1850 English Silver Tea Set by Samuel Hayne and Dudley Cater
Originally it was a wedding gift to my grandfather and grandmother for their wedding. And my grandfather's brother bought it when he was on a buying trip in London for the department store that my grandfather and his brother ran.
So, how did it come down to you?
Well, after they passed away, it went on to my father, who was the oldest of four children. And then when he passed away, I'm an only child, so I got it. And it will belong to my son. My father told me that it was 98% coin silver and two percent alloy. Now, I don't know whether that has anything to do with the value or not.
He's almost right. It's sterling, which means that it's 92 1/2% silver and then the rest is an alloy, usually copper. It is English. It's actually made in the time of Queen Victoria's reign. The five pieces were made in 1850. It's very typical circa-1850 decoration with the strap work, the scrolling foliage, the bosses and the huge proportions. The tray has conforming decoration and is also Victorian-- it's 1854. And they're all by the same maker, which is Samuel Hayne and Dudley Cater. On the bottom of every piece, you have the hallmarks, which include: the head of Queen Victoria, the sterling mark; the mark for the city of London; the maker's mark, Samuel Hayne and Dudley Cater; and the year mark-- in this case, 1850. And it's very unusual to have the set and the tray all sterling and all by the same maker. Now, you were telling me something about the cartouches on each piece.
My grandfather's brother, what he did as a wedding present-- the shamrocks are for my grandfather's side, and my grandmother was Scottish, so you'll see the thistles in there.
And actually the shamrocks are incorporated in the border of the tray, which is clever. ]
Oh, now, that I didn't notice.
Do you use it much yourself?
No, just display at home.
Have you ever had it appraised?
I would say probably maybe $5,000. An insurance estimate for this would be more likely to be $15,000 to $20,000.
Gee, I never even thought of that. I just thought, you know, it'd be about $5,000. That's amazing.
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