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topic 37205

How to tell plated vs. sterling silver serving tray?

A discussion started in 2005 & continuing through 2016


Q. I bought a silver tray at a yard sale. It was badly tarnished so I cleaned it. It reads Early American, then the IS symbol, then International Silver Company, a number 4133, and 18 IN. How can I find out if it is real silver or silver plated? It has no EPNS or EP on the tray to indicate that it is plated, but it also does not say that it is sterling.

silver tray-1 silver tray-2

Amanda Hart
consumer - Woolwich, Maine

Silver Test Kit


A. You can try with magnifying glass-if your tray is plated hue of pure silver and nickel silver is visibly different.
Plating must be worn-out on some places! If you want to be sure you can test it with nitric acid-put just one drop on back of your tray-green colour= copper,brass or nickel silver.Cream colour=silver or silver alloy. Rinse it well!Good luck!
According to Odegaard, Caroll, Zimt: Material Characterization Tests for Objects of Art and Archeology, London 2000.

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia


Q. My father has an silver serving tray with those exact markings (Early American, International Silver Company, 4133 18 in). Have you found out any other information about it? -- such as value or it's origin. thanks,

Oh, by the way. I was looking at the one my father has and it is well used. It is definitely plated. My father found his in the middle of two walls during demolition of a house in Corpus Christi, Texas.

James E Cain
- Boise, Idaho

Ed. note: Gentle readers, the focus of this site is metal finishing. No prob if we veer a bit off topic, with people asking for General ways to figure out what they have. But millions of people have odd pieces in their attic, so when we wander into hallmarks and valuation, we receive countless requests (this is one of dozens of such threads) :-(

We have no choice but to discard inquiries asking how much something is worth. Sorry! There is nothing wrong with questions of that sort, but this is the wrong site -- we don't have a thousandth of the processing power to be a free eBay, and it both swamps us and derails our focus. And sorry to give the bad news, but if they are not stamped "Sterling" then odds are at least 1000:1 that they are worthless. Apologies!

May 23, 2008

Q. I too purchased a silver tray at a yard sale. It is stamped on the back: Line 1-Crescent
Line 2-some type of animal head,
another head of some bird
Line 3-1672EH

Do these markings tell if it is real or not?

Beverly Mason
- Keokuk, Iowa

All About Antique Silver with International Hallmarks

May 2008

A. Hi, Beverly. I think you may need to buy or borrow from the library some books on "Hallmarking" because there are hundreds of thousands of them. The markings will never prove that something is valuable because they can be forged, but they can tell you that it's not. It's like if you have a $1 bill you can be very confident it's real because nobody counterfeits singles; but if you're handed a $100 bill then you need to be careful that it's real. Good luck!


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 30, 2008

Q. I just purchased a pair of silver candlesticks from an online auction. I was told that the candlesticks are made by Forbes Silver Co of Meridian, Connecticut. The pattern on the candlesticks is Burgundy or Burgundy Grape. They are marked on the bottom with the numbers 1732 & 1733. The seller said that the candlesticks were made in 1841 and that they are in good shape. However, I am concerned that these are silver plate rather than sterling silver since there is no marking that specifically says "Sterling" or 92.5. How do I tell whether these are actually sterling silver? Is there a standard indicating that sterling silver must be marked as sterling or marked with the silver content?

Alicia Torry
buyer - Houston, Texas

August 1, 2008

Q. I have a serving tray that has "Godinger" on it and it is very heavy. It has clusters of grapes on it. Is it the real thing and how do I tell the difference. Thanks

Leigh Hall
- Virginia.

August 5, 2008

A. Hi. A tiny sterling jewelry article might not be marked because it could detract from the appearance and because if you mark it sterling you also have to put your own registered mark on it, and some very small custom jewelry outfits don't want to bear the cost of registration -- thanks to Yahoo answers at

But if a tray is sterling it will be marked as such. What manufacturer would want to try to sell a tray at the price he needs to charge for silver, and have the public think maybe it's only silverplate?

If you are not convinced by the logic of it and want to test it, test kits are inexpensive and readily available. Good luck, and pray for a miracle :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 19, 2008

Q. I have 53 pieces of silverware which my father had. It is stamped International silver co. and USN on one side and an anchor on the other. It was used on the USS WASP and given to my father. Is it sterling silver? I can find no markings to determine if it is. Thanks!

Bill Ford
retired - Nashville, Tennessee

January 15, 2009

Q. I am looking to find info on a mark on a silver pitcher. The top is removable with holes in it. The first mark on the left is a double lined cross, on the right next to that is a crown with the letters LBSCO on top of the crown, below the crown is " N. 6." under the N & 6 is the numbers 1806, next to the crown is a coat of armor or coat of arms mark with a 7 in it. Do you know the maker of these marks? Thank you for your help.

silver pitcher

Kim Padgett
own a resale shop - Dahlonega, Georgia

June 4, 2009

Kim in Georgia:
I too am looking for the same markings on a set of candlesticks purchased. Stamped on the bottom with the same cross, crown,and coat of armor...LBSCO stamp with numbers. Did you find out if it is silver or plate. They are beautiful. Where are they from? What about your pitcher?

Lynn Ladner
- Louisville, Kentucky

March 12, 2009

Q. Uncovered these twelve "Brismaid" forks with a stamp next to it with "Bell Quality". No sterling or otherwise mark. I can't find out much and hope someone can tell me if I can retire or keep digging.

Jim Fisher
salesman - Albuquerque, New Mexico

April 1, 2009

Q. Silver napkin ring engraved 1886, has a 105 inside with a S. Can anyone tell me what the 105 means? and where it might be from, Thanks!

Carrie MacAvoy
hobbyist - Tburg, New York

September 26, 2009

Q. I have this serving tray that has the markings of Old London with the numbers 1832 By The Frank Herschede Co. Cincinnati, Ohio and has the letters EPNS and has 3 symbols indicating a head, a crown and a weird shaped S.

silver serving tray-1 silver serving tray-2

I would like to find out more information on this piece.

Alana Ward
Hobbyist - Maysville, Kentucky

October 6, 2009

A. Hi, Alana. As noted in the original question, EP means electroplated, that is, silver plated. EPNS would mean electroplated nickel silver (there is no silver in nickel silver though). This tray is probably worn down to the nickel silver in some areas, and the copper plating (below the silver plating) in most areas.

This is a metal finishing website rather than a hallmarking site, and in 15 years and across thousands of postings, not a single piece has ever been identified here by verbal descriptions of the markings -- it's a futile approach. Try to find the history of the piece (that is always the first question on Antiques Road Show), and get several books about silver hallmarks from your library, and maybe you'll be able to make some progress. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 14, 2010

Q. I cannot find these marks anywhere. I have an old tea kettle from my mother and would like some help identifying.

identification marks on tea kettle

susan edghill
- fort worth Texas USA

February 2014

A. Hi Susan. Another forum [] says it's Barbour Silver Company, Hartford, Connecticut -- which merged into International Silver. These silvermarks were supposedly used into the 1920s.

It's probably silver plated "nickel silver" (there is no silver in nickel silver). Sorry, but such items are invariably of no sale value.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 30, 2010

Q. Can anyone identify this mark?

identification mark

Mary Justin
buyer - Simi Valley, California, U.S.A.

April 24, 2011

Q. I was watching Storage Wars one evening, and one of the couples took in an antique (silver?) makeup mirror to see if it was worth anything. The man in the store said that silver smells sweet, whereas silver plating has a sulfur smell to it. Could you tell me if this is true or not.

Ruby Anderson
Skilled Labour - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

May 16, 2011

Hi Ruby Anderson:

I just finished cleaning a silverware set given to us by my father-in-law. I think you answered my question--silver or silver-plate? While soaking in salt water on aluminum foil, I kept thinking I smelled sulphur. Must be true...definitely did not smell sweet

Jane Dub
- Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

September 12, 2011

Q. I bought a silver serving tray at a garage sale...I cleaned it up and discovered it has ASCO stamped on the bottom. I know that means American Silver Co. which was later changed to International Silver and that it would have to be made between 1901 and 1935 to have the ASCO name. It is silver plate over copper. ...very large, 15 1/2 inches with a braided edge and handles. It has an engraved flower pattern with a place in the middle for monogramming.....I am looking for somewhere to research it. I am at a loss to find much information on ASCO

Debbie McFarlin
owner - Chandler, Oklahoma

September 13, 2011

Q. Hi my name is Bob and my wife has an old teapot and tray that she thinks is Sterling Silver. I don't think it is. Here are the marking on the bottom of the pot. Sheets Rockford S.Co 1875 and 302 on it. What does that mean? I think if it was Sterling Silver it would say Sterling on the bottom right. Thanks.

Bob Nodolf
Homeowner - Janesville, Wisconsin USA

September 15, 2011

A. Hi.

We've had a zero success rate on such questions, Bob. The reasons are probably mentioned in Hallmark books, but it's hopeless to guess the composition of an item from numbers they could mean anything. 1875 is probably when this "Sheets Rockford S. Co." was founded, not when the tray was made. 302 might mean it is made out of type 302 stainless steel, but I don't think so. It's probably either style 302 or #302 of a limited set. Sorry. I think you have to either test it or invest substantial effort into the study of Hallmarking.

I see a "Sheets Rockford S.Co 1875" tray marked "25" on e-bay for $6, so I doubt that it's valuable. The seller thinks it's silver plate but doesn't guarantee it. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 6, 2011

Hello...I have a set of Alvin Silverware, George Washington pattern. I am trying to determine if it is sterling or silver plate. The word sterling is stamped on the back. I looked at The set has the old knife and the work pattern and silver is stamped on the back of the pieces.

I would appreciate any information.


Donna Ekstrom
hobbyist - Middletown, Pennsylvania USA

October 6, 2011

A. Hi, Donna.

What alternate theory are you entertaining to explain why they would have stamped "Sterling" on the back if they are not sterling :-)

It sounds like has the same pattern, but in silver plate rather than in sterling.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 2, 2011

Q. I have a silver tray 14 x 3/4" tall my mother in law left to me. I was cleaning it today and on the bottom I uncovered a mark. which says Forbes Siver Company. In the center is an eagle and the #95 under it also I think it says quadruple.

identification mark on silver tray

Is this tray worth anything for the silver content?

Alice Resue
hobbyist - Wolcott, New York USA

November 8, 2011

A. Hi, Alice.

The photos you sent were unfortunately out of focus and the markings are a blur. They probably wouldn't have helped anyway as there are hundreds of thousands of hallmarks and no hallmarking experts standing by :-(

But since there is no "Sterling" mark on it and because "quadruple" probably means quadruple plated, my guess is there are no substantial or easily recoverable silver values. Sorry.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 9, 2012

Q. I have a Forbes Silver Co Teapot, an antique handed down in my wife's family from about 1867, They are all Scots and part of the Forbes clan. It has a crest and warranted 965 stamped on the bottom. Plus maker marks. It has a sterling silver body and a silver plated brass feet, spout and handle. It really was used, so much so there are patches inside from washing the silver away. If it is not marked with a silver content or a Sterling Hallmark, it is more likely silver plate than Sterling silver.

Rudy Lanzendorfer
- Camino, California

February 17, 2012

Q. I have a 18 inch silver platter. It has the markings of Rondane Meriden SP CO International S Co #4169. It is non-magnetic. I tried the acid test on one of the feet and it came up a creamy color. I took it to a silver exchange and was told it can't be solid silver. There is no ware marks on it. It does have scratches but the all polished to the same silver color. Is this tray worth anything?

Jenice Ritter
- Benson, Arizona, USA

Ed. note: Gentle readers, this site is about metal finishing. Sometimes we veer off topic a bit, and it's no problem if people ask for general ways to figure out what they have.

But countless millions of people have odd pieces in their attic, and whenever we wander into identification and valuation, we're instantly absolutely swamped with requests (this is one of dozens of such threads) :-(

If your question is about general procedures, we can try to help but we simply have no choice but to discard your inquiry if you are asking how much something is worth. Sorry!

March 11, 2012

Q. Hello. I am so glad this site is here.
I have a cigarette lighter (vintage/antique) that says EP Sterling the EP is kind of weird but I am thinking this means electroplated but why then would the word sterling still be present?

My question is: is this sterling? I have checked hallmarks everywhere and my only conclusion is that it is electroplated but that does not make sense w/ the word sterling

Any help would be grand.
Thanks in advance.

Sarah Kettle
- Plano, Texas USA

April 11, 2012

A. Hi Sarah.

Does the lighter have any gold plating on it? This marking is often used on jewelry that is gold plated sterling silver.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 11, 2012

Q. My husband and I have a silver serving tray that has the hallmarks for Forbes Silver Co. We cannot find any other markings that would say it is plated or real sterling. How do we find this out?

Wendy Smith
- Seymour, Tennessee, USA

April , 2012

A. Hi Wendy.

This question was already at least partially answered above on August 5, 2008.

In addition, Forbes Silver Co. was reportedly established for the purpose of making silver plate, and it's not marked Sterling or 925. You may see hints like a faint coppery look in heavily worn areas that would indicate that it is plated. You can look for similar items on Ebay.

You can have it tested or test it yourself but, sorry, I think you'd be clutching for straws.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 22, 2012

Q. Hello! I picked up a double sized table silver spoon that has Large U.S.N. underneath on the top part of the handle. There is a small crown stamped at the base on the bottom backside of the spoon. Could it be Sterling?

Michael Lant
- San Luis Obispo, California

April 27, 2012

A. Hi Michael. Anything is possible, but if they didn't bother stamping it Sterling or .925 then it sounds unlikely.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 15, 2012

Q. I have a small creamer. It is marked on the bottom INTERNATIONAL SILVER CO. Hilton 6-C-115 5 oz. and the number 73 in a small square. It's very heavy, it's not marked sterling or silver plate it has small dents but shows no signs of wear or any plating coming off. can you help me figure out if its silver or tell me anything about it. thank you Nancy

Nancy Hurst
- Belleville, Illinois

June 22, 2012

Q. Is my International Silver Co. A Sheraton Hotel 56 oz. numbered bowl solid silver?

I have a silver bowl, it is numbered and says International Silver Co. A Sheraton Hotel 56 oz.
And it also has 63 inside a box next to the weight. A magnet does not stick, but that doesn't tell me anything. I would so appreciate any good advise. Thank You

Cristi Jones
- Lott, Texas

September 7, 2012

Q. I have I think is a gravy bowl the trade mark reads
Early American International Silver company. It also has in the trademark, a IS, it also has the number of 2116.

Vicky Weaver
- Whitinsville, Massachusetts, America

November 13, 2012

Q. I have a pitcher that has a symbol stamped on the bottom, made in England, and 24.

identification symbol on pitcher-1 identification symbol on pitcher-2 identification symbol on pitcher-3

Amy Gage
- Flower Mound, Texas, USA

December 23, 2012

Q. Hello I have several antique pieces that were bequeathed to me. They are at least 60 years old as they were wedding gifts in 1952. I have a 1. sugar and creamer sorry no tray with markings Wm A Rogers (in a box) then underneath SP Copper B.M MTS 2936 2. an oval tray with scrolling on top on the bottom it has Essay Canada E.P. Copper 612 3. oval tray with different scrolling on bottom it has Puritan Plate S.P. Copper 8010 and 4. a round plate on a mound with decorative handles the plate has scrolling on the bottom it has Puritan Plate S Copper Lead Mound 80156. I was wondering if anyone could tell me about these pieces so I know what I have.

Thank you

Flora Rhodenizer
- Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada

December 30, 2012

Q. I just bought in a thrift shop a large serving tray. It is beautiful. It has braided handles with a basket weave design around the inside of the tray. There is fruit on both sides of the tray. Strawberries, oranges, grapes, pears which are raised up. It is marked Gorham on the back. There are no numbers or other markings on this piece. It is not tarnished in any way. Do you know what this could possibly be? New, old. It does not say plated anywhere either. Just Gorham.

Karen Morgan
- Woodbridge, New Jersey, USA

December 31, 2012

A. Hi Karen. If it's not marked "Sterling" it's probably silver plate, or maybe just nickel plated. If you send a photo, there's a one in a thousand chance someone will be familiar with it; with only a verbal description, unfortunately it's about one in a million :-(

Please look for similar items on e-bay, where prices of trays that match your description run from about $5.95 to $595. Good luck with it.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 11, 2013

Q. My silver finding. Is the Goldinger silver mirror comb real silver?

Miguel Boza
- West Palm Beach, Florida

February 13, 2013

A. Sorry, Miguel, but I strongly doubt it.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 28, 2013

Q. A flea market find Is a 7" International Silver Co. tray with # 05101 Palmer House and small square with 59 in it . I would like to know age & silver content. Google was useless as was International Silver Co. web site.

Thomas Hourigan
- Holland, Pennsylvania USA

March 31, 2013

A. Hi Thomas. "Palmer House" is probably the Palmer House in Chicago, but my googling doesn't seem to indicate any special market for Palmer House items. When a tray is not marked "sterling" it is almost surely just silver plate. And I doubt that anyone short of an expert who specialized in International Silver brand silver plate could help you identify, let alone evaluate, one particular piece of silver plate out of probably thousands that I.S. made (I doubt there is such an expert because who can make a career of consulting on whether things are worth $1 vs. $20).

I think the best plan is to look at similar stuff on Ebay. You don't need to find an exact match to get a feel for 7" silver plated trays. There are pay-to-play sites where you can look up prices that items sold for, but it doesn't seem worthwhile to join those sites for an items that almost surely can't be worth $50. If you look more carefully and it says "sterling", that's a different story, of course. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 27, 2013

Q. I found a silver wine glass it is stamped on the bottom International Silver Co. and a symbol also a c with a circle around it. Help please.

silver wine glass-1 silver wine glass-2

Angela Farley
- Pell City, Alabama, US

September 1, 2013

Q. Hello,

First, I'd like to thank you for providing advice online.

Yesterday, I found a neat 8 oz. teapot at a Garage sale. It states on the bottom the following:
International Silver Co
Silver Soldered
8 oz. (then in a square the number 24)
(a small triangle then the number 7 to the right of the triangle)
August 27, 1918

Then at the bottom, it is stamped as follows:

Nina Rash
- San Leandro, California, USA

January 31, 2014

Q. Ted,

In regards to my neat little teapot I found (written on September 1st, 2013), do you think it has any value?
I appreciate your help.

Nina Rash [returning]
- San leandro
- San Leandro, California, USA

January 2014

A. Hi Nina. I'm only the webmaster, not an antiques expert, but I think it has no value because virtually no such silverplate has any value. Apparently it was a very common and inexpensive wedding gift in the 30s, 40s & 50s and there is loads of it out there. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but see "What to Do with Plated Silver", where you'll hear that it sometimes can't be sold for $1 at charity auctions because nobody wants it.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 24, 2013

Q. I found a silver on copper -- what I would call a creamer cup for a tea set -- with the letter S stamped on the bottom of it- there Is no circle around the S or any other markings that I can find except the words silver on copper. Can anybody help me?

Marvin Nealy
- St.Charles, Missouri

December 26, 2013

A. Hi Marvin. I'm not sure what info you are looking for, but in the 1930s through '50s such items were inexpensive and extremely popular wedding gifts. There are tens of thousands (probably more) of styles of silverplate, so a random "s" stamped on it won't take you far. But such items have no intrinsic value at all, and the chances are almost zero that they have any collectibles value either. Very sorry.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 22, 2014

Q. I have a Crescent 8 in. tray with 3 logos on the back, 1) is of a lion. 2) is of a crescent moon & 3) is a swan like bird w/ a crown on its head and the number 1672 E underneath it. Can you tell me if it's sterling or plated silver the year and what it could be valued at.

Thank you, Kellie

Kellie Hemminger
- Oroville, California USA

February 2014

A. Bad news, Kellie. Regarding the hallmarks, do a Google or Bing image search for "Crescent Silver Marks" and you'll see what you described, and they will lead you to Ebay and similar. It doesn't say Sterling, so it almost surely isn't. It's probably one of millions of old silverplate serving pieces; odds are 99.99% that it's worthless. Sorry.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 13, 2014

Q. I found what I assume to be a tea pitcher with 8 spoons attached all the way around the sides. On the bottom it has the Forbes Silver Company stamp with Quadruple 543. I cannot find any information or photos of this.


Any help would be appreciated? I know it was my great great grandmother's.

Deb Adler
- Greeley, Colorado USA

April 2014

A. Hi Deb. It's plated pewter or nickel-silver (which contains no silver) and it has no intrinsic value. Most serving pieces have no collectible value either, although this is unusual looking and looks very old, so I can't rule out that someone somewhere might want to go to the cost of having it replated. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 23, 2014

A. Best website i have found is:
I've had great success locating the hallmarks (symbols) at this site.

A heads up for all that are in search of answers if it does not say Sterling or 925, there is a very strong possibility that it's plated.

Bruce Swing
- Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S.

How to sell silverplate and sterling

May 31, 2014

Q. In the process of selling my mother's home -- a cabinet filled with sterling and silverplated serving pieces. Can you please tell me of a place in NJ/NY area that will look at the pieces and buy them. Thank you.

Donna Carey
daughter helping mother - Wall, New Jersey

May 2014

A. Hi Donna. It isn't much of a simplification to say that silver plate is almost never worth anything at all, and that if the piece isn't marked "Sterling", it's not. Take whatever isn't marked "Sterling"" to Goodwill or a place like that.

As for the sterling, you can't ride 2 blocks here in southern NJ without seeing the "We buy gold" signs and banners -- and they all buy sterling; give a couple of them a call.

This technical site doesn't name companies because as soon as there is commercial value to a posting we are drowned under spam, and there are truly a hundred such places in a 10-mile radius from you. Sorry, and best of luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 10, 2014

Q. I have a bowl I picked up. It had no markings or numbers. Does that mean it's just a decorative piece?

Tammy Earl
- Omaha, Nebraska United States

July 2014

A. Hi Tammy. It almost surely has no intrinsic scrap metal value if that's what you mean by "just a decorative piece". But enjoy it!


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 13, 2014

Q. I found a cute little silver cup and it is stamped with "T&CO" and beneath it stamped with 20__2. I really don't think it is real silver but you never know. Can you help?
Thank you,

Andrea Thomas
- Statesville, North Carolina USA

July 23, 2014

Q. Hi, I have a stamped Sheffield plate. I believe it to be sterling silver, can anyone identify the markings?

Corey Ortego
- Beaumont Texas

Ed. note: We have no photos from you, Corey. Please email them to, and tell us what reasons you have for believing it is sterling (it looks like Sheffield made both sterling and silver plate). Thanks.

July 28, 2014

Sheffield Plate is made by fusing about a 1/8" layer of pure silver to an ingot made from a copper alloy, usually nickel silver, which actually contains no silver. This sandwich is then rolled out or beaten to sheet of the desired thickness. Modern gold-filled is made in much the same way.

The object made from this sheet usually contains from 6% to 20% silver, by weight, depending on the quality. Standard Sheffield Plate runs about 8-9% silver by weight.

In essence, Sheffield Plate is a copper alloy base with very heavy silver plating on it. It's purpose was to offer an alternative to the much more expensive solid sterling silver.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

July 24, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I see those silver casserole holder all the time, but they usually don't have any markings. How can you tell if they are real silver? If they are plated are they worth anything as scrap?

Adie Morrow
- Albia, Iowa USA

July 2014

A. Hi Adie. We appended your inquiry to one of several existing long threads on the topic, where you can investigate test methods, etc. But the short answer is that if it's not stamped "Sterling" or "925" the odds are very small that it is real silver. Unless it is very obviously very old, the odds are near zero. And silver plate is not worth anything significant as scrap.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 10, 2014

Q. Have silver trays. One says 4687 with a square stamp with dots in it and 60a1945 9228 1/2.The other has a coat of arms with a crown at the top stamped cs.

ann sims
- kc Missouri

August 2014

A. Hi Ann. There are many hundreds of thousands of different hallmarks and markings, and no hallmark has ever been identified on this site from a verbal description despite thousands being posted and the pages being read by a million people. Sorry.

But the short answer is (sorry to be the messenger of bad news) that unless it's sterling silver (and it's almost surely not if it isn't stamped "Sterling" or "925"), they are not worth anything at all. Please see letter 36471 "How to Test Silver at Home" where Phil Dreis of Antique Cupboard explains the situation in a youtube video. Good luck anyway :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 22, 2014

Q. I bought a mirror, brush, and comb set from an estate sale and I am unsure how to identify it. I think from what I have found online so far that it is a Godinger silver plated set. It has roses and lacey lines. Anyway, I was just curious if you have more information on the set for me.

Shelley Breeden
- Atchison, Kansas USA

September 2014

A. Hi Shelley. This site focuses on metal finishing, but for every metal finisher in the world there are a thousand people who find something interesting in grandma's attic or at a flea market, so some of the conversations drift away from our intended topic. We've posted your question, but sorry, I would have no knowledge of Godinger Mirror, Brush and Comb sets (except that there are dozens on e-bay from $19 - $89), or any other antique or collectible. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 4, 2014

Q. I found a cream and silver bowl set. It says on the bottom "Silver on Cuppe" with a Crown followed by the letter D followed by another symbol I can't quite make out. The only way I know to describe is it looks like a screw pointing what would be 2 o'clock to the right. Any assistance in identifying would be greatly appreciated.

Angela Kelly
- Summerville, South Carolina, USA

October 7, 2014

Q. I have a silver tray I found when I was 15 years old; I am now 60. It has the tree design with the pool at the bottom of it, iit is called "Community Plate" with the numbers 19528 following it. It appears to be solid silver; it is very heavy and I think it was made before they showed sterling sliver on the tray. Is there any way I can get information as to who made it and how old it may be? It has symbols on the top and bottom of the tray in a double V shape large V with smaller one on top of the other one... and a symbol on either side of those of V shapes with 5 marks to make up the V shape. Please help me find out about this tray. Thank you.

russell c. treme
- lake charles, louisiana USA

October 9, 2014

A. Hello Russell,
Ted answered to a similar question in Sept. Responders on this site are happy to help with finishing questions, but do not have the time to do extensive internet research on vintage or antique items. I would start with what you do know such as googling "Early Silver Community Trays" to find out more about it. If you want to know if it is Pure Sterling any pawn shop or good jeweler will test it for you.

Mark Baker
Process Engineer - Phoenix, Arizona USA

October 19, 2014

Q. I have an antique teapot, looks like silver, and on the bottom it has "8100" under that "6" and under that "Company". It looks like they were hand punched into the metal because spacing is inconsistent and lettering is not on a straight line. I can't find it anywhere. Does it sound familiar or can you tell me where I can go to find out?

Donna Savage
- Rocky Mount, North Carolina

October 2014

thumbs up signHi Donna. I think Mark's advice was good. This is a public forum focused primarily on metal finishing, not antique collecting. If curious collectors wish to help each other, we're happy to make the space available and to bring the needed traffic. But if everyone just posts their questions, and the collectors don't help each other, it's just going to be a long string of questions -- and that can get silly :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 21, 2014

Q. Found 2 old vases and 2 old glasses, and they have a stamp at the bottom that looks like crowned swan and "95%" inscribed, could that be silver?

Milos Glen
- Ulcinj, Montenegro

October 28, 2014

Q. My Grandmother left me what You would call a bride's basket, only it has a shape I have not been able to locate anywhere on line. Berby Silver Co Quadruple Plate with number 1202 stamped. Could not download pictures. Is there a difference between quadruple plate verus silver plate? Since I can not locate any other photos of it and it is finally decorated and footed with handle, how do I know the value?

sheryl parnell
- Columbia, South Carolina, US

November 9, 2014

Q. Quadruple plate 6" silver tray: I have a 6" tray from Riverton Silver in Philadelphia, PA. It was my mother-in-laws and we are trying to find the value of small tray. Thank you for help.

jane prusso
hobbyist - Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

November 2014

A. Hi. It's plated, not sterling, so it has no intrinsic value (scrap value). You can take it to antique shops for valuation but, sorry to tell you, it's almost surely worth only its sentimental value. We've received hundreds and hundreds of letters, as have other sites, from people who want to sell such stuff, and zero (let that sink in) requests from people wanting to buy it. And if anybody did want to buy it, it's such a glut on the market that they can fill trunk loads with it essentially for free :-)

The listings you see on e-bay are for what people want for it ($10-$20) but aren't getting.



Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 19, 2014

Q. Hello! I have recently acquired a Reed & Barton Triplex spoon with no other stamps and I have done all hallmark tests except acid and Archimedes. Is there still a chance it could not be silver? Is has a good luster and is not magnetic.

Ethan Rubio
- dallas texas usa

November 2014

A. Hi Ethan. Where does the name "Triplex" come from, or what does it mean? I'd have guessed that it meant a triple layer of plating (probably copper, silver strike, silver plate). If that is where the name came from, it's certainly not solid silver.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 30, 2014

Q. Essay canada, 256546 Tea Set. I am trying to find an indicator if this is sterling or plated copper?

Michelle Knox
- Arizona USA

November 2014

A. Hi Michelle. The easiest indicator is that if it's not stamped "Sterling" or "925", it is almost surely not sterling. A second indicator is the Essay silverplate for sale on Ebay, and the lack of Essay sterling for sale there. There are, of course, chemical tests if you're not swayed by this. Good luck.

Enough, folks. As we saw coming earlier, this thread deteriorated to "silly" with hundreds of people posting identifying markings but nobody identifying any. We'll post any answers that are submitted, but there is simply no point in posting additional questions unless we see people answering other poster's questions. Thanks for your understanding.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 21, 2016

! Good Sir, I beg to differ with you. To say send the plate to Goodwill is a bit hasty is it not? Four times plate, three times, and so on? I have seen sets of plate that were breathtaking. When someone gets great-grandma's silver tea set complete, I say love it, care for it. It has value, most of all to the beholder. So you can slam me and plates but I think a wise man would agree.

Dave Blue
- Grants Pass, Oregon

April 2016

thumbs up signHi Dave. No one is slamming you or great-grandma's silverplated tea set. We are all for sentimental value, beauty, and art. I've said "enjoy it!" a hundred times on this and related threads. We agree that people should keep it, not melt it.

But the endlessly repeated question here has been what is the re-sale value or intrinsic metal value of old silverplate -- and the answer is zero 99.99% of the time: no one anywhere wants it.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

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