When it comes to silver, elaborated monograms including antique and vintage silver flatware are an art form that has been lost and are important historically. The vintage and antique silverware is historical and treasured by the owners originally. These are heirloom pieces that make not only unique gifts but are a great collectible item that you can use as a way of investing.
Unlike silver that is not real Asian Antiques is a specialty that has few fake items. When collecting silver, you don’t really need to concern yourself about whether or not these are real or fake as almost all of the pieces from this location and era are real. Although few books offer guidance, you will soon realize after purchasing a few pieces that there are specific monograms that tell you that the piece you are interested in is authentic.
For both new and experienced collectors, hearing the term ‘silver’ usually brings to mind a soup tureen from continental locations or a tea set from England. Some even think of a Paul Revere silver tankard. Collectors are generally less familiar to the silver tradition that is Chinese rather than European. Export silver that is Chinese was made for tourists from the west in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
These tended to feature designs that included traditional Chinese dragons instead of the grapes and goats that were motifs from the West. With the trade from China, many visitors that came to this destination loved to shop. They would go to centers for trading including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Canton. Many returning ships took not just the tourists but also the silver.
All silver from China was hand-crafted with the designs which were usually elaborate hammered by hand by expert local craftsmen. Landscapes, birds, dragons and flowers are depicted in silver as well as the human figure. These were also the pattern that was searched for the most by collectors. Many people from Europe would spend months or weeks aboard ships traveling to China and would spend many months there.
This was long enough to select patterns that could be made especially according to their specifications as they enjoyed their holiday. Many silver Asian antiques you see today for sale are work that has been made to offer. Primarily, this was for foreigners and the designs which are elaborate were not really traditionally Chinese, nor preferred by the tastes of the local craftsmen at the time.
When buying silver, it is important to realize that the craftsmen from China did not really use the same silver standard that were utilized in the West so that the content of silver is not really something that should be considered by buyers. Even if each piece has a different purity level, this is not really something that will affect a work’s value. One thing that is great about export silver from China is that it uses hallmarks from England. These make the different makers quite distinguishable and easy to identify. Whoever suggested that English marks be used on the Chinese pieces is unknown but it has been a great help to many collectors and antique shows today.