18th-Century Silver Coffee Pot & Bowls

Value (2006) | $5,500 Retail$8,500 Insurance

We brought into the ROADSHOW today three pieces of silver that have been in the family for basically as long as I can remember. They were my great aunt's, and she owned a jewelry and silver store in a local town. And my mother worked there when she was very young. My mother inherited them from her, and then, we, in turn, inherited them from our mother.

Do you know anything about who made them or...

No. Not at all, and we haven't done any research, per se. I was under the impression that some of the stampings on them can be somewhat deceiving and/or confusing. And we just never really bothered to try and research them because we just didn't know what to really look for.

Okay, well, let me tell you a little bit about what I know about them.


This is an American sterling silver bowl with an open ... floral design. It's made by Gorham, a very good American company. Nice form, probably mid-20th century, and it's in very good shape. This one over here was made by Mauser, another American company. This one's a little earlier and a little heavier and a little bit more valuable because of that, and that's also very nicely decorated with a grape vine decoration. This is English. And we have here, on the bottom, marks that indicate that it was made in 1758/59. Made by an important maker, Thomas Heming, who, in 1760, went on to become the principal smith for the King of England.

Oh, my goodness. That's impressive.

So, and what you have here is a coffee pot and a beautiful, naturalistic piece of silver. Now, have you ever had them appraised?

Well, yeah, we did. It was kind of like an informal type of situation, because it was at a showing, so to speak, off site, if you will, and they said without looking at their books back at the office, et cetera, they just basically said, well, about $800 a piece.

Okay, well, silver has a fairly high retail price, and then drops off fairly significantly for fair market value or wholesale.

Oh, okay.

So I would figure that this bowl, retail, might be $1,000, and that bowl retail might be $1,500. But this is a little different story-- important maker, good weight, very pretty piece, and I would think that a good auction estimate would be $3,000 to $4,000.

Oh, my goodness.

And an insurance evaluation of $6,000 would be very, very easy.

That's super.

Appraisal Details

Easthampton, MA
Appraised value (2006)
$5,500 Retail$8,500 Insurance
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
18th Century

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Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

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