Hello Folks, Vic Roy (a/k/a Uncle Vic) here. I’m honored to be asked by the Franks brothers to moderate this section on American silver. I’ll attempt to answer any questions, and my policy is there is no such thing as a dumb question, so don’t be bashful.
American (U.S,) silver has no uniform marking system as oposed to the UK system. The customary standard for American “sterling” silver is 92.5% silver alloyed with 7.5% copper, the same as the UK standard. American sterling almost always bears the word “sterling” , “925” or “925/1000 FINE”. The rule of thumb is that if it does not bear these marks it is not sterling, with rare exceptions.
The various American makers each used distinct marks or logos. These are not technically “hallmarks”, as used in the UK, but rather referred to as “makers marks”. There were virtually no “date marks” on American silver, so dating it usually involves research into the history of the maker. An exception is Gorham, which used a date letter system for a number of years.
I consider the “golden age” of American silver, especially holloware, to be from about 1880 to 1920.
So fire away with your questions and comments, and let’s have some fun with our silver.