Chapter 16. AMERICAN PLATE

Table of Contents

AMERICAN SILVER MINES
SILVERSMITHS
SOME CHARACTERISTICS

American silver mines-Local silversmiths-Some characteristics.

COLLECTORS of old silver plate have secured specimens from varied motives. In this country the collector has amassed plate on account of its tangible worth, and often-times has looked upon it as a good investment on account of its sterling value. The connoisseur, however, regards all such treasures from the standpoint of the artist and rarely collects solely because the objects he acquires are bargains, and may perhaps in the future be worth much larger sums. As a matter of fact the collector is seldom wrapped up in the possession of silver on account of its value, rather because of the interest he takes in its possession and in the variety of objects he can secure. Some will devote themselves to certain periods, but most people like to possess variety and generally are not averse to the possession of the work of silversmiths in different countries and made at different times and under varied conditions. There are, however, the collectors of family plate and those who gather together examples of the plate of one locality, the products of local silversmiths ; thus the collector may desire only genuine pieces of Irish silver or those pieces bearing the hall-marks of Scotch assay offices. There is, however, another side to collecting and that is of plate and other objects associated with some one country, whether made in that country or brought over at some earlier date. That has been the position of collectors in America, for they could scarcely confine themselves to the plate fashioned in the States because many of the most valued pieces were made in the Old Country and taken over to America years ago. Then there are examples of the Dutch silversmiths which were in like manner taken over in the early days.