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Silverplate Cups

While silverplate cups tend to be significantly less expensive than those rendered from sterling, they are often just as beautiful. Even Thomas Jefferson enjoyed his fine Bordeaux wines out of silverplated cups, which are now housed at his former estate and museum at Monticello.

Silverplated cups were initially produced in the mid-18th century using a material called Sheffield, a fusion of sterling silver and copper. The tradition remains very much alive today as many renowned silversmiths continue to create high quality silverplated cups primarily using a technique called electroplating.

The electroplating process consists of applying a thin sheet of pure silver onto a base consisting of other metals. Electroplated silver cups have the entrancing luster of silver and a similar capacity for embossing. Some of the most popular varieties of silverplated cups include wine goblets, beer mugs, and mint julep cups. Reed & Barton and The Sheffield Silver Co. are two of the most prestigious and sought- after producers of silverplated cups.

Quick Facts

  • Silverplated cups can last 20 years or more without showing any signs of wear if properly maintained
  • While most silverplated cups can be obtained for a few hundred dollars or less, singular examples can sometimes command upwards of $1,000 at auction
  • In 2011, Sotheby’s sold a group of 20th century Italian silver table pieces including a silver-plated goblet for $15,000

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