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Looking for clues about my antique silver tea set

I have a 4-pc antique silver tea set that belonged to my great, great grandmother. She received it upon marriage in 1852. The mark on the bottom says Reed & Barton 1760, and on the teapot only there’s an additional number 5 mark. I’ve tried to identify the pattern but can’t find anything like it on the internet. It is quite lovely and has removable flower/leaf finials that screw on and off. I’m curious if it’s sterling (my research says anything dating back that far may not be marked with the sterling mark even if it is… ?), what the pattern is and some sense of value. I did try to post a jpg photo but couldn’t get the message to send with it attached. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks, Susan

Hi there and thanks for joining us. As you probably know, Reed & Barton was formed in the 1840s so the date the set was supposed to have been received is consistent. Electroplating of silver wares did not come into common use until about the same time and the term “sterling” to denote 92.5% pure silver only began to be used after about 1860. “Coin” silver, usually 90% pure, was commonly used in the US up until the latter part of the 19th century and would slmot always be marked with the word “coin” or the number “9” or “90”. The number 1760 on your piece is probably a pattern number. While the lack of the word “sterling” is not conclusively signifigant due to the piece’s apparent age, the lack of a “coin” mark should raise questions about its compostion. Try to post a photo of the set, the piece marked with the 1760 and a clear close up of the marks and perhaps we can shed more light. You may want to take them to a tursted jeweler for an acid test for silver purity.


Uncle Vic

Thanks for your response. I’ve been trying to post a couple of photos, including one of the marks on bottom - they’re jpegs within the specifications you list here for posting - but I can’t get them to send. Any idea why? Or is there another way to send them? Thanks, Susan

Hi Susan - I’m a total computer dummy but Silvermakersmarks is the resident computer guru and I’m sure he will help. If you still can’t get a photo to post you may send them directly to me,


Uncle Vic

Picture attachment seems to be working OK. When posting a message use the “Browse” button in the Add an Attachment section to identify the file on your computer and then click “Add Attachment”. If you have done this and it still isn’t working, is there an error message?

Alternatively upload your pictures to an online photo hosting site such as and use the “Img” button to add the right tags in the form .