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Determining Silver Plate vs. Sterling Silver

Category Miscellaneous
There are marks on the bottom of silver pieces that with the help of the internet, can tell you whether it is sterling or not. This is a guide about determining silver plate vs. sterling silver.


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October 26, 2010

Do you know that there are marks on the bottom of silver and silverplate items that tell you who made it and if it's sterling or silverplate? Did you know that all this information is on the internet if you do a google search for silverplate marks? It was fun finding out that my 'plate" thing was silverplate from a Connecticut firm which closed in 1939, and that my pitcher thing was English Sheffield Ware (Fenton Bros - date?)


By Pam from L.A., CA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
April 22, 2011

I really need to know how to tell if a piece is truly sterling or if it is just silver plated? I did the white cloth test and it did turn black. I read on line also that a magnet would not stick to sterling silver. Is that true? It is stamped with the #'s 05601 D4 23 and the words Reed and Barton and Regent and the elephant for the year 1952.

By Tangie from Springville, AL

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April 23, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

All of the sterling silver I have ever seen has sterling engraved on it. This is a beautiful tray.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Sterling silver always (without exception) will be labeled with the word sterling so since yours does not include that, it is silver plated. Silver plate can wear off whereas sterling is solid (sterling knives have hollow centers). All silver tarnishes whether it is sterling or plated. As long as it looks good, enjoy using it. You just need to use a quality tarnish remover of some type. Outside of sneaking a look on the back of flat wear at friend's place, check whether sterling or not by sticking spoon in hot drink. The sterling will heat up rather rapidly.

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November 13, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Anything after approximately WWII will be stamped. Before then, metals weren't required to be labeled, according to the company that valued my great grandmother's silver for my insurance.

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April 23, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with Hate Litter, the tray is beautiful. My suggestion is to go to the Replacements, Ltd, out of Greensboro, NC, website and you can email them and send a photo of the tray. They will look it up for you and either call you or telephone you with what they find. I have done this many times and they are so nice to deal with.

I have lots of sterling silver pieces but also have some very beautiful and heavy silver plated pieces that I use right along side my sterling. As long as it looks good to me, I use it. Good luck!

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful

Take it to a good jewerly store and they will tell you. If you want it appraised they will charge for that service.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful

Magnets will not stick to sterling, but they also do not stick to aluminum, pewter, tungsten, platinum, brass or copper as well as alloys of these.

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April 26, 20111 found this helpful

I was watching show that was verifying antique sterling silver vs silver plate & the man said to sniff the tray. Sterling silver has a sweet smell but plate has a bad almost rancid smell up close.

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February 7, 20170 found this helpful

If your tray also has a C encircling an A, that symbol began being used in 1945 and indicates it is silver plate over a Copper Alloy base metal.

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March 3, 20130 found this helpful

I have a Mappin and Webb goblet or trophy which says it is from 1884. All that is on the bottom is the Mappin and Webb stamp and 3 dots stamped in a triangle formation. Can anybody tell me if its silver or anything else about it? Thanks.

By Kyle

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 5, 20130 found this helpful

Hi - you should always go to Google for your information.

Just type in:

Mappin and Webb Silver Goblet

and you will see plenty of sites for information..

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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