To identify antique silverware patterns, polish the pieces, look for the hallmarks, and take several full photographs of the silverware. Then, use an online encyclopedia or relevant reference books to match the patterns. Alternatively, contact an antique dealer, a department store dealing with silverware or the silver-search services.
Polishing the silverware makes it easier to locate and identify the marks on it. Apply polish specifically on those areas of the silverware that are not noticed much.
Hallmarks are special marks on the silverware that are distinct for its design and are normally present on the rear side or the sides of the handles of the silverware. These marks identify the maker of the ware, whether the object is a sterling silverware or a silver plate and to which country it belongs.
To locate the hallmarks, do so visually or use a magnifying glass. After locating, draw the hallmarks on a piece of paper using a pencil. When taking photographs of the silverware, click full photos, and focus on the patterns and the hallmarks.
Match the recorded hallmarks and the silverware photographs with the information given in an encyclopedia and books available at libraries. When using these sources, identify the pattern's probable country of origin, and search under the appropriate section in the books.
If the silverware is an inheritance, ask your relatives to know its year and country of make. If the set comprises of mixed patterns, contact the silver department of a department store. Alternatively, mail the photos and drawings to the silver-search services that research the silverware. An antique dealer can help you value the silverware in addition to identifying its pattern.