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topic 37205p3

How to tell plated vs. sterling silver serving tray?

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A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2019

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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 silver plated tea set. I'm all for sentimental value, beauty, and art. I've said "enjoy it!" a hundred times on this and related threads. You and I agree that people should keep it, not melt it.

But Donna's question was what shop would buy her mother's silver plate -- an often repeated question here; and the answer remains that no shop will buy it.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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

A. 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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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 has 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. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

May 10, 2018

Q. I have a pair of silver candlesticks from my grandmother's estate. They are marked Rockford silver "P.OO Quadruple 3021". Where they are worn it still looks silver. Might they be solid silver?

Shawn Ripp
- California, USA

May 2018

Hi Shawn. Between not being marked "Sterling" and being marked "Quadruple", it certainly sounds like they are "quadruple plated" silverplate. So no intrinsic value from melting, and it's been all the news this year that your kids don't want this stuff; but maybe save them for your grandkids because trends come and go :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

August 27, 2018

Q. I have a creamer that is marked on the bottom as follows: SPAULDING-GORHAM STERLING 465/33. No symbols or other marks. So is this piece actually silver, or is it plated?

37205-15b 37205-15a

David Parenteau
Collector - Mesa, Arizona USA

August 2018

A. Hi. Things that are marked sterling probably are.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

September 4, 2018

A. International Silver is almost always silver plate, when international Silver made sterling pieces , it was stamped as International Sterling. IS also means International Silver. Silver hall marking has been around since like the 800s. I believe in the 1300s Europe adopted a system, then in 1800 they condensed and merged everything to a universal system. For the US the standard for Sterling is .925 , S925, 92.5S, or 92.5. The US' hallmark was adopted in the 1800s so anything after and made in the US has to be stamped. Foreign pieces also for the most part are also stamped.

Daniel edwards
- Fern Park, Florida, US

"Italy" mark on double jigger


November 12, 2019

Q. Hi I purchased an antique Double Jigger I believed was silver. It was very tarnished I cleaned it up but the only mark I found on it was ITALY. It weighs 89 grams. I cannot find anywhere online what that means. Is it a metal alloy or silver plate or sterling? The inside of the jigger shined up beautifully, but the outside had been so tarnished it is shiny but not as much as the inside.

Sheree Stoothoff
Amateur - Carlton, Washington USA

November 2019

A. Hi Sheree. "Italy" no doubt means the country Italy. Which means you may have no basis for believing it to be silver, which is usually marked "sterling" or "925". Silver articles are almost always quite thin, rather than thick-walled like this. Far more likely that it's pewter (no intrinsic value). Sorry.

You can invest in testing equipment on the slim chance if you wish.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

Old silver tray and knife

August 29, 2020

Q. I have this old silver tray and knife/chopper.
I have looked all over online and cannot find any like it
Neither have markings on them.
Could they be home made or pre marking era?
Do they have any value? Or where might I find some info on them? Any info would be appreciated.


Chuck Hill
- Florence Alabama

August 2020

A. Hi Chuck. The bad news first:
- Millions & millions of families have old servingware items in their basement, attic, or garage, and the overwhelming majority of it is without value; many church sales and Goodwill-style outlets won't even accept it.
- Nobody cares what is in someone else's attic when they have stuff in their own that they haven't bothered with, so the public participation on these questions has been virtually non-existent; over the years we've averaged less than one response per hundred posted questions about "silver" items :-(

The good news is that:
- "We Buy Gold!" stores who will test your tray for valuable metals have sprung up on every 3rd corner across the country.
- There are numerous "virtual appraisal" websites on google who will, for a fee, try to tell you what you've got.

My first question, and probably anyone's would be: you called it "silver". But do you merely mean that, to your eye, it is generally silvery in color, or do you have a reason to believe that it actually is silver? Pictures go only so far, and this one is in rather poor focus, and I'm not seeing a good reason to believe it isn't aluminum or pewter or silverplate. It could even be solid tin or pressed zinc, which would be interesting. Please take it to a "We Buy Gold" and tell us what they say. Good luck.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

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