Searching for Silver
The majority of reproductions are usually made to fill a demand for a hugely popular or hot product. Some recent examples being cobalt blue royal lace depression glass, Roseville pottery, Gall cameo glass and Pairpoint Puffy lamps. Originals in all those lines bring high prices and you can at least understand why they would be reproduced, copied or forged.
A mail order firm is selling the above item as a sterling ice cream server. The catalog copy says it is antique sterling silver. What the catalog doesnt say is that its made from an ordinary butter knife with the blade removed and a stainless steel scoop added. Price $79. Dont be mislead by old hall sterling hallmarks. Wayne Smith, author of Ice Cream Dippers, says there never were any old scoops made like this.
This Victorian look-alike silver-plated toothpick holder is being offered by several mail order catalogs. Although generally similar to original turn-of-century pieces, ACRN could not find an exact old counterpart. There are no marks on the new piece. Silver plate is good quality but the finishing on the base is poor. Note how the marks on the base are parallel and perfectly aligned. This is a sign of power tools, not normal wear.
This new matchsafe features a falconlike bird in the lower right and two small birds flying across a full moon in the upper right. It is marked Sterling around the rim. No old safe like this is known. This fantasy piece first appeared in 1992. It is still in production. Shown slightly larger than actual size.
This new shoe pin cushion has lots of details; the new chick pin cushion is about average. Shoe marked .925; chick marked Sterling. There is also part of a country name on the shoe that appears to be Mexico but is not legible. ACRN paid about $10 each wholesale. Note that the shoe has a jump ring; it could also show up as a charm.
Under U.S. law, articles marked "sterling" or "sterling silver" must test a minimum of .925 parts (92 percent) pure silver with no more than 004 variation.
New sterling matchsafes continue to appear in English fairs and markets. The pattern has been for the safes to first appear in England, then gradually spread into the American market. Many new safes are brought back to the US either knowingly or through honest mistakes as dealers stock. Other new safes are purchased by American collectors from English dealers offering new pieces through internet auctions.
This sterling whistle arrived too late to be included in the February issue on Victorian silver novelties. It is 2 long.
Two more new matchsafes have been found marked sterling and .925. Since the mid-1970s, most silver reproductions were marked .925 only. Sterling was originally found only on vintage pieces of American silver. Only recently have reproductions been found with both sterling and .925. Any piece of silver marked with both .925 and sterling should be examined very closely for signs of normal wear and age.
This new sterling novelty appeared in November - December, 1997 in a silver importers catalog. Its made in a loose copy of early 19th century silver originals. It has a whistle on one end, bells on either side and a mother of pearl teether; overall length, 4. Like many other new sterling items, this piece is made in Thailand (note original crude string tag). The only permanent mark is Sterling stamped into the mouthpiece of the whistle.