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Help! Do you think this is silver?

Hello, im interested in this item but dont want to pay silver prices for a silver plated item.

Does anyone know anything about this Scrooge item? It looks silver, but also has some yellow on it like maybe the plating has been worn off.

It resembles an Imrie Risley figurine ive got but is not exact. The height of my Imrie Risley is about 6cm and this silver scrooge for sale is stated as 6cm. My scrooge has a bent arm holding the candle stick. The silver figurine has a straight arm…etc. There are other minor differences. The Imrie Risley has a square base, but not like brickwork, and there are no makers marks on the Imrie Risley.

The silver one is stated as 44 grams.My Imrie Risley white metal figurine weighs 43.5 grams. One would think that silver would be heavier than white metal.

So, i wonder if maybe the item for sale is white metal plated silver.

Here is the description of the one for sale:
"HALLMARKED SOLID SILVER DICKENS , FULLY HALLMARKED FOR LONDON 1979 LION LEOPARDS HEAD AND LETTER E THERE IS A MAKERS STAMP WHICH IS A CAPITAL S SMALL C AND SOMETHING ABOVE THE C WHICH I CANNOT MAKE OUT.

IN PERFECT CONDITION.

SIZE 6 CM WEIGHT IS APPROX 44 GRAMS "

What do you experts think?

Attempt #2 at attaching photos
silver scrooge back resized.jpg
silver scrooge base resized.jpg
silver scrooge front resized.jpg

simetric.co.uk/si_metals.htm

Well, i found this density website which suggests silver is 10490 kg/cu meter compared to 7100 kg/cu meter for white metal.

If the pictured item were in fact silver, i tend to believe it should weigh about 1.5 times more than the white metal figurine.

Its looking like the hallmarked scrooge item is probably just plated with silver.

What do you think?

Unfortunately the picture of the markings is not sufficiently clear to be completely confident. I find that this is for sale on the well-known auction site and that the seller has 5 other matching figurines for sale. On none of these is the picture of the markings any clearer. However, based on the description and what little I can make out, I am reasonably confident that the markings are what they are claimed to be - a 1979 London hallmark.

Comparing the stated weight of this figure with one of your own may not be the best way of being sure about the material. Either or both may be filled with a resin or may even be partially hollow.

The yellowness in the picture is probably a reflection from another object - I note that in the picture of some of the other figures on sale there is evidence of a wooden desk top which would account for the yellow-brown reflection.

Finally, should you buy it and should it prove to be plated, you have a genuine cause for recompense from the seller.

Thank you Silvermakersmarks for your opinion. I have searched high and low for more information on these items and am unable to find anything.

I cannot offer comment one way or the other on the Hallmarks. As you said the photos are not very clear and the seller himself struggles to identify them.

Ive done a little reading about oxidation of silver, i believe some of it was a sticky on this site. Plating will tarnish to a virtual black because it is pure silver, while sterling will oxidize to a lighter purple or even brownish yellow due to the lower silver content. Am i understanding this correctly? I have seen photos of other silver items which had a ‘brown’ tarnish so the brown on these items is not my biggest consern.

Im 99.9% certain that the white metal Imrie Risley figurine that ive got is solid throughout.
If the silver scrooge has a hollow spot, its is very very very coincidental that the 2 figurines weigh almost exactly the same. If my white metal imrie risley figurine were silver, and comparing how similar the two items are, then a silver scrooge should weigh nearly 66 grams as opposed to 44 grams.

Disclaimer, my white metal figurine is described as 5.4 cm tall. I hold a scale up to it and it looks closer to 5.7mm tall. If the 2 items are from the same mfg, and to explain the small height difference, Im thinking that the seller of the silver figurine may have rounded 5.7cm up to 6.0 cm.

Even so, a virtual 22 gram difference between white metal weight and silver weight is much more a difference than a millimeter in height would account for. Is the silver scrooge hollow in the middle, bringing the weight down to 44 grams? Possible i suppose, but very coincidental.

Yes, i suppose i could buy the item and try to deduce if it is solid sterling, rather than just plated, and return the item for a refund if i find it not to be as it was advertised.
So, how would i go about doing that? A magnet does not stick to white metal. Cutting into the figurine past a silver plating would not necessarily be proof because white metal has a ‘silver’ color throughout, although i imagine that sterling is softer and might feel softer to a saw or file than white metal?..none the less, to ‘cut’ into an item is not something i would consider doing.

If these items are truely sterling, and weigh 40 or 60 grams each, then one would think that considering todays price of silver, people would be bidding on these items which are priced considerably below melt value. Maybe the fact that there are no bids on these items indicates that people know more about wether these are truely slver or not. The ‘No bids-doubtful theyre silver’ mentality…etc.

To respond to some of your points:

  • A British hallmark is a guarantee of silver fineness. It shows that the item has undergone an independent assay test. It is not applied by the maker as an American silver mark would be. So there is no need to resort to destructive measures.

  • I am certain that the discolouration you see in the vendor’s pictures is a reflection and not something intrinsic to the figure.

  • Although you have a figure for the density of “white metal” you should be aware that there are many different sorts of white metal, no doubt with varying densities.

  • Finally the vendor is not struggling to identify whether this is silver or not. He/she is absolutely certain and even gives a date so is clearly able to decipher the date letter. The only slight uncertainty is over the maker’s mark.

Thank you again for your inputs, much appreciated.

Because i have little experience in these things, and because im the type who does his homework and likes to make informed decisions, do tend to approach situations like this with a court case type mentality.

With that being said, i hope that i do not come across as overly arguementative. Im analyzing, not trolling. haha.

Anyways, i will agree that there are different alloys of white metal. Aluminum and Magnesium being elements on the lighter end of the scale, with tin in the middle and lead at the heavy end of the spectrum. Being a machinist by trade, i have some experience with the ‘heft’ of a piece of metal. The figurine ive got is heavy for its size, definatly not aluminum. If deductive reasoning suggests its not mid weight ‘white metal’, and considering that my scrooge figurine was made by a toy soldier gaming company who typically use a lead alloy, (there is a caveat to this ‘lead’ story too, as there was legislation passed to outlaw lead use in cast toy soldier manufacturing, then the legislation was repealed, with most of the toy soldier companies ‘not’ going back to the use of lead) … then I suppose i have to consider the possibility that the scrooge figure ive got could be a white metal alloy comprised of more tin and lead. The chart suggests a lead/tin alloy will be significantly heavier, possibly near that of silver. Thus my figurine and the ‘silver’ figurine would weigh nearly the same, as the numbers seem to indicate.

Okay, i will keep this in mind.

The only other arguement i could present would be of the status of the Hallmarks. If a person were intending to produce white metal items plated with silver and intentionally sell them as solid silver, then i imagine an accomplished scam artist might go as far as to include fake Hallmarks, especially ones which are somewhat illegible as seen on these figurines. I know im reaching with this supposition, but it is a possibility that one can not completely rule out.

I will also consider the sellers ‘untarnished’ feedback rating that they are probably apt to be on the ‘up and up’.

The first mark on your piece looks like the lion used in British silver meaning sterling.
I may not be seeing the mark correctly, but to me it looks like the lion. see 925-1000.com/british_marks.html
Any input?
Ed Meyer

About the only marks that i can begin to see are what appears to be the letters ‘S’ and ‘c’.
This corresponds with what the seller describes.

Above the S and C looks like a letter ‘m’.

The seller describes a leapords head, which is probably really a lions head. I personally cannot make out any sort of hallmark head design in that photo.

Follow-up:

I did bid on the Scrooge figurine and won the auction. I calculated the value of the silver in all the sterling silver items based on its stated weight. I used the melt value as a guide to help me calculate my bid expectations. I observed the pattern that the bidders of first 4 of 6 items followed. I would not be sniped at the end. I wanted this scrooge item. I bid on a couple of the other figurines up to their silver value and stopped when it went significantly over. Fagin appeared to be broken and repaired, i did not bid. I bid on the Artful Dodger and stopped when his price went over my limit. He sold for well over silver value. Tiny Tim appeared to be ‘bent’ and was pretty small in comparison to the others. I did not bid on that item and Tim went for more than his silver value. I did bid on Sairey Gamp and Mister Pickwick. They were two of the heavier items and there were not as many bidders. I got Sairey Gamp and Pickwick at the silver spot price. Scrooge was 5th of 6 in auction order. Of course there had to be other people interested and bidding against me. Ive never seen this item before and did not know when i would see it again so i ended up paying 25$ over his silver value to get him. Not a bad price for a scarce find in my opinion.

Okay, so that was then. Today my figurines arrived in the mail. They look pretty good, a little darker than the photos. There was some white residue in a few of the crevases. Probably silver polish. I will describe the hallmarks in anothert post.

So, today i see 2 auctions for silver figurine from the same series. The seller has a Sairey Gamp listed at 275$ buy it now. Of course anyone can ask any price they want. The asking price does not dictate a realistic value but none the less i was happy to see such a high number on an item i had paid 54$ for a few weeks ago.

Of higher interest to me was the information in the item description area of the auction.

LONDON, ENGLAND
STERLING SILVER
MINIATURE FIGURINE
CHARLES DICKEN’S
SAIREY GAMP
FIGURINE
MARKS CAN BE SEEN WITH A VERY GOOD MAGNIFYING GLASS ( VERY SMALL)
THE FIRST MARK: SMC ( I COULD NOT FIND THE SILVERSMITHS)
LION FOR STERLING SILVER
LION’S HEAD FOR LONDON
LETTER “C” CORRESPONDING TO YEAR OF MAKING, IN THIS CASE 1876
DUTY MARK, -QUEEN VICTORIA - USED UNTILL TO 1890
VERY DETAILED.
2" TALL
WEIGHTS 2.2oz
MINT CONDITION, MAY REQUIRE SOME ADDITIONAL CLEANING

I was surprised to see that this seller reads the hallmarks to mean that these figurines were produced in 1876, and at the very latest 1890.

What do you guys think? Has this seller interpreted the hallmarks correctly?

Here is a pic of the Sairey Gamp figurine in the 275 buy it now auction. The figure is virtually identical to the item i received in the mail today, except the hall mark on mine is in a different area on the base than the one in this photo.

Well, i think ive got it figured out.

I used a microscope to look at the hallmarks.

I went to this site: silvercollection.it/englishs … marks.html

The mark Smc mark is a mystery to me, but the lion passant and leopards head along with the letter ‘e’ (which resembles a backwards #3) indicates my item is made in 1979.

The ebay seller i mentioned earlier who believes his item is from 1876 is most likely mistaken. The reference chart suggests his item , marked with a letter ‘c’ is minted in 1977. In 1977 they included a Queen Victoria head which was typically not used since 1890, as the seller states.

An interesting exercise.

Well I am glad to hear that things worked out, Attatched is a photo of marks by the English company “SMCo” who were known to make sterling souvener items along with jewelry and other items, not sure this is your maker, but maybe…
smc.jpg

The other seller is definitely mistaken and his hallmark is (as certain as I can be without seeing it) 1977. He mentions a Queen Victoria duty mark which was only used until 1890. He has mistaken the head of our present queen, which was applied in 1977 as a special commemorative mark for her silver jubilee, for that of Victoria. SMCo (Souvenir Manufacturing Co) are not the makers of these figures - they used the Birmingham Assay Office during the 1920s and 30s, so wrong place, wrong period and wrong punch shape. SMC are unfortunately not known to me, although I have seen their mark on other items. Go to my web site at silvermakersmarks.co.uk/Make … SR.html#SM and scroll down until you find them.

Reads the hallmarks in it. If not, clarify your doubt nearby jewelry shop.