For centuries silver has been admired and collected by many for its beauty, brilliant lustre as well as for its intrinsic value. However, silver was once considered by some to be a necessity, symbolic of one's place in society. Whether you were a nobleman in the 18th century or of the Medieval period, a magnificent display of silverware was almost paramount.
As Norbert Elias the German sociologist once wrote, 'What in retrospect generally appears to us as a "luxury" is... anything but superfluous in a society so constricted... In a society where every outward manifestation of a person has a special significance, expenditure on prestige and display is, for the upper classes, a necessity which they cannot avoid.' It wasn't until the late 19th, early 20th century that these behaviours started to change due to a more simplistic fashion towards interior design.
These days most silver has been relegated to display cabinets with the exception of certain practical, functional wares. Those who collect silver usually start with acquiring small pieces from the Victorian period (1837 - 1901) as they are relatively easy to acquire, being more in abundance than earlier works and hence more affordable.
However, the more knowledgeable collectors become, it is usually the Georgian period (1714 - 1837) craftsmanship as well as the key designers of the 19th / 20th century which they will aspire to obtain. Some pieces can often fetch incredible prices at auction, way beyond their scrap value level.
This is usually due to who the maker is and its quality and rarity, amongst other factors. Makers such as Charles and Carl Faberge, Paul De Lamerie, David Hennell, Thomas Heming, Paul Storr, Hester Bateman, Paul Crespin, George Adams, Charles Kandler and Matthew Boulton are amongst some of the most highly prized makers of fine silver to buy at auction today.
For a free auction valuation with a view to selling your silver, please contact Robin Newcombe at Grand Auctions in Folkestone, Kent.