion P or F

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

        How do I upload pic?

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

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

    Reply
    • 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.
      Leon

      Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • 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

    Reply
    • 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.

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

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

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

      Tell me more about the marks or send a photo.

      Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Crystal  January 18, 2020 at 2:31 am

    What about an Lj ? Possibly that’s what it looks like but the j has like a tear drop for the dot and it says 925 India on the other side ? I cant find anything on it?

    Reply
    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  January 18, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      A piece marked 925 India means it is sterling silver with a content of 92.5% (standard) and made in India-probably for the American trade.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Joan Colling  February 1, 2020 at 1:58 am

    I have a silver vermeil compact. Old. The mark is “v sterling”. Does it mean anything more than vermeil sterling?

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Dawn  February 3, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    How would I tell if my bowl is GOTHAM OR WHITING The Mark’s on bottom that I am able to read say sterling &multi metals 17 . It is hammered silver with leaves cherries grapes
    Also dragonfly girl and butterfly

    Reply
    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  February 4, 2020 at 1:51 am

      The trademark will tell you if it is Gorham or Whiting. (Whiting, by the way, is a division of Gorham.) Whiting’s mark is a lion holding the initial W. Gorham’s is a triple pseudo hallmark (looks like England’s marks) with a lion, anchor, and the letter G. If it is multi-metals and hand hammered, it could be something special.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Brady Justice  February 5, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    I have a little leaf shaped dish with markings of an oak leaf and 2 acorns. Could you help me identify this thing please my attempts are futile.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Karen McKeever  February 9, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Hi I have a small piece unsure what it is or the mark. Could I send a pic see what you think, if so where do I send pic thanks

    Reply
    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  February 9, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      Yes, send me the pictures of the mark. I’ll send you private message with the email.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Linda Little  February 16, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    I would like to identify the markings on what I believe to be a silver snuff box. How do I send a picture?

    Reply
    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  February 16, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      I will send you a private email and you can send the photos.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    A. Deutsch  February 22, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    I have a sterling picture frame with a mark I can’t figure out enough to even look up. Your help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Rick Medeiros  February 23, 2020 at 2:38 am

    I have a vintage etched glass liquor bottle with a silver inlay around bottle..
    5 hallmarks and a stamped 12 on bottom edge. Could you help with hallmarks

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Trish  February 25, 2020 at 2:17 am

    I have a few pieces of rogers and bros, is it silver plated, is there a way to tell

    Reply
    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  February 25, 2020 at 3:26 am

      Usually if something is marked Rogers it means silverplate. William Rogers kind of discovered electroplating here in America around the time of the civil war. One way to tell for sure is whether it says sterling. If it doesn’t, then it’s not.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Nan C.  February 29, 2020 at 2:49 am

    I just bought a large bowl and tray today and on the back it has 830S and a lion facing left and standing with its arms in a clawing form.
    I know the 830 means 83% silver and I think this might have been made in Norway but I don’t know really. Can I send a picture?

    Reply
    • Brian Kathenes
      Brian Kathenes  February 29, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      Yes. I will send you my private email.
      LC

      Reply

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