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Emails. . .We Get Emails!

We’re always glad to hear from folks who stop by Santa Fe Trading Post™ for a visit. Some people have questions, some have additional information about an item we’re offering for sale, and some are just being friendly and saying “hi.” We appreciate each and every email we receive, and decided to share a representative sampling here on the site.

If you have a question about a vintage item you own, please don’t hesitate to email me and we’ll see if we can help you out. Please describe it fully and, if possible, attach a photo. And if you can answer any of the questions posted here, also please email me. I’ll post your answer on our site, plus sending it directly to the person who asked.

People are really great, and we hope you enjoy these emails as much as we do. Click on any picture to go to that item.

                                                                       Ol’ Swaphos
                                                                       Miss Kitty

From Vickytoria:

Regarding your RWS 7" brown stoneware shoulder bowl, that’s the Red
Wing Stoneware Co. mark that dates it between 1877-1906. It is a milk pan. $45.00 - $70.00 dollar range.
Vickytoria.

Dear Vickytoria,
Thank you so much for that information. In appreciation, we’ve thanked you publicly on the site.
Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

From Catherine:

I picked up a sugar bowl and creamer that has markings from the Derby Silver Co. with the numbers 2617 on the bottom. I noticed you had a pitcher that you sold that had the same markings. These pieces are heavily tarnished. Are they worth more with the tarnish or without….and what might they be worth? They are in excellent shape except for the tarnish.

Dear Catherine:
Thank you for visiting our site. Let me see if I can address your other comments and questions. You undoubtedly are very proud of your find and it would have been ideal if you could have found and combined our teapot with your sugar and creamer. That fact directly links to your question about worth.

The value of an antique is at once entirely subjective, yet is also a function of age, plus supply and demand. Perhaps an example is the Edsel automobile made by Ford Motor Company. They couldn’t sell hardly any of them new. Yet now they are collectors’ items and sell for as much or more than they did when they were new. If Ford Motor Company in its current state of financial woe should go out of business, who knows how much those Edsels will be worth. At any rate, we know that there were few made and collectors now find them “in demand”. So too with Derby Silver. Here is a link to some history for you:

http://derbyhistorical.org/derby_silver_company.htm

As you see, the research establishes first that your sugar and creamer (evidenced by the mark) are true antiques (over 100 years old). The company only survived until 1898. Thereafter it became part of International Silver and the mark was changed. Based upon the short period of production and the difficulty in finding this pattern, the supply is obviously low and, based upon beauty, demand will surly increase along with the value of the pieces which can be acquired.

To digress and share a little personal history, my mother used to drag me through every antique shop and second-hand store she could find in a four-state area. She loved antiques as well as what are now called vintage pieces and even had a keen eye for contemporary design. By way of example, the teapot we recently sold was bought in the early 1950's before it was a true antique. Her philosophy was if it is good design, buy it while you can. If it is good design new or good design when it is vintage, as that pot was at the time she bought it, it will be good when it is an antique. She was right. She was likewise right about the La Solana pottery she bought new, as well as the 1951 Kaiser automobile she insisted my dad purchase, and she was adamant in her insistence on purchasing the 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II that she insisted on mortgaging the family jewels to buy. Those were great investments, some of which I must now part with. So rest assured that if you love the sugar and creamer, then the Kovels are right...the higher cost is the pain of passing up what you should have bought.

“These pieces are heavily tarnished. Are they worth more with the tarnish or without….”

Now you have asked the question that causes controversy among collectors. The answer is both subjective as well as objective. If you are going to sell the item, don’t clean it. A collector who prefers them cleaned will know how silver looks when it is polished. So cleaning can reduce part of your market share. Indeed you might offend even part of the market that prefers that silver be cleaned because some people think it MUST be cleaned one way rather than another. Thus if they want the patina, they might buy. If they want it clean they can clean it themselves and may prefer to do so.

In addition, note that you are dealing here with a silver plated item. Cleaning it removes part of the plating. So suppose you decide that you want to just keep your sugar and creamer while you search for a matching teapot. You conclude that if you find the teapot you will keep all three pieces and use/display them and at that time you would want them cleaned and polished. You might conclude that in the interim you don't want to polish and thus remove some of the plating on the pieces you have. In that case you might decide not to even clean what you have. You might resell them if you don’t find the matching pot in a reasonable time and don’t want to detract from the silver plating left on them.

Now suppose you search and search and find a matching pot that has been cleaned and re-cleaned until it has practically no plating left and is almost entirely down to base metal. At that time you might decide you so love the enhanced value that the three matching pieces will have over just the two that you can well afford to not only buy the teapot (perhaps even at a premium), but then even invest in having it or even all three pieces re-plated. Thus these are all VALUE decisions that ONLY you can answer. What is the value of enjoying something beautiful in the way you want to enjoy it? At any rate, read especially the part about "Overcleaning silver" at the following link:

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/metalwork/silver/conservation/index.html

Hope that helps you.
Ol’ Swaphos

 

From Gale:

Hi. Have you ever heard of or seen a “Federal Paste” Crock? I have one and am wondering if it was used for school paste or what? It does not have a lid - but it has a wire bail and has “Federal Paste” printed in blue on the side.

Hi Gale,
No, I've never heard of a Federal Paste crock and I’ve been trying like crazy to find out about yours, but have had no luck whatsoever. This one’s a real mystery! Sorry I couldn’t be of any help. If you ever discover what it is, who made it, when, etc., would you please send me another email just for my own education?
Thanks!
Miss Kitty

 

From Tracie:

Hi,

With regard to your Royal Plate demitasse spoon, I also cannot find any background info on this company or even another piece in the pattern that I have so that I can learn the name. BUT while I was searching, I discovered that your pattern name is either "Rosalie" or "Beauty Rose" depending on which dealer's ad you look at and it is from 1905. Replacements.com has it as "Beauty Rose".

Have a great evening,
Tracie

Hi again,

So the history I finally found is that RPC was manufacturing for United Silver Co. AAA around 1900. Eventually it was bought by International. Incidentally, my pattern turned out to be "Oregon" from 1900. Whew!! Thank goodness for multiple search engines. Just thought I'd share the info. Hopefully, someone will do the same for me one day!

Have a nice morning,
Tracie

Hi Tracie,

Thank you so much for your emails. How thoughtful of you to share! Glad you found your own pattern, too. I know what a great feeling it is to have that “Eureka!” moment when you finally find exactly what you’ve been searching for!

We’ve added your info to our site, both on the spoons page and on an email page.

If I can ever help you find something in the future, please don’t hesitate to email me. You’re right – we’re all in this together!

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

From William:

Hello. I was looking at the Royal Plate demitasse spoon. In the description it says that a lady named Tracie had some info on the Royal Plate Co. It also says to read the info to click here. There is not any place to click to read the info. I was wondering if maybe I could view the info that she has. I have a Royal Plate spoon. It is 6" long. It is a regular sized tea spoon. I was also wondering if it was silver and how does one tell if a spoon is silver or not. I also have a spoon that says Wallace Sectional on back and on the front is says Hotel Morrison at the top of the handle. I find these spoons on the bottom of different lakes. They have some scale on them and I'm not sure on how to clean them up without ruining them. Any info at all would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
William Fassoth

Hi William,

Ol’ Swaphos forwarded your email to me. Thanks for letting me know about the problem on our site. Somehow I neglected to activate the link that takes you from the Royal Plate spoon description to Tracie’s email. Oops! It’s activated now.

General rule for silver items: if it’s sterling silver (minimum 925 purity; i.e., 92.5%) it should be stamped “sterling” somewhere on it. That’s certainly true of American and English silver pieces and most, but not necessarily all, of the silver pieces produced in other countries. (“Mexican silver” produced between 1930-1945 generally had a 980 standard of purity, making it of even higher silver content than sterling!) If it’s English, it also will probably have one or more hallmarks as well as the manufacturer’s name and/or mark. If you google “silver hallmarks” you’ll find several sites that have extensive lists of silver manufactures and their marks, including photos. You might also try googling the manufacturer name to see if you can find any information about the company, when it was in business, what kinds of silver products they produced, and what their mark(s) mean.

Silver plate items, if they’re marked at all, will carry only the manufacturer’s name and/or mark. Some manufactures like Wallace produced both sterling and silver plate items, so if your Wallace Sectional spoon isn’t stamped “sterling,” it’s silver plate. Googling “silver plate marks” will provide you with several sites with lists of silver plate manufactures and their marks. When I googled “Wallace Sectional,” I found several sites selling such pieces. The patterns appear to be different, so I’m wondering if Wallace Sectional was a line of silver plate items produced by Wallace. Since your Wallace Sectional spoon says Hotel Morrison on its handle, it could be a souvenir spoon, but more likely it’s a piece of silverware from the Hotel Morrison (wherever that was or is) that was produced for them by Wallace. It’s not unusual for a fancy hotel, an airline, etc. to have their own silverware, but of course they don’t produce it themselves. Our 3-piece TWA silverware set, for instance, was produced by International Silver Co.

Then we get to “coin silver,” which refers to pieces of 900 silver purity (90%) as opposed to the minimum of 925 purity required to be sterling. And finally there’s “nickel silver,” a shiny silvery metal that isn’t silver at all, but an alloy of copper and nickel and sometimes zinc. Silveroin (like our art nouveau clothes brush) was a trade name for a non-silver alloy used by the Bristol Mfg. Company of Attleboro, Massachusetts from 1895-1915.

I find it fascinating that you’re retrieving silverware from lake bottoms! But I can certainly empathize with your concern about removing the scale without damaging the underlying silver, especially if its thin silver plating. This question has never come up before and I don’t know the safest way to do it. So I’ve added your email right below Tracie’s and am asking our site visitors if anyone has a sure-fire method of safe scale removal. I’ll let you know when we get a response.

Again, thank you for your email.

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

OK site visitors -- anyone have a safe method for removing scale from silver items? Please email me so I can pass on your tip to William. Thanks!

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