The spoon at center is sterling, as the four hallmarks indicate.
Celtic Quality Plate (bottom) is nothing more than a brand name of electroplated wares.
Most of the time, you can find the answer simply by turning over the teaspoon, fish fork, ice cream saw, or cheese scoop (antique flatware is that specialized).
With silver marks, it's a tiny world, so it's best to come prepared. Electroplated nickel silver, or EPNS, is an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc that's covered with a layer of pure silver in an electrochemical process.Nickel's resemblance to silver helps disguise any worn spots in the plating. (top), located in Birmingham, was Britain's biggest plate manufacturer and the world's first producer of electroplate.The next step is to learn the meaning of the most common silver marks.England's system of hallmarks -- a variety of official emblems stamped on silver to attest to its purity -- is one of the oldest and most detailed.You can dent a sterling sugar bowl very easily, but a similar piece of hotel silver can be dropped without much harm because the underlying base metal is stronger than silver.
Certain alloys, referred to as Venetian silver and Nevada silver, consist of nickel and silver.
Early coin silver was often marked with the maker's name, and nothing else; sometimes it doesn't show even that.
(Unmarked objects, of course, present the greatest mystery.) Eventually, manufacturers also started using the word coin.
A final tip: It's a good idea to bring a small, cheap jeweler's loupe when you go shopping. Brown manufactured this sterling piece, as indicated by the name, but the hallmarks that follow are bogus, imitating the English system because of its cachet This example of coin carries the name of the silversmith, N. On the back of this sterling fork, the lion, anchor, and "G" identify the Gorham company.
I need one for house sales held early in the morning or for those where the tableware has been relegated to a garage illuminated by a single lightbulb. On a spoon handle marked with the maker Crosby, Honnewell, and Morse is the number 925 -- a code for sterling.
Laws dating to the 14th century established strict requirements for marking silver; the first emblem was a crowned lion's head to certify sterling.