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Silver Collector Forums

Help, Please -2 Trays - Silver ?

Hello - I just found & joined your forum today, and hoping you all may be able to help me. My Grandfather has passed, and my Grandmother keeps sending more & more items, as she goes thru their things they had collected over the 52 yrs. of marrage. - Many silver pcs., and I need help with identification, etc. First I would like to start with 2 trays - They are in rough shape from being in their attic for many years, but still beautiful, and I have no idea of age ,if silverplate or value, or if there is a way to restore them without devaluing them…??..
I have attached some pictures via Picasa of each. Larger is 27 " handle to handle -
21 and 1/2 " base in length and 16" wide. The smaller one is 22 and 3/4 " handle to handle - 18 " long and 13 " wide - I can find no Hallmarks either.I also have other pcs. that I could use info. on, if ayone might be willing to help.Here is a link to Picasa to view pictures of the trays.: I have more pics, should anyone be interested in seeing them. … w03ooI1dc#

Thank you for any information and help !!
Marie -

Hello Marie -

These look like fairly modern (mid 20th cent.) silverplate trays. You’ll need to give them a good polish to see how much plate loss you have, but they probably don’t have much more than sentimental value. If when you polish the backs you find a manufacturers mark, post the information, some silverplate makers are more desirable than others - but I’m afraid most don’t have much monetary value, especially with condition issues.
It is possible to have pieces replated, but it generally costs more than it’s worth. I rather like the one with the grapes - if you like them, your best bet is probably to live with them as-is.


THANK YOU so much for the info Lisa - I too like the grapes :slight_smile:
I have 2 other items at hand - Would you mind sharing your thoughts ? If so here are the descriptions:
A bird in what I believe to be a cigar holer (?) - It says Forbes Silver co. -Quadruple then 101 with another imprint below it - This is shown in the LAST pic I posted to picasa - Got them out of order - sorry - I have no idea of the ages or value of either of these pcs. -
The other is what I think may be a match box or cigarette case - It is quite pressed in in the center, but the design and imprints are beautiful, clear, and there is a line of Hallmarks I posted in the pictures, but I haven’t a clue what they mean, as I am still learning. The lid hinge is broke, which separates them, but the top & bottom & hinge fit together perfectly … If you have any info on these I would so very much appreciate it.
My grandparents had more silver than I ever new of !! I have beautiful silver compacts - fancy silver enamled, and engraved. Also silver pill boxes, that are enameled and also with semi-precious stones and MORE - i just haven’t a clue as to where to begin … Most have orig. make-up and pad/sponge in the compacts, as well as mirrors.
I do so appreciate your time & input, and I hope I haven’t frightened you off with the list of items Grandmother sent me with more on the way !!! :smiley: -
I AGAIN Thank you and here is the link to the 2 above mentioned items : I just added them to the orig. link I believe - … w03ooI1dc#
Again - I thank you for taking the time to share yourknowledge, and any info. you may have on these pcs. for this extreme novice : ) -

Hello Marie -

The hinged case is called a calling card case, and this one is of exceptionally good quality. It is solid silver (sterling) and would definately be worth having the hinge fixed. I’m not sure if I’m seeing the marks clearly enough. Does the final mark look like an anchor to you? If so, it looks to be made in Birmingham, England in 1853 - there are many people here more familiar than I am with British markings, perhaps one of them will verify or correct this.

Forbes Silver began in 1894 as a division of the Meriden Brittania Company, and became part of International Silver when that company formed in 1898. As far as silverplate goes, although it’s not in great condition, the bird figure and wishbone on the ashtray(?) are quite nice. Hope this helps!


Hi Marie,
The marks on the card case do indeed appear to be Birmingham 1853. The maker appears to be Y&W which would be Yapp & Woodward a well known maker of boxes and cases.
Hope this helps.

Thank You Lisa & Tony !! Now I guess I need to go to the care section & figure out if I should polish the silver card holder & ashtray or leave tarnished, as I have been told both ways concerning silvercare - I have tried to do some research on the company and silver card holders to get a general idea of possible value, and I do not want to devalue the pcs. by cleaning , should that be the wrong thing to do…
I again THANK YOU both. This is interesting and fun to learn more about the items my Grandsparents are passing down to me. :smiley: -

Good Morning, Marie -

You definitely need to polish the silver, you just need to be careful about it. Use a cream or liquid polish, Wright’s is good and easily available (I’m assuming you’re in the US), but there are several others available. Whatever you do, don’t use TarnX or any other dip polish, it will remove the oxidation in the crevices that gives depth to the design. It is especially important to polish silverplate, as the tarnish covers up areas of plate loss and damage, but you need to be extra careful about not being too aggresive as to avoid going right through the surface to the base metal. A conundrum I know!


I can confirm english origin og the box. The head is Queen Victoria - tax mark.

Silver should shine. If anyone says that one should not polish silver - well I soppose that my sugestions are not appropriate :slight_smile:
Should you loose 1$ in polish - who cares. The value is sentimental.

Now for the tray. Whenever anything becomes green - it is always silverplated. It is the copper that creates this - and it is Electro Plated.
Clean it and try posting pictures then we can see.

Hose_dk - Thanks for the confirmation concerning the Hallmarks on the card case, and the cleaning tips. I will carefully polish all the items shown on the picasa web link in the previous posts. I will leave the page up for a while in the hopes of any more help/advice –
Any ideas on how to rid the tray of the green ? All I have done is used lukewarm water with a touch of Dawn, so as not to cause damage. I didn’t/don’t want to use anything abrasive, of course, but haven’t a clue as to how to remove the green.Also I have looked very carefully all over both the trays & can not find any maker or hallmarks.I will post more pics if I can get them clean enough to see them better…
Grandmother can’t remember where she aquired the trays either.As for restoration the concenses seems to be it would most likely not be worth the cost, as they are mostly of sentimental value.
The green looks really bad to me though, so if anyone knows how to remove this green without causeing more damage it would be much appreciated. Off to look for my silver polish, and go thru more of the boxes Grandmother sent. There are soo many… I am so pleased to have found this forum to help me , and I thank you all in your continued advice, and wealth of information !!

Silver polish that is the way. In Denmark the polish is called “Silvo” and is a cream that you add - then polish with a soft piece of close (cotton - old underware is extremely good, and old dipers - from when children used these made of cotton)
Most of all - cotton and something that has been washed over and over again. When it is ready for throwing awaý it is suided for polish - then it is soft and can get into the litle places.
You remove all the dirt (because dirt is what it is) as long as the cloth becomes black you go on using a new piece of it.
In case that all silverplate disapears in the process - so what ? does not matter as long as you get a clean surface - because then you can use the item. I shall create a new question showing a tray that has had all the silver plating removed. I bought it for the engraving…

Hose_dk - What a wealth of information you are !!
I do so thank you and the others who have been so kind for all of your time !
I thought about using the silver polish on the trays, but I was unsure as to how it may react with the copper base metal. Again - I am a complete novice !! :blush:
I again Thank You ALL for being so informative and kind, concerning my novice knowledge of the silver and silver plated items I have inherited from my Grandparents - Just wish My Dear Grandmother could remember more background information, but at 88 years old I am just very greatfull she is still with us to pass the items on to my family, and share what she does remember.
If you would be so kind, a last question about a particular item I have posted on the picasa picture link. The Forbes Bird ashtray. It is GREY in color on the top surface, yet you can see the silver plating on the bottom of the pc. - I think it a beautiful pc.
For some reason it has really caught my attention and affection, mainly due to the topic of the pc., but also because the detail of the bird is remarkably attractive. As I mentioned it is GREY in color. When polishing I may well loose much of the silver plate, as the tarnish seems quite thick, especially around the decorative edge, and tray surface. I also think I see some copper showing thru on the top of the birds head …
Is there any special care I should take in polishing the bird itself, so as not to remove the remaining silver plate, and the excellant detail of the bird itself ? The tarnish is MUCH thicker on the tray, and if at all possible I would like to keep the color as even as I can. Your suggestion on the afore mentioned post seems the way to go, but thought I would ask, just as a precaution.
I am off to reply to your new topic line :smiley:
My Sincere Thanks to you ALL -

This is probably too late for a posting. I disagree with previous opinions about polishing with a cream silver polish as they are too abrasive. Anything that isn’t translucent has abrasive particles in it. (this goes for bathroom cleaners too!) In the UK we have “Brasso” and “Silvo” - self-explanatory names but they are mildly abrasive. The polishing cloths that come in a tin with lid are very good and seem less abrasive than most.

First I would wash everything in a good strong solution of normal washing-up liquid. Over here the dominant brand is “Fairy Liquid”, which I use to clean diamond and other precious-stoned rings. Even better than an ultrasound cleaner in my opinion. (I have one of those too)

Basically you need to remove as much plain dirt as possible with soap and water before using any chemical cleaner as they are more agressive. Where the copper verdigris is showing through you will lose most of the plating if you use silver-cleaning chemicals or polish. Always use the gentle methods first. However, I also disagree with the posting that says the black is just “dirt”. No it isn’t! It’s silver oxide as well as dirt! Black is the giveaway sign of silver tarnish.

It’s a shame you didn’t rotate your close-up photos of the hallmarks so they were easier to read. You went to all that trouble with 3 photos but didn’t orientate them. It’s difficult to see the town assay mark at the top. Is it an anchor for Birmingham? If so I would estimate the Hallmark to be for 1853.
Regards, Lionel