What should collectors consider when purchasing silver antiques?
Choosing the right piece for a collection involves researching its background, such as its origin and current value, determining its authenticity, and assessing any damage. Collectors may also want to look for a monogram, as monograms can increase the value of a silver antique, depending upon its historical significance.
How do you properly care for silver antiques?
Silver antiques develop a desirable patina over time, particularly if they are frequently washed and polished a few times each year. This occurs when silver begins to turn a light golden color. Avoid using bleach or soaking the piece overnight, and keep silver antiques away from other metals to prevent adverse reactions. Also, when cleaning silver antiques, use soft sponges and mild cleaners, as harsh chemicals and steel wool can scratch silver.
What are the different types of silver?
Fine silver has a purity of .999, which makes it one of the purest forms of silver. Sterling silver is one of the most popular choices, with a .925 purity rating, and it often possesses a greater luster and color. Coin silver, which has a .900 purity rating, was used to make coins at one time but now appears in a wide range of other silver collectibles. There are also silver alloys that have a purity ranging between .800 and .899, making them more tarnish-resistant than other forms of silver. Silver plate is another type of silver with a lesser degree of purity. Silver plated antiques are constructed of a base metal and then coated in a thin outer layer of silver.