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Sterling Silver Plates

Sterling plates are a beautiful way to serve hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and more. They also add a decorative flourish to any room, as sterling plates are often prized for their beautiful luster.

Some sterling plates feature detailed engravings that often include complex geometric and floral designs, animal motifs, and monograms. A sterling plate adorned with a picture of a quail or pointing dog may be the perfect addition to a hunting cabin, while an antique English plate with Roccoco finishes adds a formal touch to any dining room. But while many examples of decorative sterling plates exist, sterling plates are traditionally among the least decorated of all sterling objects. They were typically used for transporting the porcelain dishes used for dining.

While 18th and 19th-century examples of sterling plates abound from England, American ones are more difficult to obtain as the cost to produce them was high and the demand low. Fletcher & Gardiner, a silversmith shop based in Philadelphia, is one of the most-esteemed producers from this time period, though there were many excellent creators of sterling plates during this time period.

Quick Facts

  • In 2014, Christie’s sold a set of 12 Tiffany & Co. dessert plates for more than $10,000
  • Kirk & Sons early-American sterling plates are among the most expensive, with sets of 12 worth upwards of $25,000
  • The discovery of the Comstock lode of silver in Nevada in 1859 made the price of silver less expensive and sterling plates accessible to a wider proportion of the population

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