(click on images to enlarge)
STERLING SILVER OR SILVERPLATE?
WHAT IS BETTER?
Although I am somewhat obsessed about whether something is
silver or plated, I am in fact not overly obsessed as are many
other collectors of my acquaintance. I say this for two reasons:
first, historically there has never been a wider gap between the
price of a silver item and its equivalent in plated silver or
Sheffield Plate. Which clearly means that there are some
wonderful plated silver pieces available on the market more
under rated and underpriced today than ever. And secondly, in my
opinion, some things are better if not sterling silver, by which
I mean more practical if SP instead of sterling simply because
sterling silver is relatively soft.
The best example in my opinion of an item better in SP than
sterling is that most English of implements, the Stilton cheese
scoop. For the uninitiated, the cheese scoop is used to
literally dig out from the centre of a whole round Stilton
cheese the unique blue cheese, England's equivalent to the
French Roquefort and Italy's Gorgonzola. How many sterling
silver cheese scoops must have been buckled and bent under the
arm of an impatient English gentleman desperate for his quota of
Stilton to accompany his vintage Port?
As a lover of both Stilton and good Port, I consciously sought
out the most elegant SP cheese scoop in could find, with a
magnificently carved bulbous ivory handle as seen in the images.
My question is simply this: on the basis of the marks, who was
the maker, and how old is it? I cannot answer either; but my
guess as a date would be mid to late Victorian (see NOTE).
Incidentally, another typically English device, better if SP
than sterling silver, is the lobster pick.
The maker (or, more probably, the retailer) was Army & Navy
Cooperative Society, late 19th/early20th century see my website
- 2015 -