Desperately Seeking Silver – Continental European Silver

Desperately Seeking Silver - Continental European Silver
A sumptuous place-setting of gilt 19th century (pre-1888) German silver flatware. The set is marked "Freidberg 12 Loth Silb", indicating a fineness of 75%. These pieces are very heavy and ornately decorated - both signs of good quality silverware.

The mobile computing revolution has taken over the world - and our lives along with it. Smart phones, tablets and laptops are ubiquitous in today's society. They keep us connected to the world in ways unimaginable a mere few decades ago. But some would argue that they really hold us captive, making us slaves to work, the 24 hour news cycle and even our friends. Somehow, amid all the texts, tweets and pics we forgot our birthright. We neglected the legacies that our grandparents held dear. We turned our gaze from the shining truth of yesteryear's golden-age to watch the latest sports scores scroll by on a 4 inch LCD screen. You will not bequeath your iPhone to your grandchildren. Your Amazon Kindle tablet will not become an heirloom treasured by future generations. But there are some parts of our illustrious patrimony that can be readily reclaimed by those who are willing. Among them is beautiful, useful and durable Continental European silverware, an investment that will surely be cherished for many generations to come.

Continental European silver is the perfect intersection of pragmatic serviceability, uncompromising old-world craftsmanship, and hidden value. For hundreds of years, solid silver flatware and hollowware has been used as a store of value and a signifier of noble status. And today it is possible to acquire fine Continental European silver originating from France, Germany, Russia or other European nations for relatively modest sums. Most pieces encountered today were manufactured between the early 19th century and the mid 20th century, although it is still possible to occasionally find specimens from the 18th century. In contrast to the British sterling standard of 92.5% fineness, Continental European silver was crafted in purities varying from 75% fine to over 95% fine. Regardless of these inconsequential differences in fineness standards, Continental European silver can easily match, or even surpass, British silver in terms of workmanship and artistry.

Affordable Continental Silver Tableware For Sale

 
VINTAGE FRENCH CARVING SET IN ORIGINAL BOX
$135.00
Ends: 10d 10h 55m
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Set 6 Antique Russian 84 Silver Teaspoons Hallmarked Moscow Itska Lozinsky c1900
$164.99
Ends: 12d 12h 13m
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830 Silver Sugar Bowl and Creamer Set with Matching Tray made in Germany
$165.00
Ends: 19d 6h 38m
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SET 6 Czarist RUSSIAN Silver COFFEE SPOONS Musician Bowl Backs Moscow 1874 NR
$199.99
Ends: 21d 17h 16m
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Russian Sterling Silver Nesting Cups Set of 6 155 Grams
$137.95
Ends: 16d 9h 27m
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Continental European silver is usually less expensive than its British equivalents. The primary reason for this is because Great Britain has a very consistent and well documented hallmarking system that has been in place since medieval times. This makes British sterling silver easily attributable to not only maker, but also city and year of manufacture. Continental European silver, in comparison, has a plethora of confusing and poorly recorded hallmarks that can make identification challenging, or sometimes even impossible. As a result, collectors of high quality silver have traditionally tended to gravitate towards the more easily identified British pieces, driving up their prices. This has created a unique opportunity for the savvy connoisseur to acquire stunningly beautiful Continental European silver at very attractive prices.

Gilded French Silver Tableware For Sale

 
2 French 950 Sterling Silver w Gilt Bowl Floral Motif Salad Servers
$625.00
Ends: 18d 8h 40m
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Antique French Sterling Silver Gilt Vermeil Scalloped Strawberry Serving Spoon
$495.00
Ends: 25d 19h 28m
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French Lappara  Gabriel Gilt Sterling Silver Demitasse 12 Spoons Sugar Tongs
$420.00
Ends: 9d 19h 30m
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ANTIQUE FRENCH SILVER TOOTHPICK FIGURAL PROPELLING NOVELTY SHAPE PISTOL W GILT
$650.00
Ends: 27d 8h 11m
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11 Coffee Spoons Henin and Cie French 950 Sterling Silver  Vermeil Superb
$499.99
Ends: 4d 8h 45m
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Often gilt, French silver drips with remarkably beautiful floral, scrollwork or ribbon motifs. It possesses an organic je ne sais quoi that appeals to the most discerning of collectors. The most prominent French silversmith is the venerable firm of Puiforcat, a maker of highly coveted silver for over 150 years. The French hallmarking system was one of the first to go decimal in the world, doing so shortly after the French Revolution. There are primarily two different French silver finenesses that are encountered: first standard at 95% silver and second standard at 80% silver. Both are denoted on most items by the Minerva's head hallmark accompanied by either the number "1" or "2" beside the head of the goddess, depending on the standard.

French Silver Tableware by Puiforcat For Sale

 
10 French Sterling Silver Forks by Puiforcat in Bougainville Pattern
$800.00
Ends: 16h 54m
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Fine Vintage Art Moderne Deco PUIFORCAT France Sterling Silver Round Box Jar
$995.00
Ends: 1d 15h 4m
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Louis XV by Puiforcat French Sterling Silver Dinner Knife Blunt 10
$289.00
Ends: 24d 16h 45m
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VERY RARE 20 PUIFORCAT BOUGAINVILLE 950 STERLING SILVER SEAFOOD FORKS
$1,500.00
Ends: 18d 9h 31m
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ANTIQUE FRENCH PUIFORCAT SILVER DINNER KNIVES PRESENTATION CASE 10 830 GRAM WT
$1,595.00
Ends: 14d 12h 40m
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German silversmiths produced silver in similar, although ever so subtly more reserved, styles compared to their French counterparts. However, Germany produced silver to just as high a standard as the French. German silver tends to feel a bit heavier and more solid than similar pieces by French silversmiths. The pre-1888 fineness standard for silver in the German States was the loth (or lot) system, with 16 loth corresponding to 100% fine silver. Usually German silver is found hallmarked with 12, 13 or 14 loth purities, which translates into finenesses of 75%, 81.25%, and 87.5%, respectively. In 1888 Germany adopted a unified hallmarking system that employed the familiar decimal standard. A crescent moon and crown hallmark beside the number "800", representing 80% fineness, is the typical mark found on these later pieces.

German Silver Tableware For Sale

 
ANTIQUE GERMAN SILVER 800 14 PIECE SET SPOONS 568 GRAMS
$462.00
Ends: 29d 12h 14m
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Set of 12 Antique Germany 800 Silver Ice Cream Sherbet Spoons
$299.99
Ends: 24d 15h 9m
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Set of 12 Antique 800 Silver Dessert or Coffee Teaspoons Germany Boxed
$295.00
Ends: 3d 7h 40m
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EUGEN MARCUS 800 SILVER SET 12 LOBSTER PICKS FIGURAL NOT STERLING GERMAN
$795.00
Ends: 2d 9h 9m
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Set of 6 German 800 Silver Cups Saucers Etched Palm Trees  Pyramids
$950.00
Ends: 28d 9h 40m
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Russian silver usually exhibits bright-cut designs in a flat, two-dimensional style that is almost medieval in its texture. Russian silversmiths also indulged in profuse gilding of their creations, recalling the gold-leafed onion domes that are so iconic in Russian architecture. Russian silver's other trademark techniques are niello and cloisonné enamel. Niello is a mixture of silver, copper, lead and sulfur that is selectively applied to the surface of a silver object, producing a high contrast between the hematite-colored niello and bright silver. Cloisonné enamel is produced by using wire to segment the surface of a metal object into many different cells to form a pattern or design. Powdered enamel is then carefully put into the cells, each one with a different color. The entire piece is then fired in an oven at a high temperature, causing the powdered enamel to liquefy and become glass-like. The result is a stunningly colorful glass-mosaic-over-metal effect. These unusual techniques cause Russian silver to be very distinctive from what was produced in the rest of Europe contemporaneously.

Russian Silver Tableware with Niello For Sale

 
Set of 12 Russian Niello Silver 84 Spoons dated 1880 4 1 4 In Original Case
$1,099.00
Ends: 2d 9h 54m
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Set of Six Russian Silver  Niello Spoons with building illustrations
$750.00
Ends: 24d 13h 19m
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Set Of Russian Silver Niello 875 Kubachi Vintage 2 Cups W Tray Weight 236 Gr
$799.00
Ends: 20d 4h 19m
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Antique Imperial Russian 84 Silver 6 spoons set niello enamel 1848
$760.00
Ends: 9d 7h 32m
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Antique RUSSIAN SILVER NIELLO CUPS VODKA SET GILDING 376 gr 1325 oz
$650.00
Ends: 5d 15h 28m
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Russian silver falls into two broad categories: pieces from the Soviet Era, post 1917, and those from the Czarist era, pre-1917. At the current time, silver from the Czarist period is in high demand and hence more expensive than silver from the Soviet period. It should also be noted that Russian pieces are generally somewhat more expensive than other Continental European silver. The Czarist Russian fineness standard was based on 96 Zolotniks, which equals 100% pure silver. The two alloys usually encountered are 84 or 88 Zolotniks, equivalent to 87.5% and 91.67% silver, respectively. As in so many other countries, hallmarking was switched over to the decimal system in the 20th century during the Soviet era.

Russian Silver Tableware with Cloisonné Enamel For Sale

 
Russian silver goldplated Cloisonne enamel tea spoon set of 12 LOT303
$1,999.00
Ends: 8h 1m
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3 SPOONS CLOISONNE ENAMEL SILVER 84 GUSTAV KLINGERT SET RUSSIAN IMPERIAL ANTIQUE
$575.95
Ends: 9d 14h 28m
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1868 1908 KOKSHNICK RUSSIAN CLOISONNE SILVER 84 ENAMEL SET OF 6 TEA SPOONS
$395.95
Ends: 10d 3h 17m
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STUNNING VINTAGE RUSSIAN SILVER 916 ENAMEL 8 PIECE VODKA SET Soviet Era
$1,900.00
Ends: 11h 6m
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SET OF 6 RUSSIAN HALLMARK SILVER AND ENAMEL COFFEE SPOONS
$259.99
Ends: 6d 20h 6m
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A magnificent set of gleaming Continental European silverware at an upscale dinner party conveys the elegance and sophistication of its host far better than an iPhone. And one doesn't have to be a member of a centuries old noble family to purchase such pieces either. Flatware and small hollowware items start around only $100, while full tea sets or 12-person place-settings can run into the several thousand dollar range. And sometimes these sets can even be found in their original presentation boxes, something that boosts their desirability and value even further. In a time when most people clamor for the dubious benefits of the latest tech gadget, devoting some money to a set of exquisite Continental European silver will surely prove a shrewd financial move.

High-End Continental Silver Tableware For Sale

 
Antique French Sterling Silver 25 pc Stew or Soup Set in Box by Henin
$3,495.00
Ends: 11d 3h 51m
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19th Century French 950 Silver Dish Set of 14 plates Henin  Cie 2 Gold Wash
$7,500.00
Ends: 5d 14h 52m
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Genuine Vintage Antique Russian Imperial Silver 84 3 Piece Tea Set Hallmarked HT
$4,900.00
Ends: 17d 11h 24m
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24pc Antique French Sterling Silver Art Nouveau Fork  Knife Fish Service Set
$3,295.00
Ends: 27d 9h 39m
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Antique French Silver Partial Kings Flatware Set FD Naudin Paris 1819 1838
$2,600.00
Ends: 21d 11h 40m
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