Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Silver TankardQ: My tankard was made by Joseph Edwards of Boston in 1749. We were told it was a wedding gift for ancestors. It is solid silver and 7 inches tall. The tankard was modified with a spout during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, according to a family tale. If made back into a tankard, would the value increase substantially to cover the cost? What is its present value?

A: It is not uncommon to find old silver pieces that have been modified in some way. We recently heard from a museum that several items donated to the museum years ago had been altered. A piece that has been altered is never worth as much as the original piece, although your tankard/pitcher is still attractive and will have some value. From a collector's point of view, the alteration has permanently lowered the value and it may not be worth the money to remove the spout. Take the silver to an expert, a silver dealer, or an auction house to get an opinion. What you have now is an attractive piece of silver but not a collector-condition antique.


Anonymous said...

Maybe my taste is pedestrian... or maybe it's just that we run across so few colonial era items in Middle-America, but I think it's a bit harsh to say this is not a collector-condition antique. I'd be happy to add a Colonial American Sterling Silver tankard turned pitcher to my collection. It's not like they're still making them...

I'd never have it turned back into a tankard... then the piece would lose lots of character and charm.

Bee33 said...

If you remove the spout it is highly likely that there will be some difference in the metal where the spout had been. Even if it's barely visible, a silver expert will know that your tankard has been altered and its value still will be diminished.

Like the previous poster, I wouldn't have the spout removed because the alteration is part of the tankard's - and your family's - history.