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Some Stunning Sterling Silver

Kings Pattern Sterling Silver setting for 12, 1820's and 1880-20653

Sterling Silver is a very desirable Antique these days: it’s the allure of a precious metal that glistens beautifully, formed into beautiful shapes by the hand of a gifted craftsman – but is also an incredible asset that has increased in value to dizzying heights over the past decade.

So it’s a beautiful display item, often usable, and something that will retain a high dollar-value into the future.
That’s worth collecting!

Sterling Silver at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Some ‘usable’ Sterling Silver at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

What is ‘Sterling Silver’?

‘Sterling’ Silver is a standard enforced in Britain, with severe consequences for any fraudulent activity.
The requirement is the silver content of 92.5% is achieved – the ‘Sterling Standard’, applying originally to currency and bullion. The other 7.5% of metal content actually has a purpose: solid silver is very soft and unsuitable for items that will be used, such as cutlery: the extra metal provides some strength without affecting the appearance of the silver.
Items are assessed by a series of government appointed ‘Assay Offices’, which also recorded the year the item was assessed.

Reading Sterling Silver Hallmarks

This example has very clear marks as they were struck into the silver very deeply.
From top to bottom:
‘WE’ Maker’s Mark – for William Eaton
(0) Leopard’s Head – the mark of the Assay Office in London
# Striding Lion – the British Hallmark indicating it is ‘Sterling Standard’, ie. 92.5% Silver Content
-J- Gothic capital ‘J’ – the date letter for London Assay Office in 1844
ø Head facing left – Young profile of Queen Victoria, left-facing in contrast with previous monarch, which was William IV & faced right.

This example shows the Irish variant of the ‘Sterling’ mark:
‘JS’ – for John Smyth, Dublin
ø Head facing left – Young profile of Queen Victoria
# Seated ‘Hibernia’ figure, representing Ireland, standing in for the striding lion used in the other Assay Offices in Britain
^ Crowned Harp – indicating the Dublin Assay Office
‘m’ Dublin year mark for 1857

Other Solid Silver standards

German .800 silver centerpiece, baroque Four Seasons embossed, c. 1880-12446

Elsewhere, silver of the same standard is also made. American and Australian silver conforms to the 92.5% standard, often using the word ‘Sterling’ for a mark, but without any assay office to mark it. On the Continent, silver content varies a lot, but is often handily marked with the parts of silver out of 1,000: ie. ‘.900’ is 900/1000, or 90%, close to Sterling standard, while items that are going to be used a lot are often .800 silver, 80%, making them hardier.

Caring for your Silver

The one thing about silver is… it inevitably goes black. One way to guard against this is to shut it away in an airtight storage – but then you can’t enjoy it.
Casual usage actually helps keep an item clean, as when you use it and then gently wipe it dry, any traces of black is removed, and your item remains lovely.
However, there always comes a time when you will need to clean your silver. The key is to go gently – while some methods and available cleaners do a fast, brilliant job, this is because the strip off a layer of the surface to reveal the shiny metal beneath. Do this too often, and you will seriously wear away the value of your piece!

For many decades, Moorabool has used & stocked the ‘gentle’ silver cleaner, used by silver collectors and dealers all over the world. This is Hagerty’s, see our stock by clicking the button below.

Our Latest Silver items

English, Irish & Scottish Sterling

Australian Silver

American Silver

Asian Silver

Continental & Other Silver

Usable Silver

(This link includes Old Sheffield Plate, Electroplate, and other objects that are less than Sterling standard but have a silver appearance)

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Curated Collection – Scottish

Scottish collection
Curated Collections

There’s a lot of Scotts in Australia…. and a lot of Scottish related items.

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Curated -Australiana

Neville Cayley Junior Cockatoos
Curated Collections
Australiana Curated Collection

Australia has a vast range of items unique to this ‘Great Southern Land’…. from the First Nation’s fascinating art & artifacts, to the inevitable Exploration and Colonisation by Europe, with depictions of the startling unique animals and landscapes so very foreign to European eyes. The items from our earliest colonial days show attempts to understand and illustrate Australia’s uniqueness.
Materials used were expensive if imported the daunting distance from Europe – so local resources were soon exploited, the prime being the ‘Australian Red Cedar’, a fine furniture timber that has a unique quality much loved by Australiana collectors.
The mid-19th century brought about the biggest change, when Gold was found throughout the country, attracting huge numbers of migrants. While mostly British, they came from all over the world, bringing with them endless new ideas and crafting techniques – for example, Chinese craftsmen, attracted by the gold initially, soon settled and became furniture makers – using their traditional techniques and tools to create English-style furniture.
The gold resources were vast, and Australia rapidly became wealthy. During the last quarter of the 19th century, this wealth was often shown in luxury houses, full of luxury goods, with Melbourne being the ‘wealthiest place on earth’ for some time in the 1880’s.
Gradually in the 19th century, an understanding and maturity emerges, with landscape and wildlife artists producing realistic depictions, with artists developing their own distinct styles unique to Australia. Home-grown industries like Australian Pottery created yet another unique – and collectable – aspect of ‘Australiana’.

We hope you enjoy our offerings, and please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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Anglo-Indian Antiques & Art

Indian Antiques Group
Curated Collections
Indian Bronze Khandoba / Shiva, 19th century
Indian Bronze Khandoba / Shiva, 19th century

Indian Bronzes

‘Indian’ Silver

As the British enriched on Burma, they assimilated the artworks of Burma (Myanmar) into the category ‘Indian’. While the styles are vaguely similar, it is not a happy combination – the Burmese craftsmen had a long history before the British came, and it differs from the neighbouring ‘Indian’ styles.
For the sake of this Collection, we have maintained the ‘Indian’ umbrella term to cover what the British generally still call ‘Asia’ in a vague way, covering India and the neighbouring countries.

Indian Boxes

Anglo-Indian Art


The reverse of the ‘Wellington Shield’ ink sketch bears an image from Colonial India. See it here>>

Indian Alabaster

Anglo-Indian Furniture

Ceylonese / Sinhalese / Sri Lanka