Reed & Barton Silver tea set

malderAugust 3, 2009

Hello I have a Reed & Barton Silver tea set that has 1988 stamped on the bottom. I am wanting to see if anyone knows the age and what it might be worth.

I have pictures here http://s195.photobucket.com/albums/z203/myssia1/

Thank you

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malder

ok will do

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 8:05PM
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lindac

Can't see the picture....follow the directions on the photobucket site and you can post directly into your message.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 8:05PM
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malder

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 8:08PM
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lindac

Wow!!!
Can you take a picture of the markings on the bottom?
Linda c

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 10:38PM
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malder

the largest has a 7 and the next smaller has a 5, im assuming that is for the height but they are taller than that.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 10:44PM
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antiquesilver

What a lucky person you are to own that set - it's drop dead gorgeous! More than likely, 1988 signifies a model # since the decoration looks more like 1888 than 1988, although it's possible it was a reissue for some type of centennial celebration. The only way I know to date the set is to find an old catalog advertising it for sale. The 5 & 7 might indicate the capacity (cups) it holds.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:19PM
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antiquesilver

Does this set tarnish & do you clean it with silver polish? I checked the marks in "The Encylopedia of American Silver" to try to date it - no luck on that - but REED & BARTON (printed out as opposed to a symbol) signifies that the article is Nickel Silver but it's unclear as to whether it is silverplate over nickel silver or just nickel silver. BTW, nickel silver has no silver in it & therefore doesn't tarnish; neither will it attain a high polish like silver. Most of the older R&B plated pieces use the globe symbol that represents plating over white metal.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 12:08PM
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lindac

I sure don't think that's nickle silver....Iw as wondering if it's sterling....the gilding in the pitcher and the ivory insulators in the handle all point to that, as well as the engraved decorations.
The words between 1988 and5 don't look like Reed and Barton to me....but they don't look like sterling either.
Are any other pieces marked differently?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 1:12PM
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malder

Yes this does tarnish, I had to polish it up before I took the pics. I did notice the rings around around the two larger tea pots handles, it feels like stone but im sure thats not what it is. All he pieces have the same markings on the bottom as above but the two larget pots , one has a 7 and the other has a 5.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 8:25PM
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malder

Yes this does tarnish, I had to polish it up before I took the pics. I did notice the rings around around the two larger tea pots handles, it feels like stone but im sure thats not what it is. All he pieces have the same markings on the bottom as above but the two larget pots , one has a 7 and the other has a 5.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 9:07PM
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sweeby

I find it hard to believe that if it were sterling rather than plate, that it wouldn't say so.

How heavy are the pieces? Virtually all of my sterling pieces are much lighter than my good plate. I have a few less-good silver plate pieces that are lighter in weight, but those are less-good in other visible ways as well. That tea set is clearly too nice to be light-weight plate...

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 10:43PM
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lindac

Sterling, made by a "factory" like Reed and Barton, Gorham, Lunt, Kirk etc are all marked Sterling.
Very early silver was marked with the maker's name and that was enough to guarantee the quality...you hoped.
It really can't be marked Reed and Barton and be sterling unless it's marked "sterling"....but it sure looks like it!
Silver is heavier than copper as well as other metals that may have been used as a base metal for silver plate...good sterling isn't light weight. Because a piece is heavy it doesn't indicate that it's plate, and the weight of a plated piece doesn't indicate quality....the thickness of the silver plating does. That old quadruple plate lasts forever!
A couple of weeks ago I bought an old Gorham Sterling ladle, very heavy. I showed it to a friend who asked are you sure it's not plate because it's so heavy. It was marked Gorham, Sterling and about 100 years old....and heavy!
This tea set is a mystery to me...I would love to touch it!
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:36PM
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lazy_gardens

That sort of finely detailed engraving was very popular 1890-1920. You often bought a plain set and had your choice of patterns engraved on it by the manufacturer or a local jeweler.

The prominent cross pattern might indicate it was made for clergy.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 11:47AM
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antiquesilver

Anything is possible but that's an extensive amount of engraving to be put on silverplate; sterling, yes - but IMO unlikely on plate. Plate was usually factory embossed to look like engraving (in this case brite cut) & I guess, re-plated to add silver to the design where it cut through to base metal.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 1:00PM
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lindac

And that's not really a Christian cross.

I have a brite cut coffee pot that is probably 1880...perhaps earlier by the shape. It has been re plated and it's obvious from the way it softened the edge on the engraving.
The OP's set has all the signs of sterling....but for the markings.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 6:25PM
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malder

The larget piece is 2 lbs , the second tea pot is 1.10lbs the sugar pot is 1.5 lbs and the creamer is 12oz.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:52AM
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colleenoz

Just out of curiosity, Linda, why do you say that's not a Christian cross?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 3:48AM
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lindac

Because a Christian cross has a longer vertical piece and a shorter horizontal piece.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 11:40AM
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colleenoz

Ah. Actually, many Christian crosses through the ages have had arms of equal length, the Maltese Cross for instance, which this engraved one reminds me of.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 1:30PM
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lindac

The Maltese cross is the symbol of the knights of Malta, used during the Crusades. The Iron Cross which is almost identical to the Maltese Cross became the symbol of bravery in Nazi Germany. It is now sort of a cult "biker" symbol....there must be some significance there but I don't know what it is.
It isn't really a symbol of crucifixion.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 4:31PM
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colleenoz

I didn't say it was a symbol of Crucifixion, but it is a symbol of Christianity. Similarly a stylised fish is not a symbol of Crucifixion, but a symbol of Christianity. The early crosses in all their permutations were used to ndicate that the bearer had a connection/devotion to Christianity.

Here is a link that might be useful: Christian Crosses

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 9:57PM
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gmc327_wavetel_us

I have a reed abd barton tea set and tray that was my grandmothers, it has a number stamped 3557 with a marking that appears to be a circle with a cross or bird shape above it. Can anyone tell the history or value

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:08AM
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wgayle_charter_net

Wondering if my tea set is silver or silver plated. It has Reed & Barton on bottom as well as 3720. It doesn't have sterling on bottom.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:38AM
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