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The House Journal   | September 1902

Collecting Silver Household Items

Tudor Cup, sold for £4,100
image 1 Tudor Cup, sold for £4,100


Collecting silver household items, such as silver goblets and silver spoons, was a popular pastime during the Victorian era in England. The middle and upper classes would often collect these items as a way to display their wealth and social status.

Many of these items were intricately designed and decorated, often featuring elaborate engravings, crests, or monograms. They were often used for special occasions, such as weddings or formal dinners, and would be passed down as family heirlooms. The value of these silver items was also influenced by their weight, with heavier items being more valuable. During this time, silver was a highly prized and expensive metal, and owning a large collection of silver items was seen as a sign of affluence.

Today, Victorian-era silver household items are still highly sought after by collectors and antique enthusiasts. They are often found in antique shops or at auction houses and can range in price depending on their condition, rarity, and historical significance.

Collecting Beautiful Pieces

In the Victorian Era, collecting silver household items was considered a popular and fashionable hobby among the wealthy. Similar to modern collectors, Victorians were drawn to the beauty and craftsmanship of these items, which were often handmade by skilled artisans using traditional methods. Collectors would also appreciate the historical significance of these items, as they often held sentimental or commemorative value, such as a silver goblet from a significant event or a silver spoon passed down through generations. Additionally, the value of silver as a precious metal made it a popular choice for investment and financial security. Overall, the appeal of collecting silver household items in the Victorian Era was rooted in the combination of beauty, history, and value.

Record Prices for Old Silver in 1902

While the price of silver steadily falls, the price of old silver steadily rises. Every year the records are broken at the salesrooms. People were astonished when about £70 per ounce was paid for a James I. mazer six years ago, but the sum of £100 paid by Messrs, Crichton or the Tudor cup of which a rough sketch appears in image 1 beats completely the previous record. The cup is only 4½ inch high and 4¾ inch in diameter and weighs 14oz. 3dwts. The price thus works out at about £290 per ounce. The spoon, surmounted by a figure of St. Nicholas restoring the children to life, dates back to the reign of Henry VII. The exact year is uncertain, but to say that it was manufactured in the last decade of the sixteenth century will not be far wrong. The spoon was sold for £690.

Tudor Spoon, sold for £690
image 2 Tudor Spoon, sold for £690

Exceedingly high prices are nearly always realised for silver of the sixteenth century. This is largely due to the civil disorders occasioned by the suppression of the monasteries when much plate was ruthlessly converted into bullion. Later, the Civil Wars had a similar disastrous result.

It gives me pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness for the illustrations of these remarkable pieces to the Editor of the Watchmaker.


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About this article

The House Journal does not make reference to much silver in these pages. The House Journal orientates itself towards home crafts and furnishings. This article on silver prices is a general piece reporting on news of the day.

This article is a reprint of an existing article with the title of the same name, published in The House, September 1902. It is the intent of this website to present this article in human and machine readable form. Format and editing changes have been made. This article is provided for the purpose of enjoyment only. Any statements in this article were relevant to the published period and may not be applicable in current times.